Food and community are what it’s all about at Saanich’s Lox, Stock and Bagel Deli at the Jewish Community Centre on Shelbourne Street.
The deli reopened on Oct. 11 and Rose Carr, who has worked there for 33 years, is currently training a new chef to take over.
Carr is retiring because “I need some sleep,” she says with a smile.
When the deli opened over 33 years ago, there were only a few chairs and tables, and only 15 people could be seated, but they have since become a victim of their success and can get very busy, according to Carr.
“I have customers that came in when they were babies, and their moms brought them in, and now they are bringing their babies in 30 years later.”
The deli is only open from Wednesday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., said Larry Gontovnick, community centre president.
More volunteers are needed, he said, as about four people per day to help run the deli.
Lox, Stock and Bagel serves classic Jewish food, such as lox, eggs and onion bagels, gefilte fish and bread baked by Carr.
“Everything is homemade. Because Jewish foods and ingredients are hard to find in this city,” she said.
Her favourite food to make at the deli is soup, Carr said.
“We have a barley or a pea soup, and we always have Matzo ball soup.”
Even though the interview mainly concerned food and the community that comes to eat at the deli, it was impossible to avoid talking about the current conflict in Israel.
“I had two grandchildren there, and thank God they are now in Amsterdam as of yesterday.”
“The young man who was killed from Vancouver, I knew him. He was a friend of mine,” she said.
The deli welcomes people of all backgrounds to come and eat, but has let the young Jewish community know they can go there if they need a safe space.
“It is horrible. But it’ll be OK,” Carr said.
The deli had closed its doors in June of this year to try and find Carr a replacement and have found a new chef in Lina Fainblum from Argentina.
“I’ll always be hanging around. I’m kind of like a fixture. I won’t be physically doing all this work, just filling in when the deli needs me,” said Carr.
It will be the children she will miss when she finally steps away from the deli.
“This place. It’s like coming to grandma’s. And coming to grandma’s is for food and love.”