Great American Deli Schlep Steve Goode stops by Kenny & Ziggy’s (Houston Chronicle)

Elliott Lapin
July 9, 2021

This article originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle on July 9, 2021.

Stop 25 of 42 on Steve Goode’s 16,000-mile, 75-day odyssey brought him to Kenny and Ziggy’s Delicatessen on July 8.

Goode’s “Great American Deli Schlep” — which started in Chicago and will take him to delicatessens all across the U.S. — is a way for him to combine his passion for motorcycles with his involvement in the Jewish community.

Goode used articles in The Nosher, a website and newsletter about Jewish food, to plan his journey. He originally selected a deli in Austin to be his stop in Texas. Those plans changed after an encounter with his cousin who lives in Houston.

“She said, ‘Absolutely not. You’re staying with me, and you’re going to Kenny and Ziggy’s,’” Goode explained.

Goode uses schlep, a word borrowed from Yiddish that defines as “to move slowly, awkwardly, or tediously” because he wants to convey the Jewish nature of his undertaking. Plus, it is fun to say, he said.

He tries not to order the same thing at every deli but admits that he has eaten his share of deli classics like corned beef sandwiches, pastrami sandwiches, matzo ball soup and potato pancakes.

However, he would not declare a favorite meal or deli, saying, “I’m not comparing them and not rating them.”

Goode is using the schlep to raise money and awareness to fight hunger with MAZON, a national organization “inspired by Jewish values and ideals” that is “fighting to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel.”

Goode has already raised about $12,000 for MAZON

Goode said he has met interesting people and received great hospitality and food throughout his journey thus far.

“It’s a win-win situation, actually a win-win-win situation,” said Goode. “I get to go on a wonderful trip, these delis get great PR, and I’m raising money to fight hunger.”

Ziggy Gruber, the owner of Kenny & Ziggy’s received a phone call from MAZON asking if he was interested in getting involved in the Great American Deli Schlep, and Gruber eagerly agreed.

He is friends with the owners of many of the other delicatessens that Goode has visited or will visit for the Schlep.

“I’m glad that we were involved, and I’m glad that he decided to schlep all the way out to us,” said Gruber.

Gruber appreciates the awareness that Goode is bringing to delicatessens around the country, pointing out that delis, like all kinds of restaurants, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goode, who has owned several motorcycles and participated in three major cross-country motorcycle rides, is traveling in his 2018 Honda Gold Wing.

“It’s wonderful because you get out. You get fresh air and incredible views,” Goode explained. “It’s just therapeutic. As I tell my cousin who’s a therapist, ‘you’ll never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychiatrist office because bikers are just happy.’ It’s close to meditation.”