Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson
Now open in Emory Point, the General Muir is a Jewish-style deli created by the team behind West Egg Café, Ben and Jennifer Johnson, West Egg general manager Shelley Sweet, and chef Todd Ginsberg, formerly of Bocado. At the General Muir, Ginsberg is focusing on traditional Jewish dishes like matzo ball soup, pastrami, and chopped liver. But the General Muir offers more than deli fare; everything from the name to the décor has a meaning. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about the General Muir.
- The General Muir is the name of the U.S. refugee transport ship that brought co-owner Jennifer Johnson’s mother and grandparents—Holocaust survivors—to New York following World War II. (You might have known this one if you saw Wyatt Williams’ post back in October.) The arrival of these refugees signified the last major wave of European Jewish immigration to the States, which Jennifer says was both the heyday and the beginning of the decline of the deli tradition.
- The walls of the General Muir feature both photographs and paintings of the owners’ ancestors, all of whom brought cultural and food traditions to the U.S. and shared them with their families.
- The General Muir only serves five types of bagels: plain, sesame, poppy, salt, and everything. They are baked in-house by pastry chef Lauren Raymond. “We felt bagels were one area where tradition got it right,” Jennifer says. “I could definitely see pumpernickel in our future though.” Raymond also makes traditional challah (egg bread), as well as black and white cookies, chocolate babka, and cheese danishes.
- The Johnsons contacted Ginsberg to talk about the General Muir concept after reading about his dream of opening a deli in the Jewish Daily Forward. He told the Daily Forward that he aspires to cook pastrami as good as that at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City.
- The matzo ball soup served at the General Muir is the same one Ginsberg used to make for the Passover seders at Bocado. He uses his mother’s recipe as his starting point.