Beyond the Generations: How Nussi's Cuisine Keeps Tradition Alive One Dish at a Time
By: Yitzy Fried
Close to fifty years ago, when the Monsey community was in its infancy, Reb Chaim Meir Margareten saw the need for an establishment that would serve up heimishe delicacies alongside American-style fare, such as burgers and hot dogs.
In time, the Meal Mart on Main Street would become a mainstay in the Monsey community. Decades after its establishment, Nussi Margareten is the second-generation chef and proprietor bringing the flavorful delicacies into the 21st century—delighting the palates of Monsey residents of today.
Rockland Daily sat down with Nussi to hear about his life growing up around delicious and heimish food and the evolution from Meal Mart to Nussi's cuisine.
"I took over the store from my father about eighteen years ago," Nussi recalls, "and I looked to bring a fresh infusion into the business. I grew up around delicatessen, and the concept was always the same: give your customers satisfying food, and they will come back. It was not easy at first, but, baruch Hashem, we are continuously building up."
While the Covid era was difficult and finding workers and supplies was hard, Nussi sees a silver lining. "We were very busy during that time because people needed to eat. But it also formed new habits for people. Customers began to order online. And we are still doing a lot of business that way to this day. People saw that it's simple, easy, and the service is good, so they continued doing their orders this way."
One frequent customer at Nussi's told Rockland Daily that his list of favorites is too long, and he can't point to any single one.
“Between burgers chulent yaptchik pastrami sandwich schnitzel sandwich lukshen kugel etc.—we love all of Nussi’s food. It's always fresh, always flavorful, and always served with a smile," he said.
Nussi says he always likes to innovate with food, and on display is a sign about an upcoming new item. "Like Herring? Try Shmerring!" This is a pastrami-based delicacy that mimics the explosive herring market. "People who have tried it tell me that, for many who don't like fish, this is the Shabbos treat they've been waiting for."
On the topic of customer relationships and longtime bonds forged over delicious food, we visit Nussi on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, a time of tradition at the store.
"A few times a year, I like to give away free stuff to my loyal customers," Nussi says. "Before Rosh Hashanah, it's honey cookies, Rosh Chodesh Adar, we do hamantashen, and people love our sefirah calendar that we do before Pesach.
"Rosh Chodesh Kislev, we have been giving a donut with every order. It's my way of saying thank you for your loyalty and patronage… and wishing my customers a joyful upcoming Chanukah."