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Lefty’s Cafe at New Oregon Jewish Museum Celebrates Jewish Food History

Harriet Fasenfest was inspired by East Coast Jewish deli fare

Lines on opening day at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
Facebook/OJMCHE

The relocated and expanded Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE) threw its grand opening party in the Pearl District last weekend, and tucked inside the 15,000-square-foot institution is Lefty’s Cafe, a little cafe run by cook, author, and backyard economist Harriet Fasenfest, serving traditional American-Jewish plates.

Fasenfest grew up in the Bronx within a Jewish secular community and is a second-generation Holocaust survivor, and she tells Eater she’s seeking to serve the classic egg salad sandwich on caraway rye, tuna salad on a poppy-seed kaiser roll, and Jewish pastries, like rugalach, mandelbrot, and honey cake. “Oh, and let’s not forget the New York chocolate egg cream soda and ‘two-cent’ pretzel,” she says. See the menu below.

Modeled after the “New York Jewish deli,” Lefty’s Cafe will offer onsite seating, with coffee by local Nossa Familia Roasters. “It makes for a nice lunch before or after visiting the museum, or just because you’re in the mood for a little ‘nosh,’” says Fasenfest. The tip serves as a reminder of the root of the word: Nosh comes from nashn, Yiddish for nibble.

Visit Lefty’s Cafe at 724 NW Davis Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here’s a portion of what will be on offer, including the stories behind the many local bakers and other food artisans behind the cafe:

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

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