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anyone remember SHATZKIN'S knishes

  • m

I have never been able to find any knishes CITYWIDE that come close to these in appearance/taste. Many moons ago when my grandparents took me to Coney Island my grandpa would get his knish at Jerry's on the boardwalk while my grandma would hold out for a Shatzkins potato knish--sometimes kasha--on Surf Ave. I used to be fascinated watching the women making the knishes in the open windows. Anybody know where a come-close facsimile exists? Supermarket frozen ok too as Shatzkins did this in later years. Thanks

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  1. m
    mark grossman

    hate to disappoint but the state of the new york knish today is fairly pathetic and the quality you dream of died a long time ago. shatzkin's and most of the other great knish bakeries dont exist any more. mrs stahls and yonnah shimmels get UNenthusiastic reviews. maybe you should try making your own

    9 Replies
    1. re: mark grossman

      I do remember as a young person,in the 60's, walking past Nathans to Shatzkins. Yes it was a real knish with a relative thin dough. It was not a huge knish, but it was real potatoes with flavor.
      Yes a memory! The building has been torn down.
      June 2, 2004

      1. re: Ralph

        I remember and long for a good knish. Yonah Shimmel is a letdown. I found the potato dense and flavorless, and my favorite, kasha, tasted like dirt.

        Zabar's has packaged knishes but they pale compared to Jerry's, Mrs. Stahl's and Shatzkin's.

        1. re: Ian

          mmm mmmm I was a little kid when I had them I still remember walking to Brighton with my dad to have a Shatzkin's hotdog. That was also my favorite spot in Kings Plaza mall.
          I'd love to make them myself anyone have recipe? :)

          1. re: amy

            Buy the cookbook "New York Cookbook by Molly O'Neill. You will find a recipe for knishes and many other great recipes. Enjoy!

          2. re: Ian

            i remember shatzkin's and i also remember mrs. stahl's i remember shatzkin's when they were on the boardwalk on 32nd st. before they moved to surf ave. and a few years ago we went to brighton and brought back mrs. stahl's knishes, at that time they still were good-lived in brighton beach for a few years that is how i know of mrs. stahl's

            1. re: Ian

              I certainly remember Shatzkin's knishes. I have never found anything as good as they were. Mrs. Stahls, Yonah Shimmel, etc. all taste like cardboard. Only Shatzkin's were devine. Potato, especially the kasha, the pineapple-cheese, etc. etc. etc. I was a kid and remember them around 32nd Street on the Boardwalk and then they moved to that beautiful building on 22nd Street and the Boardwalk that is now for sale "as is" for 4.5 million dollars. I loved watching the ladies with their ample flailing arms (and wearing hair nets) make knishes out of mounds and mounds of potatoes and kasha. They moved so fast and were so serious. These memories are cherished, but I'd love a REAL Shatzkin's knish!

              1. re: Marcia

                Ok - it's not in NYC, and this post will probably vanish, but the best knishes in the metro area I've had in recent years are to be found at Hobby's Deli in downtown Newark. It's been a deli (under one name or another) for something like 90 years, and while the meat is good (not great, but good), the potato and especially the kasha knishes are outstanding. The kasha is grainy, not mushy, and the dough is flaky and tasty. If you're in Newark for some reason, it's well worth a stop.

                1. re: Marcia

                  My father was NYPD and some summers, he'd be posted down to Coney Island all summer long. He'd bring home Shatzkin's knishes -- to DIE for! We'd take the long train ride from Queens down to Coney once or twice each summer and he'd get us free rides from all the operators -- that was fantastic, but what I still want more than anything is a Shatzkin's knish, and to watch the old ladies (we had one who was our favorite) making them.

                2. re: Ian

                  I certainly remember Shatzkin's knishes. I have never found anything as good as they were. Mrs. Stahls, Yonah Shimmel, etc. all taste like cardboard. Only Shatzkin's were devine. Potato, especially the kasha, the pineapple-cheese, etc. etc. etc. I was a kid and remember them around 32nd Street on the Boardwalk and then they moved to that beautiful building on 22nd Street and the Boardwalk that is now for sale "as is" for 4.5 million dollars. I loved watching the ladies with their ample flailing arms (and wearing hair nets) make knishes out of mounds and mounds of potatoes and kasha. They moved so fast and were so serious. These memories are cherished, but I'd love a REAL Shatzkin's knish!

            2. Do I remember it! When everyone of our friends went to Nathan,s for franks, we use to go to Shatzkins down the block and eat a frank knish, a cherry knish and a potatoe knish. Then we would buy an assortment to take home. Alas, one day we came there and it was gone. Later, we found Mrs Stahls in Brighton Beach. Their knishes seemed as good. Happily, we went there, until today. It is now a pizza store with frozen commercial knishes. The end of an era.

              1. Do I remember it! When everyone of our friends went to Nathan,s for franks, we use to go to Shatzkins down the block and eat a frank knish, a cherry knish and a potatoe knish. Then we would buy an assortment to take home. Alas, one day we came there and it was gone. Later, we found Mrs Stahls in Brighton Beach. Their knishes seemed as good. Happily, we went there, until today. It is now a pizza store with frozen commercial knishes. The end of an era.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Harry

                  I remember Shatzkins , They were great until I got a little older and could not handle those Fried knishes
                  any more. So, I found a knish place in oceanside N.Y.
                  where they have a big factory , & a small retail outlet
                  at wholesale prices. They are baked , has a huge selection and are the best knishes. rugalach, & Blintzes in the world. Treat yourself. And let me know if you agree.

                  1. re: Len Model

                    Do you mean Knish Nosh? They're great.

                    1. re: Sally

                      no knish nosh is located in rego park, on queens boulevard. they are very good, and the potato is really a wonder (although purists might shun the meat knish, its pretty damn good as well). I can't say I've had a shatzkins, but I prefer these over yonah shimmels. location is on 67rd and Queens Blvd, phone number is 718.897.4456. they also have a website (http://www.knishnosh.com/) but don't let that deter you, they make these suckers in the back and are the best I've had.

                    2. re: Len Model

                      Ok so whats the phone number?

                      1. re: Len Model

                        I just came upon this posting. If this place still exists, can you post more detailed information, like the name of the business?
                        Thanks!

                    3. just talking about them with my husband-i remember when they were on 32nd st. on the boardwalk before they moved to surf avenue-wish i could find out if they still make them - haven't had a good knish since i moved here 24 yrs ago-there once was a place on coney island ave. near brighton beach called mrs. stahl's-mrs. stahl died and the family sold it, but the knishes were the same as i remembered when i lived in brighton-too me, coney island and brooklyn will always be as it was have a good weekend

                      1. I've been searching for shatzkin knishes myself. Sadly i found out that they no longer make them.I was told that it's a family receipe,& that the family won't divulge it.I wish they would put it on E-bay, because i would LOVE to buy the receipe.I'm of Italian background but i simply think they were the BEST knishes bar none..Until a few years ago i was able to purchase them in a deli in Kings plaza, located in Brooklyn
                        if ANYONE locates them PLEASE PLEASE!!!! E-MAIL ME BACK
                        signed... still drooling..

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Carl
                          d
                          Donna (Thibodeau) Scheeler

                          I grew up in Coney; lived on W. 24th for over 30 yrs. My best friend's (Ann Goldfarb)mother was one of those women - "the behind-the-counter knish makers" for about 30+ years. A few times a week me & Ann hung around the shop and ate knishes until we "plotzed"! Also, one of the beach vendors used to carry brown, greasy shopping bags in each hand filled with Shatzkin's potatoe knishes for $.20 each (back in the 50's & 60's)He was the tannest man on earth! And, a little old man used to push a 3-drawer sheet-metal cart on wheels through the streets between W. 15th & W. 37th Streets in Coney Island, along Surf, Mermaid & Neptune Avenues, up & down each street twice a week selling Shatzkin's knishes to the locals. Ahhh, I can still smell them as I write this! I wish I had paid more attention when Ann's mother put those yummy knishes together from scratch....the only thing that stands out in my mind is the one ingredient that defined that flavor....pre-sauteed diced fresh onions - mingled with lumpy mashed potatoes and stuffed into a pocket of thin dough then curled edges about 1/2" thick and basted with butter before being roasted on a rotating, pre-salted "ferris wheel" oven. Then each knish was thrown into a sandwich sized open end wax-paper bag with serrated flaps. Have I clearly described the best knish you ever ate??? I hope the recipe didn't "die" with the Shatzkin name!

                          1. re: Donna (Thibodeau) Scheeler

                            I was a manger kings plaza /sheepshead bay stores

                            1. re: stusandel

                              What years did you work there??? I worked there from 1973 thru 78 or so...

                        2. I worked at Shatzkin's Knishes in Kings Plaza around 1982/1983. Does anybody remeber Jakie, the guy that looked like a homeless man who cleaned the tables? Those were some fun times.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MPG71396

                            Yeah I remember Jakie.... A real nice guy.... How bout Stevie????? I worked there around 1973 thru 1978 or so.... Worked for Gil, Stuie, etc.... Do you remember Stanley the owner????? Do you know where they moved to??

                          2. I actually worked a few summers at Shatzkin's on the Boardwalk on 26th Street (I think) around 1960-63. My dad used to sell the Shatzkin's their paper goods (he worked for a paper jobber in those days) and got me the job with Billy Shatzkin who was the son and opened this location while his father had the other one closer to Nathan's.

                            I had many happy hours there helping the little Russian and Polish Jewish grama's scoop balls of potato and kasha. There was a skill to doing it and it took some practice. You had to scoop into the pile and then make it tight by taking the ice cream scoop and pushing it with a swinging motion on the side of the tray on one side then the next. When it was perfect we released it into rows in a big tray.

                            The ladies would have a large mound of the dough and would cut off a piece and with a small wooden rolling pin, no handles, just a large dowel type piece of wood about 6" long would take a small piece of the dough and roll it out. Then the ball of Kasha or Potato went in the middle, they would then pull the two long sides of the rolled out dough together and then pinch the rest of the edges together. Once this ball was covered with the thin dough, they would then lay it down on the sides and flatten them with their hand.

                            Then they would take the two ends and tie it together. I always liked to eat this "tail" of the knish. Billy, would have a huge fryer and he would then put the raw knishes into the hot oil and fry them. After a few minutes the knishes still white, would begin to show some air bubble on the surface of the dough and he would remove them. He would either put them on trays and store them in a huge ice box in racks or put them aside and await their final second dunk into the hot oil.

                            This way day or night we always had plenty of any type of knish we needed. We would take a tray out and put what we needed into the hot oil and fry them until they turned golden brown.

                            Billy would have huge mixers in the back to mix the dough and to mix the potato and the kasha. He would add fried onions, salt and pepper and oil to the mix. I have attempted to duplicate the Shatzkin Knish over the years, but didn't know how they made the dough. I have tried using some of the Pillsbury dough mixes they sell in the markets, you know the ones for crescent rolls, bisquits, etc. and have come some what close, but still not the same.

                            At the end of the day, Billy would give whoever closed up that night any knishes left over that was still in the trays. I used to take bags of knishes home every day for the family. Needless to say I was a Shatzkin knish lover and also miss them to this day.

                            I remember, when Billy's dad died, I think his name was Moe, but not sure, then Billy died, he had a younger brother and he opened a place on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay. I used to go there and get some from time to time and even talked to them about doing what Nathan's did, but I think the family moved to the West Coast, some died and it just never happened.

                            I too have gone many times to Brighton Beach to get Mrs. Stahl's, but their knishes never compared to Shatzkin's because they were baked, not fried.

                            Finally I also remember the square Gabilla's Knishes they sold on the beach in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, they were horrid compared to Shatzkin's. Some years ago I remember buying some look alike, Coney Island style knishes in the Supermarkets in Jersey, but now they only sell the square ones and their crust is much too thick, unlike Shatzkin's.

                            Those were the good old days and my cousin and I have talked about making a fortune in New York and LA by just reproducing the Shatzkin Knish, but as of now, no one has been able to do it. I can tell you that I am an expert on the look and taste, so if anyone thinks they have it down, send some my way and I will let you know how close you came.

                            Regards,

                            Len Rapoport

                            Brooklyn Tech, H.S. Graduating Class of 1960

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: lenrap

                              I grew up in the 60's eating Knish Knosh. I still get them whenever I'm near 67th road and Queens Blvd. They're Potato and Kasha are still really great. I loved the cocktail size knishes when I was a kid. They still sell them.
                              I miss the liver knishes, which I developed a taste for in my late teens. They have a meat knish now that's not bad, but its not the liver.
                              I don't have they're phone number but they are located at the corner of 67th Road and Queens Blvd.
                              ps: on the next block is a Hungarian Pastry shop that's to die for. Killer Strudel, Cheesecake and Danish.

                              1. re: chefstu

                                A second (and hats off) to Knish Nosh, which I finally got around to in my travels at the suggestion of other posters here. It's not the answer to my nostalgic knish dreams, but pretty darn good, and I'll make it a destination when I can. (My favorite, though, was the one from Ruby the Knish Man, and I know we'll never see the likes of his knish again because true heroes have vanished from this world).

                                1. re: addictedtolunch

                                  Ruby the Knish man used to sell in Canarsie . Am I correct on that ?

                                  1. re: FAL

                                    There too. But I know him from his travels thru the Catskills with his truck with the loudspeaker obnoxiously announcing his presence. What a character. What a knish.

                                2. re: collage girl

                                  Does anyone remember a place called Izzy's Knishes? This is a vague childhood memory- seems like it might have been on the boardwalk in Long Beach, NY- but then again, I spent a bit of time with grandparents in Coney Island, etc. Can't remember where they were, if they were good or bad- just seems like a very early childhood food memory that I'm trying to bring back. Maybe in the 1950's or '60's.

                                  1. re: markabauman

                                    Izzy's was on the boardwalk in Long Beach and their knishes were the best. Baked, not fried. Flaky dough like a knish should be. My grandparents lived in Long Beach and we got knishes from Izzy's every week when we visited. The place closed down. There's a picture on this site http://lbny.homestead.com/LongBeach19...

                                  2. re: lenrap

                                    There is nothing like a Shatzkin's knish - it was round and soft and perfect at those high tables withe wooden forks -

                                    I can still find a decent square knish around (I still live in New York area - White Plains) but it was the dough that made it -a little gummy but not chewy

                                    Yum! that was my church on Sundays

                                    1. re: lenrap

                                      My cousin and I had thought it would be a good idea to build a website dedicated to Shatzkin's Knishes and fill it with photos of Coney Island, Brooklyn and images of my version of the Shatzkin's Knish as I remember it from the old days. We were going to try to go into business selling them again, but alas, the project was just too big to undertake. Join us there and read the stories of Shatzin's, enjoy the videos of old Coney and read the posts from the Shatzkin family.

                                      http://shatzkinsknishes.com

                                      See you all there.

                                      Len

                                      1. re: lenrap

                                        Hi Everyone, for those of you that want more about making Shatzkin style knishes please visit the website I have put up and see the video showing how it is done.

                                        On the site I have included many photos and vintage videos of Coney Island back in the day including photos of the original Shatzkins Knishes on Surf Ave.

                                        http://shatzkinsknish.com

                                        Len

                                      2. How can one describe that first bite into a Shatzkin's knish to a fellow Bostonian who thinks that broiled scrod is the beginning and end of culinary delights. As a kid, I could take the long drive from rural (yes, it was rural out there, back then) NJ so long as the destination was paradise on Surf Ave. Did the Chardavoyne buttermilk to accompany the knishes come from somewhere around the corner; or did Shatzkins sell it.
                                        The only good thing I can say about the three awful years at the law school at 116th, was my ability to hop on the IRT, change to the BMT's SeaBeach Express for a trip to eat knishes. I'm surprised no one mentioned Shatzkins move to a shopping center (sic) somewhere in the middle of Brooklyn sometime after the advent of color TV. The same? It was and it wasn't.
                                        Just imagine having to choose between a (or more) Shatzkins knish and unlimited Automat macaroni and cheese........today.

                                        1. Shatzkin's and Jerry's rocked my world!!!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Motosport

                                            To carry this discussion up the West End Line a ways, there was another outstanding knishery underneath the 50th Street station called or "Hershey's" or "Hirsch's" or something close to it.

                                            We would bend our route to grandma's house by one subway stop in Borough Park just to score some of those exquisite potato masterpieces.

                                            Can anybody on Board confirm this memory?

                                          2. Back in the 40s when I lived in East New York there was a man that went around with a cart heated by broken orange crates on fire in the bottom. He sold knishes for three cents, yes three cents. They were oval in shape, 3" x 2" and delicious. That's the knish I long for. (I also long to be that age agian :)!)

                                            3 Replies
                                              1. re: MOREKASHA

                                                Wow, that's my cousin's site! Great anecdotes!