Edouard Massih

Edy's Grocer
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Walking into Edy's Grocer for the first time somehow feels like you've been coming here your whole life. Despite having opened just a few months ago, the Lebanese market with a Polish twist is so seamlessly woven into the Greenpoint atmosphere that it could be a 20-year institution. This partially comes from the fact that it was previously a Polish deli that Edy's founder Edouard Massih frequented as a child. The family-owned feeling is present in everything, from the cozy, candy-colored decor, to the large batch Lebanese dishes on display, and the bustling wall of imported snacks and goods. We were able to chat with Edouard (Edy) about what opening mid-pandemic was like and how he wants to influence this neighborhood, through food, culture and his presence.
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Full name, age where are you from?

Edouard Massih, 25, Born and raised in Anfeh, Lebanon then moved to Boston at the age of 10.

What was growing up like for you and did you have family meals growing up?

Growing up in Lebanon, life always revolved around food. When I was little lunch would always be the most important meal of the day since it's how my whole family gathered; my dad would close his shop and my mom would leave her salon and we would all sit together around the table and enjoy a big lunch. A few times a week we would also eat at my grandparent's house nearby.

What meal most reminds you of your childhood?

My favorite family meals were during the summer. My grandmother would shout our names to get out of the beach and come eat, and usually, we'd all be wet while sitting and eating french fries, grilled fish, and pita bread. Those three things in particular will always bring me back to my childhood and those summers.

Riz a Jej
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How did you get into this industry?

I've been in the kitchen for as long as I can remember, and I always knew I didn't belong anywhere else. I started working in kitchens before going to the Culinary Institute of America, which is what brought me to NYC and I started working as a line cook. Over the years I transitioned into becoming a private chef, which led to my catering business and now here I am as the owner of my grocer in Brooklyn!

What is your current role and how has the pandemic affected you?

I am the owner and chef at Edy's Grocer, a Lebanese and Polish market in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood. It specializes in middle eastern goods, mezze, and traditional Lebanese and Polish prepared foods. Before the pandemic, I owned a catering company that could no longer survive with everything that happened. Having every event canceled and no clue what my future would hold, I started a quarantine menu where I delivered home-cooked meals. Fortunately, it was such a hit I decided to bring it to real life. I had always eyed the deli around the corner from my apartment and decided it was finally time to tell Maria, the owner, and my good friend that I was interested in taking it over. We've been opened since August 15th and I've been stunned with the outcome and feedback from the community.

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What do you think working in this industry during this time has taught you?

Working in the NYC food industry especially has taught me to grow tough skin, stay positive, and not to let the little things bring me down. Every day there's a new challenge, whether it's space, deliveries, employees calling out, or equipment not working- every single task makes you grow and learn. It's all about remembering that the small things add up to a bigger picture, and keeping that perspective keeps me going.

What's your fave item on this menu? off-menu?

My favorite menu right now on the menu is Simon's Labneh Toast. Simon is my dad and his favorite tartine growing up was labneh, olives, cucumber, and mint rolled up in thin Lebanese bread. The toast on this menu is my take on that, the toast being a special Edy's Grocer sourdough rye made by Babka Bakers in Greenpoint. The sourdough has Lebanese elements like my dukkah mix made of pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, za'atar, and sumac. After toasting a slice with some olive oil, it is topped with labneh, cucumber, kalamata olives, pomegranate seeds, and za'atar paste. It is truly the perfect bite and people have loved it for breakfast too.

Once it is completely safe to eat out again and socialize, where is the first place you would go for dinner and what would you order?

I can't wait to get back to Rosemary and order their Foccacia bread and carbonara. It might not be the best carbonara in town but the ambiance of rosemary while sipping some wine, on a bustling corner of the west village - I don't know what it is about that bit but it makes me happy to be part of New York and this community.

Anything exciting coming up for you?

We are cooking up a lot of fun surprises for the holidays. I am working on a Mediterranean Friendsgiving Menu that will be available for pick-up next month, as well as an "Edy's Favorites" gift box for the holidays! Complete with middle eastern goods like condiments, spices, and snacks, it will be available to order online in mid-December. We are also bringing back a version of catering for the winter with a select menu of items available for delivery every week. For all upcoming events, news, and store updates, follow @edysgrocer!

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