I loved it last year, and it definitely did the job of introducing me to places I'd never normally have been able to try on a whim only to become totally smitten (my two favorites last year were Hunt Phelan and Felicia Suzanne's). I actually love too that it's the time of year it is, because the fall seasonal menus tend to be my very favorite. Thanks Felicia!
The supply side explanation makes the most sense also if you consider that these spots exist but don't seem well known, with Abyssinia being the exception. Kaloum is even more of a secret than Gereny was before this write up. They're not open because of demand, but because as SS said, the people running them find it viable and desirable to run them for whatever reason. That has definitely been the vibe I got from both Gereny and Kaloum--that if at all possible they'd exist no matter what, regardless of how few people seem to know about them. It's intriguing, that.
And I don't think it's surprising about the deli--if you're talking real Jewish deal that is. At least not in Memphis. There isn't much Jewish _anything_ here relative to where I'm from (a Kroger and a small enclave of homes in East Memphis hardly counts as substantial). It isn't common at all, which is a bummer. I'm curious if the rest of the state or general South is like that. It is sad to live without kugel.
Also, it's a supply side thing, don't you think? Just like--surprise!--Jewish delis were when they first opened up in NYC. It's the immigrant population you have where you are.
I'm as big a fan as can be of NYC Jewish deli food (I'm from the state and visited NYC every year growing up, it was my favorite city in the world for a long time; when I moved here I became instantly homesick for Carnegie-style corned beef and matzo ball soup and BAGELS), but your comment doesn't make a ton of sense. If you see something good and unusual around you, why would you be like "oh, but [X other unusual thing] isn't here too, so why is this here!" What. This restaurant's existence is not keeping anyone from opening a Jewish deli (btw, the closest thing you'll find is the East Memphis Bogie's, not at all like home but still pretty tasty). Gereny offered Sudanese cuisine when it first opened, which blew my mind--if you check the Chowhound boards you won't find it in regularity almost anywhere, in any city. The moukhbaza they offered is not even available online as a recipe anywhere. That's nuts! We had something really special.
By Chris Davis, Susan Ellis, Toby Sells, and Maya Smith
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