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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.

 

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  • “Excellent lunch menu.  I had the egg salad and my spouce had a reuben.  Portions are large and price is great ”

    Connie B. ★★★★

  • “Has the best reuben of my life (thus far)!!  Nothing fancy about this joint - very laid back and casual.  Staff was friendly and I could tell that they have a lot of regulars that come in for lunch.  I ordered a reuben and fell in LOVE!  Not greasy, not soggy, lots of awesome corned beef and sauerkraut, and the bread was super fresh. Izzys is on our list of places to eat when we are in Cincy.   Top 3 for sure! ”

    Melissa D. ★★★★

  • “One of the best restaurants in the city. Hands down the best Reubens around. ”

    James M. ★★★★★

  • “Izzys has great food at a fair price. I always enjoy myself at Izzys! ”

    Jim K ★★★★★

  • “Love our Ft. Wright Izzys! Friendly people, great food always.”

    Kate R. ★★★★★

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

    Valerie B. ★★★★★

  • “Beechmont has the best customer service. Always friendly when you walk in and leave. Ive never waited long to dine in or pickup. ”

    Heather T. ★★★★★

  • “This place is AWESOME!!!! I drove from Indianapolis to try this place and I do not regret my decision!!! Best food ever!!! The rueben omg...every ingredient from the bread to the sauce has been perfected!!! We need an Izzys here in Indy! 100% better than Shapiros!!! The pickles omg...I could go on and on forever!!! Thank you Mr. Izzy!!!! ”

    Dee Y. ★★★★★

  • “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. ★★★★★

  • “Greatest grilled reubens. Great corned beef sandwiches. All around great food.”

    Joe P. ★★★★★

  • “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. ★★★★★

  • “Longtime fans "love" this landmark Cincinnati deli with locations throughout the city serving "hearty", "overstuffed" sandwiches (particularly the "terrific" Reuben) along with "famous" pickles and "second-to-none" potato pancakes; although the decor reminds some of a grade-school lunchroom, it's affordable and the staff is "a hoot."

    Zagat Reviewed – 4.5 Food/ 4.4 Service