He met a Texas-native and a pioneer in the kosher BBQ movement who inspired him to perfect his own technique for smoking and barbequing kosher meats in an all-wood smoker.
Izzy’s hobby soon became a passion. For two years, Izzy cooked and sold his kosher smoked meats from his family’s apartment in Crown Heights, promoting his side business on Facebook as “Izzy’s BBQ Addiction.”
Izzy realized that he was living in an area hungry for kosher BBQ, and in 2014, he decided to take things to the next level. He opened “Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse” in Crown Heights and turned his talent into a full-time business.
In a storefront on Troy Avenue, Izzy had a kitchen and seating for 24; but he saw quickly that hungry customers were lining up. He sought to expand to the adjacent storefront, which would add seating for an additional 48 customers.
Having heard of the Hebrew Free Loan Society from a friend, he applied for a $25,000 interest-free loan to expand.
In addition to providing an interest-free loan, HFLS checks in on Izzy regularly. Would a bank do that? “Probably not,” says Izzy, with a laugh.
Today, with an onslaught of press and an active social media presence, Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse is becoming known far and wide. Izzy is living his dream, supporting himself, his wife, and his two young children, and bringing the best kosher BBQ around to his hungry community.