Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting two beautiful, glowing, soon to be newly weds at the store. Andrew Whitman & Hilary Russo stopped by the manager's desk just days before their wedding to meet Saul Zabar and a few of our managers, and to share the story of their romance.
This past weekend was their wedding day. In the beautiful Hudson Valley. We wish all the best on your new union and lives togethers. How wonderful to be a part of it!
The story of their romance. November 2015
I met my fiancée Hilary online in May, 2012… Like most online introductions, we went from chatting online – to chatting on the telephone… and soon were ready to meet “in real life”. But, where would we meet?
The answer – was Zabar’s!
We agreed to meet at the store, shop together, then head to Riverside Park for a picnic. It was the Saturday before Mother’s Day, 2012. It’s a day I’ll remember the rest of my life.
I got there first, having walked up Broadway from 70th Street. I stood on the sidewalk, near the “out door” by the register. As fate would have it, a small group of musicians were playing nearby – providing the soundtrack for a moment I’ve replayed countless times in my head. Hilary was walking south from 92nd Street… and everything seemed to stop as she arrived.
She smiled – her beautiful face illuminated by both the sunlight – and the orange glow from Zabar’s signage… kissed me on the cheek… and we quickly entered the store.
Within moments, we realized how closely connected we were. Our first stop was the olive display – we got some for the picnic. Then, we discovered we had similar tastes in cheeses. By the time we got to the dessert area (the end of our first aisle), it was obvious we both “clicked” – and had similar tastes and preferences in food. By the prepared salad, soup, and kinish section – we were holding hands!
The rest of our shopping trip was a blur: we made each other smile and laugh, and the smells of Zabar’s smoked fish, bread, and coffee made our mouths water (or at least water more than they were). We checked out, had our picnic – and both agreed it was the best first date we had ever been on (perhaps we even realized then that it would be the last first date either of us would go on).
The story of our first date at Zabar’s has become something of a legend among our friends and family – and we have made sure your store has been an ongoing part of our relationship:
In November, 2014 – I proposed to Hilary in the new apartment we had just leased together. In our empty living room, I prepared a surprise: dozens of roses, candles, and another picnic from Zabar’s (oh, and a diamond ring, as well!). Of course, Zabar’s had to be there – you had been there from the very beginning!
I mentioned we moved into a new apartment together… and those who knew us (and the story of how we met) knew how to help mark the occasion. We received several housewarming gift baskets from where else… but Zabar’s!
Our connection to Zabar’s is not limited to just “special occasions”. Every time Hilary and I pass by the store – we stop – and share a kiss… and say “thank you” for helping bring us together. Our housewarming baskets have provided us with Zabar’s mugs, and every time we use them – we are instantly transported back to the moment that changed our lives.
And, this coming October, when we gather to celebrate our wedding with the people who mean the most to us – we will make sure Zabar’s is there, as well (after all, where else are we going to get bagels, lox, and cream cheese for a pre-wedding breakfast that’s as special to us as the rest of our wedding day will be?!?!?).
Could any of this happened without Zabar’s? Could I have met the love of my life, and paved the way to “happily ever after” without your store? Perhaps. Then again, I was lucky enough to meet the greatest woman in the world… so it seems fully appropriate that it began at the greatest store in New York!
So, once again, you have my unending thanks. Thank you for being the site of our first date… Thank you for being a part of our meeting, our engagement, our housewarming, our wedding, and countless kisses we’ve shared along Broadway. Thank you for helping bring Hilary into my life!
You have been a part of our lives since the moment we became “we.” And, you shall remain in our hearts (and your food in our bellies), for the rest of our lives.
I’ve attached a photo (one of many) Hilary and I have taken in front of your store over the years – one that honors our love – and the place it all began (Zabar’s, of course!)… Enjoy, and once again, thank you!
Yours in love,
(and Hilary Russo)