The owner of Maria’s Deli, Maria Puk passes the torch to Edouard Massih.

A new tenant is moving into a classic Greenpoint establishment. Edy’s Grocer, a deli and grocery run by chef and caterer Edouard Massih will open this August in the former storefront of Maria’s Deli, a Polish market owned by Maria Puk.

Massih, who is good friends with Puk was a regular at the shop, and often joked with her about taking over the place when she retired. The local caterer had dreams of his own brick-and-mortar, but was in no rush to create it. Then, a pandemic struck, Massih’s catering business quickly declined and Maria’s closed. 

Chef Edouard Massih’s fairytale eggplants with tahini sauce

“I asked if I could use her space, and she said no right away,” Massih recalls of the early COVID days when he was trying to figure out his next career move. He started selling pre-made meals and dips via Instagram, and two weeks later, Puk returned to Massih saying she’d put a lot of thought into the decision, and was ready to officially close her business.

In early June, Massih helped clean up and empty the space, and started a renovation before even formally signing the five year lease with Puk, who owns the building. “It’s kind of unheard of,” he says of her benevolent flexibility.

Edy’s Grocer will “be an homage for Maria and my grandmother as well, Massih says. “I think of Maria as a grandmother to me. She’s super, super sweet and I want to keep a lot of her food.” The space will honor its Polish heritage by vending Eastern European staples, soups, and some signature dishes (like Maria’s beloved chicken cutlet sandwich), and also sell Massih’s native Lebanese cuisine. 

 

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I’m not sure where to even start… When I moved to Greenpoint a few years ago I stumbled upon this quaint polish deli that I would visit on the daily. Over the years I became good friends with the owner Maria Puk. Let me tell you a little bit about Maria… not only does her personality light up the room but her chicken cutlet sandwiches were the best in town 🥪 A polish immigrant, she worked as a young girl at the previous deli and took over in her early 20’s. 43 years later and Maria was still stirring, slicing, flipping, and frying 🍳 Whenever I would visit Maria’s Deli for her famous fish sandwich we would joke about her retiring and me taking over the business. Well that day has come. With my catering business crumbling in front of my eyes due to COVID, I needed a back up plan 🍋 So I decided to bring my culture and food to a storefront. I am excited to announce @edysgrocer 🛒 follow for the latest updates and the journey of opening a storefront during a pandemic. Cheers to new adventures 💞 always a big thank you to everyone who has supported me every step of the way❣️

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“Edy’s Grocer has been my dream since I moved to America,” Massih says. Since his parents brought him to Boston in 2004 so he could attend college in the states, Massih has wanted to bring more Lebanese cuisine and grocery products stateside. Edy’s Grocer will be the first ever Middle Eastern grocer in North Brooklyn, a “Mini Sahadi’s” Massih calls it. Products will be sourced from Sahadi’s, which imports directly from Lebanon, and Massih will supplement the non perishables with his own hummus, baba ghanoush, muhammara, and sandwiches like the “Plant Daddy” falafel.  

Anticipating a mid-pandemic opening, Edy’s Grocer will have a coffee window on Eckford and Meserole, where customers can line up for drip, cold brew and small bites. Massih is also looking at adding plants to the store, offering his Quarantine Menu for pre-order and including weekly food specials.

Before opening, Massih will compete on Food Network’s Chopped on Tuesday, July 21.

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