Hersch (Herschel Miedzygorski) really missed his true calling in life- he should have been a comedian instead of a restauranteur. Like Katz’s Delicatessen, the setting for the famous fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally or Monk’s Diner on Seindfeld, you can also find love at Kitchen On Main St. – over meatballs!
“I grew up in the ‘borsht belt’ of Vancouver – at Main and 28th,” says the amicable Hersch, who opened the iconic Southside Deli in Whistler in 1984, where ‘Eggs Oy Vay’ or sandwiches like ‘The Belch’ were standard foody repertoire for locals and travelers alike. It’s also where Hersch met current business partner, European-trained Chef Uli Schnur.
When long hours in the restaurant business after opening Harry’s Deli on Robson Street in 1992 (it later morphed into Harry’s Diner on Pender ,) started to take its toll, Hersch packed it all in to travel to Europe, Israel and New York. Returning to Vancouver, he started a landscape company that sated his creativity for ten years.
“But you know, the restaurant business is like the Mafia,” he quips in a raspy voice over an impromptu wine tasting at Kitchen On Main St., “it keeps pulling you back in.”
“Why this obsession with meatballs?” I ask the casually attired Hirsch, decked out in cutoff shorts and Chicago Blackhawks T-shirt, who reminds me of actor, Judd Hirsch.
“Why not?” he fires back. “Nobody else was doing meatballs.” (Now I feel like I’m part of a comedy routine.)
“Seriously, we do wonderful skillets with 4 different types of balls, from chorizo to veggie in a variety of tasty sauces; great pastas like seafood with mussels, prawns and scallops in sweet vermouth, all made with the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Baked frittatas served with our signature latkes; salads and an excellent selection of Okanagan and California wines by the glass with beers and ciders make it delicious and really good value,” says Hirsch. “And people just love our brussel sprouts – I’m not joking,” (reading my look of astonishment.)
The 40-seat eatery with a small European style corner bar, is recessed from the street and cleverly designed behind a sliding garage door. The hidden patio out back, a 30-seat greenery and floral gem (landscaping courtesy of Hersch, who else?) is a delightful oasis in the city, and packed with families for weekend brunch.
Hersch is someone who enjoys being with people and can often be seen waiting on tables and kibitzing with clientele.
“I actually met my girlfriend sitting at Table 37!” he confides with a big grin.