Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Interview with Helene D. Grossman (Part 1)

I caught up with my cousin Helene a couple weeks ago, and she graciously took the time to answer some questions about Dubrow's for me, in a somewhat formal written interview. I'll be posting her responses over a series of posts.

Just for reference: Helene is the daughter of George Dubrow, sister of Irwin Dubrow, and granddaughter of Benjamin Dubrow, all of whom managed Dubrow's at different times.

1. What was your impression of running Dubrow's, for Irwin and for George? Did it seem to bring them joy? Did it seem stressful? Which store(s) did they run and for how long?

"For George, Dubrow’s was his life. He loved every aspect of running the “stores”. George had an incredible joie de vivre, was very much a people person and enjoyed interacting with his employees at all levels as well as with his customers. He shared their happinesses, trials and tribulations and lent his ear and advice and often, financial support. I still have a ring that a customer gave him in appreciation of his kindnesses. His measure of quality control was a random tablespoon of prepared foods, especially his favorites, before they left the kitchen…he was a bit rotund and we all thought this was his best excuse not to stick to a diet! He was not a morning person, and usually went to work at around noon, staying until midnight, the exception being most Friday nights, when he came home for dinner, under duress from my mother, usually returning to work after that. George’s personal and business philosophy was that you are only as good as tomorrow, not yesterday. I suspect that fed his drive for success. There certainly were stressful situations at times, particularly dealing with the unions….I think there were 6 or 7. "

She goes on to provide some more detail about George's history at Dubrow's, which I found very helpful:

"George opened and initially ran all of the cafeterias which included Dubrows Eastern Parkway (Utica Avenue), Dubrows Kings Highway ( 16th St), Dubrow's Lincoln Road (Miami Beach), Dubrow's Seventh Avenue (Manhattan) and Dubson's Restaurant (on Utica Avenue around the corner from Dubrows Eastern Parkway Cafeteria). "

Much more to come - about Irwin, about Max Tobin, and more! Stay tuned.

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