How a Babka Baron spends his Sundays

When Russ and girls , the famous 107-year-old food counter company, opened an 18,000 square foot shipping and plant in the Brooklyn Navy...


When Russ and girls, the famous 107-year-old food counter company, opened an 18,000 square foot shipping and plant in the Brooklyn Navy Yard three years ago, Josh Russ Tupper, one of the owners, was nervous .

“Should we do this?” Is it too big? Is it too fast? Is it too much money? he remembered his annoyance at the time. The business decision ended up being premonitory, with the coronavirus overwhelming the city in 2020 and online orders increasing. “Without the Navy Yard this would have looked pretty dire,” said Russ Tupper.

At the height of the pandemic, two of the four Russ & Daughters sites were temporarily closed and half of the staff were laid off. The Houston Street store, which remained open, served two customers at a time, and the Navy Yard helped facilitate up to 750 shipments a day to customers, Mr. Russ Tupper said.

He and his co-owner, Niki Russ Federman, who are first cousins, hope to fully reopen all locations at some point and are in the process of rehiring staff.

“It’s always tough, but we’re not going anywhere, luckily,” said Mr. Russ Tupper, 46, who lives with his wife, Denise Porcaro Tupper, 41, a flower shop owner, and their dogs, Sonny and Piper, in Jackson Heights, Queens.

MAGIC GARDEN We are going to get up and have a coffee on our roof terrace which my wife, who is a florist, has turned into a magical garden, basically with a bouquet of trees and flowers in bloom, and a sofa we sit on. and enjoy the sun with the dogs.

Our 80 pound fat dog Sonny definitely needs a walk. And Piper, our little 2.5-pound dog, loves to walk around. She doesn’t walk too much. It’s an old lady, a 13-year-old chihuahua who is going to carry a bag.

KEEP IT LOCAL We usually go for a walk and often go to 37th Avenue to a cheese factory, Cheese alone, that we like a lot and that we fill up with a cheese or two and a little butter.

We will turn around and walk through the Jackson Heights Green Market, which we love. It’s three blocks from where we live, and our signature recipe is apples, my favorite granola from one of the stalls, vegetables for our weekly meals, and fresh fish from the fishmonger.

BREAKFAST We go home for breakfast and usually cook fried eggs, toast from our gluten free spot, and bacon. If the weather is nice outside, we will go up to the roof or just eat in the kitchen if it is too hot, too cold or a little rainy. And after breakfast, I’ll get to work.

BROOKLYN BOUND My first stop is the Navy Yard. Pre-pandemic Sundays were certainly one of the busiest days of the week, with the crowds coming in person. Now it’s a bit off since a lot of our activity is done during the week on expeditions.

MORDE, DISCUSS I look at the bagels to see how they are that day because bagels are a delicate thing and they are always different. Maybe eat one. Maybe chat with our COO about what’s on his agenda, if he needs any help from me, then sit down for a bit at my computer to watch the e-mails that keep coming back. ‘to arrive.

COFFEE I drive from the Navy Yard into town and park on municipal land, then usually head to the Lower East Side cafe first. It’s getting busier there. Now we have outdoor seating. Then I’ll go up to the store, which is in the same neighborhood, and check with them. It comes back again to a face-to-face experience where I’m going to interact with customers, maybe stay outside if there’s a big queue and chat with some people, make sure everyone is feeling good. .

REGULAR We’ve been open all the time, so we’ve had regulars who have used Russ & Daughters as a guide in this pandemic: coming every week, getting their order, some semblance of normalcy as well as great food to soothe the soul. More and more people who weren’t there are coming back, which is really nice to see. We always limit the number of people in the store to five at a time, just because we don’t want crowds, regardless of the rules.

FLOWERS AND A KISS After having lunch at the store, my wife has her florist, who is called Florist, on Eldridge Street around the corner. I’ll be stopping by to say hello to her and the dogs she usually has with her. A little check-in, smell flowers, give me a kiss then I pick up Michael, my friend on the basketball courts.

MEZCAL MIXER We will usually have a drink in the afternoon, maybe Lucien, and sit outside. It’s always a kind of gathering of friends and people. We usually drink mezcal on ice. After a little while, I return to Queens to possibly do some gardening, depending on the time of day, or settle in and get ready for dinner.

DINNER WITH THE DOGS Queensboro, they have a great outdoor seating area which is really nice. We bring the dogs with us. All staff know dogs and hand out big dog treats. It is one of my favorite places.

SOCIAL ZOOM We come home and if it’s a Codenames night, we play it on Zoom. It’s a pun that we figured out how to play electronically, which was right at the heart of the pandemic when we didn’t see anyone. Usually three or four couples play, chat and have a good evening over a drink.

BEDTIME Our old Chihuahua has a whole nighttime routine, so she takes medicine, we brush her teeth and go to bed. It’s the end of the evening. We are in bed at 10 o’clock.

Readers of the Sunday Routine can follow Josh Russ Tupper on Twitter @JRussDaughters or Instagram @jrtup.

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