Izzy's - World's Greatest Reubens

News from Izzy's

Bessie Ward Celebrates 60 Years with Izzy's

Bessie Ward Celebrates 60 Years with Izzy's

Izzy’s Employee Celebrates 60 Years with Company

Community invited to meet Bessie, 90-year-old sister-in-law of founder Izzy Kadetz

CINCINNATI, OH – After 60 years waitressing at Izzy’s restaurant in Western Hills, Bessie Ward is thinking of increasing her one day a week to two.

“I really don’t have to work, but I really enjoy it,” says Bessie, the sister-in-law of founder Izzy Kadetz, celebrating her 60th year as an employee in 2014.

To properly ring in her 60th year of hard work at Izzy’s, Bessie is making appearances at Izzy’s restaurants throughout the month of August. Customers will get a chance to meet the Cincinnati native, who will share stories about working at Izzy’s over the years, and they’ll have a chance to share their favorite memories with her as well.

“If you’re nice to people, they’re nice to you,” Bessie says of waitressing at Izzy’s. “When I walk up to somebody to take their order, if they even give me a hint of a ‘Hi,’ I can start a conversation and we talk to one another.”

A wife and stay-at-home mother to three boys, Bessie began her work at Izzy’s when the restaurant moved to Elm Street. “My sister Rose called me up and asked if I would come down. I said, ‘Rose, I don’t know anything about the restaurant business.’ She said, ‘You don’t have to do anything; just stand by me and help me.’ I went down there a couple of times with her and I never left.”

Seeing the restaurant chain evolve and grow has been “unbelievable,” Bessie says, adding: “Izzy was a grouch, but he knew what he was doing. He was on top of everything and everybody, which also made the restaurant stand out. He made sure everyone got what they wanted and were treated well. He was good at what he did, he really was. Sometimes I think we forget about being friendly to people, and I think when you go into a restaurant that’s one thing people really do like.”

The community is invited to meet Bessie and learn more about her years at Izzy’s throughout the month of August at restaurants around Greater Cincinnati. Bessie will appear at the following Izzy’s locations:

  • Forest Park from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 4
  • West Chester from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 13
  • Fort Wright from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 20
  • Western Hills from 11 to 3 p.m. Aug. 29

Founded in 1901 by Izzy Kadetz, Izzy’s was the first Kosher style delicatessen west of the Alleghenies. Consistently named the “Best Deli in Cincinnati”, and known as the home of the “World’s Greatest Reuben,” Izzy’s still serves the classic homemade recipes Izzy Kadetz was handed down from his father dating back to 1901. 

Q&A with Bessie Ward:

Q: What do you like about working at Izzy’s?

A:  I like getting out of the house. I love talking to people. I like hearing new things. It’s a very nice day for me; it really is.  I like waitressing—if you’re nice to people they’re nice to you. When I walk up to somebody to take their order, if they even give me a hint of a ‘Hi,’ I can start a conversation and we talk to one another.

Q: What makes Izzy’s so special to the community?

A: I don’t think too many restaurants sell corned beef, and I don’t think a lot of young people even know what corned beef is. Once people come in, they really like our corned beef—it’s something special. And of course, they think our potato pancakes are the greatest thing on Earth. First thing they’ll do is ask, “Do we still get a pancake?”

Q: How did you start working for Izzy?

A: I was a stay-at-home mom when they moved from Central to Elm Street and they couldn’t get enough help. I worked as a salesperson at McAlpin’s and my sister called me up and asked if I would come down. I said, ‘Rose, I don’t know anything about the restaurant business.’ She said, ‘You don’t have to do anything; just stand by me and help me.’ I went down there a couple of times with her and I never left. She’d pick me up around 10 and we’d ride to work together. We’d work until 3 or so and go up the street and have a cup of coffee.

 

See More News from Izzy's

Our Story

Grab A Table

We treat our guests like family. So come in, sit a bit, and eat some good deli.

Order online New! and pick up in the store!

Stay in touch!

  • “My Sister brought me a Rueben from there & it was phenomenal & the potato pancakes are out of this world!! I only wish that there was an Izzys here in Buffalo, NY. ”

    Dave S. ★★★★★

  • “Goetta Rueben and potato pancakes!! And those crisp, cold pickles! Yummy ”

    Amanda W ★★★★★

  • “Flew in from Florida for the week, had to stop for a Rueben and potato pancake before leaving. You need to open some down this way! ”

    Barton F. ★★★★★

  • “Great place! I love Rubens and they are the best Ive had. The kosher pickles and the potato cakes are wonderful. We buy the jar pickles when ever we can find them. When in Cincinnati, find an Izzys! ”

    Kent F. ★★★★★

  • “Top of the list if you are visiting or live in Cincy. The reubens and potato pancakes are awesome! The turkey wraps are fantastic too. I’m hungry just talking about it…”

    Byron S. ★★★★★

  • “Heaven on a plate.  Cant go wrong with just about any sandwich, but the Reuben is my favorite!”

    Valerie B. ★★★★★

  • “The best! Yummy. Love potato pancakes and pickles as much as the sandwiches. ★★★★★★★★★★ 10★s. ”

    Wana R. ★★★★★

  • “I love the corned beef wraps and the Turkey wraps. Izzy's is delicious and busy weekdays at lunch. ”

    Emily C. ★★★★

  • “Came here about 3 years ago while knocking of Great American Ballpark on my list of all ballparks across America.  Hands down the best Reuben sandwich Ive ever had, and as a New Yorker I know Reuben sandwiches.  Would love to come back again in the future. ”

    Adolgo V. ★★★★★

  • “Had some quests from Columbus area and Andrian, MI and wanted to take them to a "local" restaurant. My grandson and I decided Izzy's in Forest Park was the choice. They LOVED it. First the delicious pickles and then the famous Ruben and potato pancake. The waitress was great, very friendly and we enjoyed her conversation with our questions. They were very impressed with the food and her. I wish I knew her name but she was the only waitress there. Then even bought a jar of pickles to take home.”

    Glyn H. ★★★★★

  • “Awesome server! Beef and barley soup was great even by itself. Ruben and potato cakes were nice going with it. Also enjoyed the carrot cake. Recommended to anyone passing through the Cincinnati area! ”

    Frank Andrews ★★★★★

  • “I first started going to Izzys over 40 years ago. I remember Izzy working behind the counter across the street from WLWT. The food I had tonight was as good as when Izzy would hand me my sandwich in the 70s! ”

    Arch G. ★★★★★