Zabar’s is a quintessential New York City institution. The Zabar family has been selling bagels, lox, rugelach, and other specialty items from their store at 80th and Broadway for more than 80 years. And as if to prove its essential role in New York City culture, Zabar’s was also the setting for this highly New York moment: the first time Jerry Seinfeld told his wife he loved her was at the Upper West Side landmark’s lox counter.
On one of their frequent trips to the Jewish grocery, the comedian turned to now-wife Jessica Seinfeld and said, “This is the perfect time to tell you that I love you,” Jessica revealed to Eater Upsell hosts Helen Rosner and Greg Morabito. Jessica has been going to Zabar’s her entire life. “I just thought, my grandmother would be so happy,” the cookbook author says of the moment, which she remembers so well precisely because it happened at the store.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this isn’t the only key relationship moment for Jerry and Jessica that revolves around food. On their first date, Jessica cooked Jerry “Long Island chicken parmesan,” in recognition of their shared Long Island roots. He was impressed by her low-key attitude (and the fact that she didn’t much care to be seen at a restaurant with the Jerry Seinfeld), and the dish has become a Sunday night dinner staple in their married life.
But home cooking has yet to replace breakfast from Zabar’s. Trips to the lox counter have become a ritual for the Seinfeld family. They visit regularly for bagels with cream cheese and lox (prepared at the store, not assembled at home), and Jessica’s kids know the man behind the counter, who slices the fish so thinly “you can read the newspaper through it,” she says. His name is also Jerry, and he may be as much a part of Manhattan lore as the other one.
Hear the complete interview with Jessica Seinfeld below, as she chats with Helen and Greg about judgmental vegans, the coffee maker that gets her out of bed in the morning, and Food Swings, her latest cookbook. Subscribe to the Eater Upsell on iTunes, or listen on Soundcloud. You can also get the entire archive of episodes right here on Eater.