Home for Dinner: Lois Reitzes of WABE’s City Lights

No music is allowed at Reitzes’s dinner table
Home For Dinner: Lois Reitzes
Lois Reitzes with her son, Michael (left), and husband, Don, at home in Morningside

Photograph by Raymond McCrea Jones

This may come as a surprise, but Lois Reitzes, 64, does not play music during dinner. The WABE’s City Lights host, who has been with the station for 38 years, gets too distracted. “My ear becomes too engaged,” says Reitzes, who studied classical music at Indiana University. “It is just some fault in my wiring that I cannot focus on a conversation when music is playing. If I put on Ella [Fitzgerald], for example, I’m off! I start wondering, how can she scat like that?”

So tonight, it’s quiet in her cozy Morningside home, save for the voices of her husband, Don, a sociology professor at Georgia State University, and her son, Michael, a campaign strategist. In the mix is, of course, her own distinctive warble. “That’s just a fluke of nature,” Reitzes says of her voice. As Don finishes the turbot, roasted Brussels sprouts, and baby red potatoes, Reitzes explains their dinner ritual. “I don’t get home until six, so we usually make something quick like grilled fish or flank steak or omelettes. And I like good vegetables. They make me feel virtuous so that when I begin my downward spiral into consuming chocolate later in the evening, I don’t feel quite as guilty.” She calls her love for chocolate—anything that isn’t white chocolate—“very serious.”

Special sauce
One of Reitzes’s favorite Atlanta restaurants was Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine, which closed in 2009. In an effort to recreate one of its sauces, Reitzes starts with Soy Vay’s Island Teriyaki Sauce—“Soy for Roy!”—and adds ginger, black sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and marmalade from Zingerman’s. “My generous cousin Darlene bought me this marmalade, and it was so good I planned to order some more, but then discovered that one jar is $35!”

In her glass
Reitzes used to drink wine, but a few years ago, the sulfites stopped agreeing with her. “I get terrible headaches,” she says. “However, I have no problem with whiskey.” The bar in the living room contains an Oban single malt and a 12-year double-cask Macallan.

Dogs allowed
Reitzes calls Rex, her golden retriever and toller mix, “the sweetest, softest, silliest dog ever, but he has no interest whatsoever in retrieving.” Despite his size, he’s more of a lapdog—and yes, he is allowed at the table.

This article appears in our March 2018 issue.