In December 2018, Terri Hitzig winked at Bruce Bogartz on Jdate. He responded, “Don’t just ‘like’ with a heart, say something!” Things moved quickly as they planned to meet at Jingle Mingle, a charity event to feed the homeless on Christmas. Chef Bogartz made seven gallons of his famous Brunswick stew to donate. Hitzig was so touched that she decided they wouldn’t join the group later for lox and bagels. Bogartz said, “We didn’t care about the others in the room. We had an immediate connection and were comfortable with just each other.”
Ironically, Hitzig was featured in the September 2018 AJT touting her culinary skills preparing chopped liver and coconut flan, while Bruce got rave reviews in the AJT November dining review of his eponymous Bogartz Food Artz restaurant in Sandy Springs. “When Harry Met Sally” has nothing on these two talented foodie lovebirds’ match made in “matzoh ball brisket” heaven.
Looking forward, the wedding is set for late July.
Read on to reveal their gourmet courtship.
Bogartz felt there was basically no conquest; it just felt right. “On the second date, I sealed the deal.” Hitzig wasn’t feeling well, and Bogartz sent over his special duck soup. She gushed, “No one has ever been that sweet. Feeling better, I was initially intimidated; but decided to reciprocate by cooking a meal for him, a Cuban feast:
Tostones (twice-fried plantains), picadillo (hash), sofrito (vegetable sauce), arroz congri (black beans and rice), hibiscus tea topped off with a lemon tart.”
On New Year’s Eve, the couple went to a Jewish singles event at Red Sky.
“We were in our own world. I paid $20 to have her favorite music played. WOW, I must have really cared to do that!”
Hitzig continued. “He told me he loved me; and my friends said ‘it was too soon for that.’ We just knew.”
On Being Jewish
Both divorced from non-Jewish spouses, they independently thought Jdate was the best way forward.
“Being with someone Jewish has given me a shared sense of place and humor,” Bogartz said. “Even something small sparks something significant. We so much enjoy hanging around our mutual Jewish friends. And Terri is a great audience.”
Hitzig added, “When things get messed up in the kitchen, Bruce bursts out ‘Ma Nishtana’ and I bend over in laughter, or he’ll make a Woody Allen joke only I get.”
How the Chefs Dine
They are late-night snackers. Nothing like kosher hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at 10 p.m. Hitzig’s specialty is a made-from-scratch breakfast: banana pecan pancakes with real maple syrup.
Bogartz said, “I work 13-hour days. I’m a big fan of breakfast.” Note that Bogartz attended Emory University (before heading back to Tennessee) and earned his kitchen stripes by working at the original Pano’s & Paul’s and the Atlanta Fish Market when it was in Lenox Mall.
Hitzig helps out at Bogartz when needed but is concentrating on her own Jewish comfort food business, Terri’s Table, LLC.
Hitzig wants a “playful feel” with a Dixieland jazz band. She will wear a fuchsia dress, and Bruce plans to wear Bermuda shorts and white bucks.
“We asked all the guests to dress in florals … even colorful socks,” Hitzig said.
The wedding will take place on a Sunday afternoon at Bogartz. The staff will be prepared to serve 120. Rabbi Brian Glusman will officiate.
The menu is fun food – pizza, cheeseburgers – to start.
Hitzig will make the elaborate cake in segments: sprinkles with lemon curd, strawberry jam, layers of chocolate brandied cherries, cream cheese frosting, whipped cream.
The honeymoon will also be in parts: Savannah first to just chill, followed by something more exotic like the Bahamas on a private jet.
Why It Was Bashert
When the two families first met after the engagement, Hitzig discovered that her father and Bogartz’s father were both from the Bronx. Drilling down, they realized that both Hitzig and Bogartz were toddlers in the same New York apartment building! Hitzig moved to Savannah and Bogartz to Knoxville.
They circled back around to Sandy Springs to tie the knot.