Deli transplants tastes of the Bronx to Dubois


By Linda Negro
Wednesday, March 21, 1999
Originally published in The Evansville Courier - Eating Out section

JASPER, Ind. â€" When you leave home, food might not be the first thing you miss, but sooner or later it begins gnawing at you.

You yearn for specialties you once took for granted.

For natives of the Tri-State, it might be catfish fiddlers and brain sandwiches, but for Dr. Richard Moss, Jasper surgeon and ear, nose and throat specialist, it's food from New York delis that beckon: onion-and-sesame bagels, potato knishes and veggie burgers.

Since Moss can't get home to the Bronx, N.Y., as often enough he'd like, he's brought the Bronx to Jasper.

For his Bronx Bagel restaurant, he transformed a classic, brick, former gas station at a busy intersection, where US. 231 turns north.

Moss even brought Yankee Stadium to Jasper. A wall mural places the stadium (and Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle) in the rolling hills of Dubois County.

For my trip to Bronx Bagel, I joined up with two Evansville women who grew up eating and cooking these foods. One of their families once operated a deli.

We picked a sunny winter day for the drive and early lunch.

The only problem with recreating a taste of home is teaching your new region to like it. Moss has changed his offerings to appeal to Jasper taste buds.

He dropped kosher hotdogs, his favored veggie burger and side salads, plus pancakes and French toast from the breakfast menu, because they weren't selling.

In their place, he's adding a more familiar ethnic food and Italian hot daily specials.

Bronx Bagel usually offers at least 12 flavors of bagels daily, from plain to poppy seed and sesame to the sweeter varieties of chocolate chip and cinnamon sugar.

We placed our order at the counter and chose a table in the adjoining dining room.

We sampled a garlic bagel with a smoked-salmon cream-cheese spread ($1.75). The bagel had the dense chewiness (with-out being hard) of traditional New York bagels. The creamy lox spread was delicious. It would have been better if the bagel had been toasted before the spread was added.

Our reuben ($3.75) was made to order, so we could ask that the Thousand Island dressing be left off. The grilled corned beef was topped with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The corned beef was a bit tough, and though it had a good flavor, a final grilling of the sandwich would have made it better.

Since our visit, Boar's Head deli meats have been added, and potato- and vegetable-filled knishes will be added soon.

A variety of sandwiches are offered, on a choice of bagel or whole-wheat, rye or white breads.

One Bronx Bagel classic we sampled was the Triple Crown Club ($4.76). It was the most unusual club I've tasted because of the layer of chicken salad. The sandwich was so thick it was difficult to eat, but the combination of the chicken salad and layers of roasted turkey breast, crisp bacon slices, finely shredded lettuce, onions and mayonnaise tucked in three layers of toast were good.

We also sampled baked potato wedges that were being served with the daily Italian special of sausage, peppers and onions. It was served with a 5- to 6-inch round, whole-wheat roll.

We returned to the counter to look over the array of desserts, from baklava to cheesecakes.

We sampled the Hazelnut Latte Muffin (99 cents). The large muffin was light and rich, with the flavor of hazelnut, coffee and chocolate, without being sweet. Other varieties included orange, cappuccino, peach, pumpkin, lemon-poppy seed, cranberry nut and apple.

My favorite dessert was the strawberry-cheese pocket. Fillings of strawberry and cream cheese filled the puff pastry.

Now that the restaurant is gaining popularity, Moss is work on offering Italian dinners. By mid-June, he expects to have

liquor license and offer later hours to serve lasagna, eggplant parmesan, baked ziti and others.


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