Heller opened Edith’s Sandwich Counter in 2021. Illustration: Ryan Inzana

“Owning a business means I feel guilty not working at all times,” says Elyssa Heller, who opened Edith’s Sandwich Counter in Greenpoint after starting it as a pandemic pop-up. It is both an homage to and a modernization of the kinds of spots Heller has always loved. “When I first moved to New York,” she says, “I was too poor to afford Russ & Daughters, so I would go there and just look at the window.” Now, of course, the shop is all hers — though it does mean she has given over her weekends to the job: “Most people are like, ‘Woo hoo! It’s Friday!’ Not me. That’s my Sunday, when I start to feel some existential dread about the week ahead.”

Wednesday, March 20
The middle of the week is when I schedule meetings and run around the city, since from Saturday to Tuesday, I’m pretty much glued to Edith’s, the sandwich shop I own. I have to be in midtown by 9:30, but my friend Demetri — who runs Peter Pan Donuts — texts me to say he’s made hamantaschen for Purim. I run over to grab one with a black coffee for breakfast. It’s in the style of a Linzer cookie with raspberry jam — it’s nice and crumbly and shortbready.

I head into Manhattan to run some errands; a lot of my life is running around. Then, functioning on a single hamantaschen and a coffee, I head back to the sandwich shop to snag a chickpea-crunch wrap for lunch. It has been my lunch almost every day since we put it on the menu about three weeks ago.

I check in with the Edith’s team for our weekly touch-base; stop at home to walk my dog, Murray (named after Bill); and head back out to run more errands. I chug a peach-pear LaCroix on the way. I realize most people can’t “chug” a seltzer. Call it a gift.

It’s been a long day, so I stop at Fresh Kills for a dirty martini with a friend. I like my martinis with vodka, always Ketel One. If there are blue-cheese olives, I’ll take those, but no place really has them so I just get regular olives. We’re right next door to Atithi, an Indian restaurant I had never been to before, so we pop over for samosas, chicken korma, garlic naan, aloo gobi matar, and chana saag. It’s all amazing.

After dinner, I head home and watch reality TV. I am intimately familiar with every episode of every season of all the Real Housewives. I just finished Traitors, season two. I’m single, but reality TV is my love language.

Thursday, March 21 
I’m working remotely and trying to take some time off, so I spend four hours walking Murray around Williamsburg. At some point, I pick up a venti iced Passion tea from Starbucks as a treat, alongside an Americano from Variety Coffee after my insane walk. By that time, it’s 11 a.m., which means it is an acceptable hour for pizza.

I reheat some leftover slices from Carmine’s, my favorite neighborhood slice shop. I go for the upside-down Sicilian because it feels saucy and Chicago-y even though I know it’s not. As a Chicago native, I like a saucier slice. After the pizza, I feel like I need something sweet, so I take a handful of Trader Joe’s sour jelly beans while I catch up on Vanderpump Rules.

I’m a big snacker; I just do handfuls throughout the day. I love cornichons. I always have about three jars. Maille is the best brand, but it’s a little pricey. The Whole Foods 365 brand makes a great cornichon too.

I work and watch TV all day. I catch up on laundry and walk Murray to go pick up Bahnmigos. They just opened one in Greenpoint, which is huge for me. I grab a grilled-pork vermicelli salad for dinner. Bahnmigos is the best cheap Vietnamese food. I used to live around Crown Heights, and I got really addicted to it.

I have anxiety, and one of the things I’ve done since I was a kid is watch the same movie over and over to fall asleep. I watch either Moonstruck, When Harry Met Sally …, or The Birdcage almost every single day before I go to sleep. Tonight, it’s When Harry Met Sally …

Friday, March 22
I’m usually stressed about the week ahead, and today I’m extra stressed about dental work I’m getting done this afternoon, so I make my friend drive me up to Barney Greengrass for breakfast. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. My friend has never been, which seems impossible and is totally unacceptable. Sturgeon King of New York, baby! Hands down, there is no better deli in New York, and I’ve done a lot of research. It’s perfect in every single way. Nobody can convince me otherwise.

We get the smoked-sturgeon–and–whitefish plate (sliced whitefish, not whitefish salad), and I make him try matzo brei for the first time, which is an underrated Jewish food. I guide my friend through the experience. They serve matzo brei with jelly and he’s like, “What am I supposed to do? Put the jelly on the eggs?” Yes, and it’s delicious.

Then it’s dental-work time. Brutal.

Once the novocaine wears off, I deserve a martini, so I head to Cozy Royale. I love it there so much. I’m probably there too frequently. There’s this new wine bar that opened up on Bedford called With Others. The wines are good, and they focus on small producers and my friend wants to check it out. I’m like, “Okay, I’m still a little numbed up. Let’s go.”

From there, I end up doing a bit of an impromptu bar crawl, going to Rossi’s Lounge, one of my favorite dive bars, where I have a shot and a beer, then head to Twins Lounge and then finish the night with a plate of perfect French fries and a burger from Three Decker Diner.

I get home to walk Murray, and it’s Moonstruck before bed.

Saturday, March 23
I work all weekend, and today I’m running late. I refuse to be away from the shop on weekends. I start my morning by quickly running to Grass Roots Juicery and grabbing a Skin Glow juice. I debated getting something new called Citrus Mistress, which I sometimes get. It’s lemon, orange, and grapefruit. It tastes like liquid sunshine. But I go with my Skin Glow and head to Edith’s, and we’re already really busy. I have a black coffee and a toasted Chicago-style everything bagel with plain cream cheese and then I just power through service.

I work straight through the day with just a passionfruit LaCroix and black drip coffee by my side. I’m a big seltzer person, and passionfruit is my second-favorite in my LaCroix power ranking. It goes peach-pear No. 1, passion fruit No. 2, and in a pinch, I’ll settle for a tangerine.

After working all day on a rainy Saturday, I make it to Emily’s Pork Store before it closes. I get a roast-pork sandwich with broccoli rabe, sweet and hot peppers, and balsamic and oil, plus they give me roast beef on the side for Murray. It’s the best Italian sandwich ever.

I go home and put on the new Road House and then I decide I can’t bring myself to watch it. Why remake Swayze? No one can beat Swayze. I go old-school and watch Beetlejuice instead because I’m very excited for the new movie to come out.

Sunday, March 24 
I wake up, take a handful of peanut-butter pretzels, and walk Murray before work. I get my Americano from Variety Coffee, I always have a sandwich from Edith’s, and I watch everything that comes out of the kitchen, so I’m snacking as I go along. One of my favorite snacks is a latke with a bunch of ketchup on it. Latkes are pretty labor intensive. Most sandwich or bagel shops buy hash browns, but we make our latkes. I have one rule at Edith’s: If our sandwich comes with a latke, people can’t order one without it. You can go anywhere else and get a sandwich without a latke.

I have our tuna melt, which, of course, I have to have with pickles on the side. I’m a huge pickle person. Today, I have four full spears like a crazy person. They cut the fat of the tuna melt so well.

I go home and have a bunch of snacks: some nori sheets, some popcorn with nutritional yeast, and then I give Murray some sardines so I have one as well. I love making weird versions of my own girl dinner.

I hang at home with Murray and chill for a bit before heading over to my friend Gavin’s house for taco night. He invites me over with a bunch of his restaurant-industry friends. Everybody lives in the neighborhood. Gavin makes his own tortillas, which turn out great. The Meat Hook just opened its new location this weekend, so he got a bunch of great meat there to use for his tacos.

After dinner, I have a few Kinder chocolate bars that my grocery store sells in these cute little packages. I have about four of those, but they’re tiny.

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