Chef, owner, Edy’s Grocer
Jul 13, 2021
Edy’s Grocer in Greenpoint has won heaps of love thanks to its owner’s culinary wizardry and seemingly boundless ambition. And the story behind it reveals multitudes about the history of the neighborhood, immigration patterns in America, gentrification—and amazing food.
Edouard Massih wears a close-cropped beard and glasses that make him look like a longtime Brooklyner, but in fact he is himself a relative newcomer. His parents moved their family from a small Lebanese fishing village about 10 miles from Tripoli to Canton, Massachusetts, when he was 10. When Massih landed in Greenpoint in 2015 at barely 20, just after finishing culinary school, he was attracted to its immigrant heritage and its mom-and-pop charms. What he especially loved was Maria’s Deli, a Polish American joint run by Maria Puk, who made cutlet heroes and fish sandwiches he would stand on line for.
Massih and Puk became fast and unlikely friends. She is some 40 years his senior and from an entirely different part of the world. But their love of authentic cuisine—and of Greenpoint—sealed their bond. During Covid, Puk was forced to close Maria’s temporarily. Massih offered to take over the space and let her finally retire to Florida. She took him up on his offer and he opened Edy’s, a blast of lemon-and-garlic Lebanese freshness that was an instant hit in the neighborhood.
In a nod to the enclave’s Polish roots, and out of respect for Puk, he kept a few of her classic items on the menu, like the potato pancakes. But the real stars are items like marinated shankleesh (a mezze cheese), Lahm bi Ajin (meat pie) and baked za’atar egg cups.
Next on his to-do list: write a cookbook before he turns 30. Shouldn’t be too hard considering he was spotted on NBC’s TODAY show earlier this month teaching viewers how to make grilled corn and halloumi salad ahead of Independence Day.