Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Found the Lusk's Deli site while searching for some names and places from my past.

I was born in Bay Ridge in 1962, and we lived in an apt building on 72nd street until my family moved to Philly in 1967. Every week my mom took me on her
shopping trip, which always included a stop at Lusk's. Family folklore has it that one day, when stopping at Lusk's, my mom looked down at me in my stroller and noticed I was staring intently at the deli case. "See all the cheeses," she said. "They have all kinds of cheeses here." I paused a moment, then said, "You mean like Cheeses Christ?" (My dad cursed like a sailor around the house, and I guess my young ears picked up on that.) Well, everyone busted out laughing. Except my mom, who was horrified.

Best Regards
-Charlie O'Hay
Phila PA

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Another memory just surfaced talking with a co-worker about Halloween. Dad would refuse to sell eggs to kids in the weeks before Halloween. "Why should I sell eggs to you when you'll just throw them at my window?". I remember having to clean eggs off the window the morning after. (let it dry and use a scraper). The streets on 3rd Avenue would be littered with eggs and toilet paper.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mealy Moths

At the store mealy moths were a real disaster when they happened as a large amount of merchandise could be ruined quickly. Cereal boxes did not have plastic linings as they do now. Some had wax paper, but a lot were just cardboard. As a result they could all be infected easily. Dad would remove all the merchandise, throw away the bad and vacuum the shelves. He said that the eggs would hatch again in 2 weeks, so 10 days later would do it again. I still remember him up on a ladder with the vacuum cleaner.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Paul Lusk shoveling snow in front of Lusk's Deli probably 1950's

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I spent Saturday 7/14/07 tooling around Bay Ridge on a bicycle. Roberto was at a heavy metal concert in NJ and I had 7 hours to kill. Parking was really hard, lots of traffic and cars double parked. but finally parked on 3rd ave and 99th st. I wasn't sure about how legal it was so I rode back frequently to check on the car. I notice that from 5th ave and 95th st by the car service, you really can't see the house anymore - building in the way. I went by the terrace. Spoke with Mr. Caufield who sends his regards to everyone. He remarked that Bay Ridge is overbuilt now. Also he hasn't heard from Rich Hansen in a long time and wonders if he is OK. The people in 9420 were leaving - I said a brief hello - they were friendly enough. I noticed a fair amount of parking places down on Ft. Hamilton parkway near St. John's. I rode by the cannonball park, then along Shore Road - up above, not below, took my chances at the public rest room where the buses wait, was freaked out by a strange guy, I later figured out was a bus driver. There are 3 tennis courts down there in good condition. A lot of the park was in poor condition though, stone work and steps crumbling.
I got back in my car - wanted to go around 86th st but there was no parking to be had. The 86th st and 5th Ave Pizza stand is still there. I zig zaged down to the store, finally going on Ridge blvd to avoid traffic. Found a spot on 71st. Remember those maple trees there with the bark that falls off? I went to were the store was - now a Tex Mex Taco stand. I asked an oriental girl behind the counter if I could get a look at the back - explaining who I was and why I was there of course.. She said no very nicely. The managers name is Lee, but he is never there. The cellar door looked like it was turned sideways 90 degrees from the way I remember it, but didn't look a new replacement either.
Third Avenue has bigger trees and is more shaded. I only had my cell phone camera - It will take me time to get them on my computer - I think I have to e-mail them to myself. I took a few shots of store fronts. From 72nd st I took a shot of the tulip tree that you could see from the stores back yard. I had a piece of pizza from the deli on 71st st. Went byMikes Deli on 72, which is now JGL, owned by someone named John, but it's an old fashioned deli, just like it used to be and had a yoo-hoo. Hardly anyone remembers the Lusk's Deli. They think their uncles or fathers might know. Lento's is closed. Costinitos fish market is still there - they were friendly. I saw Flagg Court and the building across the street where I made my first delivery to Mr. Mahr - age 9 maybe?
This was a strong lesson in impermanence. Business's closing and people dying I understand. Memories fading I have more trouble with.

I need to make this trip about every 5 years.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

I love it - I love it!! You guys are such a joy to me. I havent had such good food since I left Bklyn. at age 20. How about the shrimp salad? When Ed and I went to Bear Mountain at the time of the World's Fair, the deli fixed us a lunch and when we opened it - shrimp salad. Now that's first-class living!! Love you all. Margy (Aunt Margy to you kids.)
Deli Food

This is a list of food made, prepared and sold at Lusk's Delicatessen. It was put together by various members of the family (7/8/07) and will probably be updated as new memories surface.

apple cake
apple pie
Baked Beans with bacon on top
baked Virginia Ham with cloves on top
banana cake with walnuts on top
Beet Salad
blueberry muffins
Bran muffins
celery salad
cheese and macaroni with all kinds of left over cheese ends
Cherry Pie
Chicken Salad
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Layer cake
clam chowder
Cole Slaw
Coffee - We sold coffee by the cup but in the early years there was also a coffee grinding machine.
Cucumber Salad
cupcakes - black and white
egg custard
Fish cakes
Fresh Roasted Turkeys with gravy
Ham salad
Herring salad
Jello Fruit Salad
Macaroni Salad
Meat cakes
mincemeat at xmas
Oatmeal Cookies
party open faced sandwichs for catering
pea soup
Pot pies – chicken & beef
Potato Salad - German and American
Pound cake
pumpkin pie
Raisin cake
Raisin squares
Rice Pudding (with meringue topping)
Roast Beef juicy and rare with brown gravy
Roasted Chickens
scallop potatoes for Father Hoeh,
shells with tomato sauce
Shrimp Salad
spice cake
Three bean salad
Tuna Salad
vegetable soup (made with a roast beef end and mixed vegetables)
I remember the beer in the basement. In my late teens I would bring friends down stairs to stand in awe of so many cases of the brew.

The back yard was an interesting oddity. Granna had her garden with a small lawn that has me green with envy today. She enjoyed her rose bush and would bring in buds to add a little something to the factory atmosphere in the kitchen. Back in the yard, there was a white walkway strip – was it marble? And then there were the cases of recycled bottles. Dad instructed me to stack them like straight soldiers.

Dave Lusk

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ragmuffin parade

Do you remember the Ragmuffin parade on 3rd Avenue? It is held in October. I don't remember when it started.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lusk's Deli

Hi everyone,
I'm on the phone with Mom right now.
Gerry's last name was Brooks
The first delivery boy was Einar Rudd. He also worked the counter
Mom remembers a story.
The first thing Einar asked Mrs. Toby was "What's worse than finding a worm in the macaroni salad?" Einar told her "1/2 a worm because you wonder who ate the other half".
Mom sends her love
how about the crazy lady that always wanted the biggest vanilla cup cake.
(sadly I used to point to the small one and say "is that the one you want" and she'd say "no, no, no I want the big one ". And then I'd point to the second smallest one. ...;-)
or the other lady that didn't want a box from the basement. and would always ask. "did this box come from the basement?" and we'd say no.... but it did.
what about the delivery people ....
- Mike the meat man.
- The 7up guy.
- some guy that called me "tv" instead of stevie. I think he delivered bread.
And then there's Joe the produce guy and of course the butcher Bill Kettle.
another good memory is the warm bread from the bakery next door.
Hmmm. funny what you remember.

Steven Lusk

Fw: Lusk's Deli

young german guy was Mike Neuhause
There was also a kind of Rolly polly guy who live on 72 above third. He was a semipro boxer...I think "Bob Canallie" He later became a bookkeeper and his son had some health issues.
Richard Lusk

Store Recipes

The store recipes can be found at the end of Florence Lusk's poetry book at

The Back Room

I have fond memories of the back room. It was where the canned goods, potatoes, onions, etc that were used in cooking were kept. Also some of the excess stock. A story that has probably been told too many times was when I was misbehaving in Kindergarten at PS 102, the teacher said "What does your mother do with you when you act like this?" I said "She puts me inthe back room with the onions!"

For years there was an egg chandler back there. An egg chandler was a box with a light in it. You would hold up the egg to the hole in the box and look to see if there was a live chick fetus in the egg. By the time I was growing up all the eggs came to us sterile, but my mother, who was always looking for a way to keep busy boys out of her hair, had me spend a lot of time going through the eggs looking for live chicks.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

People from the Deli - Staff, Customers, Vendors, etc.

(OK, this is a work in progress - last updated 8/1/07- please send in additions, corrections, etc. )

People who worked in the Deli

All the Lusk's (some more than others)
Paul and Agnes Lusk - Proprietors
Florence Lusk - Paul's mother and ruler of the kitchen
Robert, George, Richard, Ginny, Nancy, David and Steven - Did Caroline work there?

The Loff's
Jimmy- Bookkeeper
Donald- delivery boy
Maureen - counter girl

The Hamptons
Gerard's son Gerard,

Mrs. Andresen
Gerry Brooks

Counter Men
Frank Kaiser
Henry Goldbach
Bob Nostrand
Bob Gilroy
Jimmy Loff
Peter Lowe
Jimmy Milderson
Bob Canallie
Jerry Batt - wife marie - played santa claus
Joe ?- later became policeman
Mike Neuhause - studied to be a doctor - George Lusk remembers he always gave us a hard time - Called us "Munich!"
Mark Haggerty

Counter Girls
Tina ?
Kiery ?- 1st girl to work in store
Chris Hague
Joan ? - lived at Ridge Court - her mother was a customer
Mary Thompson
Kathy Thompson
Maria S?

Delivery Boys
first delivery boy was Einar Rudd
Junior Salentino

Mike Huderski? the meat man and his father
The 7up guy.
some guy that called me "tv" instead of stevie. I think he delivered bread.
Karl Drodge
Joe the produce guy
Bill Kettle. - and Bill Kettle's son - butcher

Mrs Cahill - Unit 162 Flagg Court Ridge Boulavard
John and Louise Clavert
Barbara and Carl Clauson
Mrs. Coakly
Senator Conklin
Mrs. Fay
Bob Gilroy
Mr. Innis
Mr. Jones
Mr. Lamb
Martha Lowe
Vera McLeary
Louie Maher
Bob Meehan - Airline pilot - He had a summer place in upstate NY
Mrs. Perry
Edith Thompson - lived upstairs
Millie and Fred Wagner (Jewelry)

Other People and Places
Mr. King was accounatant befoe Jimmy Loff
The Mauderars, who owned the building and lived upstairs
Joe and Tina who had the liquor store around the corner
The barber across the street
Nancy and John Ryan - lived in an apartment a few doors down
Johnny Ryans bar
The Italian ?baker next door
Bar owner on the corner in the 1970's
Andressens Ice Cream Parlor
Ice House near Andressens?
Lowes Bay Ridge theater - became a Bingo parlor
Dad's Lodge's He was a Mason. their hall was on Bay Ridge Ave (69th St), but he was also an Eagle - their hall was on 71st st and 3rd near the Bay Ridge Theater.
Candy Store or Stationary Store on 72st and 3rd
Trick store on 3rd Avenue between 72nd and 73rd streets
Mike's Deli
Red Closet
Mark O'Roarke's Deli on 94th and 5th - he had 2 sons, Mark and Shawn and a daughter named ? Grana worked for him baking in WWII. She learned to make potato salad from the people mom and dad bought the first deli from. Mark tried to buy the recipe fr0m her for $25, but she refused.

Also the Italian bread place on 5th ave
Maybe it was on 4th ave. I remember that it had a Green sign. (from George Lusk)
I remember having to go there to pick up extra french bread & rolls generally for a party order.

This is further afield, but I know Richard and I remember Benny's candy store on - I think- Ridge Blvd and 99th St.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Street Grate

There was a metal grate on the sidewalk in front of the store that went to the basement. It was part of the ventilation system. Under the grate was a box like area about 3 feet cubed. There was an exhaust fan that was down at the basement level.
Every year or so it would need to be cleaned out, because dirt and trash would fall through the grate and acumulate. It was usually about 6-8 in of dirty trash. It was a very dirty job - I only did it once or twice. First you had to take the fan out, then shovel out the trash and sweep or vacuum what was left.
Dad of course would do it in a white shirt. He would roll up his sleeves to the elbow. His face, hands and arms would be filthy, but there would not be a speck of dirt on the white shirt.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Bike

I remember Dad working on this bike for months in the basement. It was the envy of every other store on 3rd Avenue. There was a bike shop over on 74th street run by some young guys who were bike racers. The kind that ride on the highways with cars. They stopped by and complemented Dad on the bike.

Photo sent by George Lusk

It was hard work being a delivery boy. The bike had no gears and with a few boxes of groceries in it, it took some muscles to pedal - I found this out later when I tried it as an adult. I spent a lot of time riding around 71st and 72nd sts, Ridge Boulevard. I used to love to go out to Ovington Avenue - I loved the name of that street. It was interesting going into other people's houses. It was an early education that there were a lot of different lifestyles.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Basement Door

I remember the door to the basement. This was the one that led from the store just opposite the counters. When I came back to work in the deli at age 35 one of my first self appointed tasks was to paint it green. It may have been green before, but it was filthy and needed painting.

Remember the walk-in cooler with the big midget gherkin jar? It was a great place ot hang out on a hot summers day, especially before the days when they had air conditioning. And the small cooler doors in the back room. I have latches like those on my kitchen cabinets today, only not as nice.

Bob Lusk

Pickled herring

From The iBrattleboro Interview: Laura Austan - complete article at http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20030418165832719

My father was Swedish and Scottish, so some of the Swedish food stayed around. We lived in Brooklyn, which is probably a culinary tradtion of its own - delicatessen food, Jewish food, Italian food. I make the pickled herring at the Co-op that's closest to what I remember from Lusk's deli in Brooklyn.

Laura Austan

The iBrattleboro Interview: Laura Austan
Authored by: Bob Lusk on Saturday, May 15 2004 @ 07:21 AM EDT
My dad Paul James Lusk owned Lusk's Deli in Brooklyn and we sold the pickled herring you speak of in the article.

I guess the legacy of pickled herring lives on in Brattleboro

The iBrattleboro Interview: Laura Austan
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 15 2004 @ 10:43 AM EDT
Small world. I think the legacy goes beyond the
great pickled herring. The ripple effect of a family
endeavor goes far beyond the time and place.
If we could only know the positive effects of our
actions and how others carry them on, we would be amazed. Congratulations.

The iBrattleboro Interview: Laura Austan
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, May 16 2004 @ 12:48 PM EDT
Hi, this is Laura. A friend let me know of your comment and put me online to reply. Are you the son that sometimes worked there, tall with red hair? That was a long time ago, but I still remember the great aroma of that special little deli. Your parents were/are great people; and were friends of my father. What a treat that you found your way to iBratt . I hope all is well, and if you're ever up this way, please look me up- and give me your critique of my version of pickled herring!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

counter floor

I remember the floor in back of the counter. I believe it was oak and it had a lot of woodsplit off from it. It was a chore to sweep and dad would get on my case, demonstrating how to hold a broom so that it didn't kick up dust and he would have me sweep it over and over.

Bob Lusk