Jun 22, 2023 - Business

Popular Jewish deli pop-up Meshugganah finally has a home inside Dressler’s new Joan’s Bakery and Deli


Photo: Alicia McAtee/Axios

Local restaurateur Jon Dressler is adding a bakery and deli to his restaurant lineup — Joan’s Bakery and Deli, named after his mom.

Joan’s will open this fall at 1100 Metropolitan Ave., near Dressler’s at Metropolitan, where Xtend Barre used to be. 

Why it matters: Chef Rob Clement, best known for his popular Jewish deli pop-up Meshugganah, will lead the bakery. And he’s bringing his Meshugganah staples with him, including pastrami and corned beef sandwiches.

Context: Chef Rob has a history working with Rare Roots Hospitality, the restaurant group that encompasses all of Dressler’s restaurants (Dogwood, Fin & Fino, The Porter’s House). He was the executive chef of The Porter’s House before he left to create Meshugganah in 2020.

Rob Clement (photo by Peter Taylor)
A sandwich from Meshugganah (Photo by Peter Taylor)

Catch up quick: Clement started Meshugganah in September 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. It quickly gained popularity and a little over a year later, he signed a lease for its first brick-and-mortar location, Axios’ Katie Peralta Soloff reported.

  • The Jewish deli at 1108 N Graham never opened, however.
  • Clement, instead, turned his focus toward his family. His wife, Franki, was diagnosed with cancer last year. In a post on his personal Instagram, Clement wrote “my job, my only job, is to be there for her.”
  • In November 2021, Clement opened Meshugganah inside City Kitch, a ghost kitchen in west Charlotte, the Observer reported.

What to expect: In addition to Meshugganah staples, Joan’s bakery will offer pastries curated by pastry chef Hannah Patel.

  • “I can think of no better way to honor my mother and share the story behind her amazing desserts than to open our retail bakery under her name,” Jon Dressler said in a statement.
Joan’s popular cheesecake, found at Dogwood. Photo: Courtesy of Lunah Zon Photography

Flashback: Dressler’s mother Joan owned her own bakery called “White Thumb” in New Jersey until 1980. For years, she baked the popular cheesecakes served at Dressler’s, and later passed her recipe along to the Rare Roots team.

  • The cheesecake recipe, along with her recipes for carrot cake and apple cake, dates back two generations and will live on at Joan’s.

What’s next: Dressler is opening another new restaurant, called Chapter 6, inside the new development The Line in South End, Axios’ Ashley Mahoney previously reported.

  • Chapter 6, which will open this fall, will highlight flavors of the world, from Spanish to Mediterranean to Moroccan dishes, served on small plates.

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