Jaffe’s Jewish Jive
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Aug. 11 that Smyrna is the No. 4 location in the nation to open a restaurant. The Jaffes (no relation to me) have taken on that challenge by opening Oy! at 2355 Cumberland Parkway, about a mile from the Home Depot headquarters.
Sherry Habif, Adam Jaffe’s catering and party planning mother, was the inspiration with decades of private recipes and good old-fashioned home cooking. Adam and his wife, Allie, premiered Oy! on July 18 with the concept of “not super-complicated or complex food with great chefs blended with my mother’s background of overindulgence. Growing up with her … trips, desserts, food were all over the top as an expression of her lifestyle,” Adam said.
He continues to practice personal injury and divorce law while Allie, formerly with AT&T, runs the day-to-day operations. Sherry keeps a firm watch on quality control and makes surprise visits to Oy! at least once a week to ensure that the chefs — Le Cordon Bleu graduates with over 15 years of experience, plus training in Sherry’s home — are fulfilling her recipes.
The three of them sat down with me to gush about their vision.
Marcia: Why did you chose Smyrna … off the Buckhead beaten path?
Adam: We wanted someplace cute and trendy. … This location was actually a former restaurant, so the buildout was usable
Marcia: Other than growing up with Sherry and loving good food, why go into a tough business like this?
Adam: I lived for a bit in New Orleans and loved the huge portions at the Camellia Grill. I was eating at the Flying Biscuit and thinking, “This can be done even better.” We like to make people happy with rich, delicious food and huge portions. That’s our biggest complaint: “You gave me waaaay too much!” So take it home, we say.
Allie: It’s not like work. It’s so much fun. Sherry’s food is to die for, and dining was always my hobby. We are open seven days a week and have done very little marketing. We see lots of different faces here. Families, to-go orders, office lunch workers. We even have a mahjong corner set up for groups to come play and eat. We close at 3, so there are no long night hours. Adam is on site for our lunch rush and all day on the weekend, and compared to stressful litigation, this is very enjoyable for him.
Marcia: Sherry, what’s your background in food preparation?
Sherry: The full gamut. In Birmingham I had a catering business in the ’70s. Then I was the outside caterer for the famous Coach and Six in the early ’80s. For eight years I was the baker for Ahavath Achim Synagogue and made 200 dozen cookies at a time. That’s a real oy. But I don’t give out my recipes now.
Marcia: What are the menu favorites?
Adam: Sherry’s French toast caramel casserole stuffed with cream cheese, extreme buttermilk pancakes the size of a pizza with real fruit toppings, giant six-egg omelets, challah egg soufflé, and Sherry’s famous triple chocolate-chunk cookies. Oops, can’t forget the Juicy Lucy stuffed burger. Our price points are $8 to $12 for real ingredients. Everything can be prepared kiddie size.”
Marcia: Aren’t you bucking the health food trends?
Adam: We use no trans fats or animal fat. Our burgers are lean Angus brisket and short ribs. You can also ask for egg whites or no butter. Our veggie burgers are specially made for us with ground mushrooms, oats and brown rice. We also have delish sweet potato hash. But you’re right: It’s not health food. Everyone likes to overindulge a bit. We ensure that there is someplace to do that and make it worthwhile.
Marcia: Are you seeing many familiar Jewish faces?
Allie: We have a diverse clientele. We are very community-friendly. You can give a bridal shower, birthday party, bris or brunch here for no facility fee.
Marcia: How do you two stay so trim and ripped around this food?
Sherry: Oh, they eat sushi and quinoa when I’m not looking.
Marcia: I think I’ll go take some Lipitor.