September 19, 2021

‘Great American Deli Schlep: Deerfield man visits 42 delis by motorcycle, raising thousands to fight food insecurity

CHICAGO — A north suburban man traveled 15,000 miles to go to the very best Jewish deli in each state – and used his motorbike mission to fight food insecurity.

Steve Goode spent his summer time doing one thing GREAT. Goode left his Deerfield dwelling behind for 75 days to go to dozens of delis throughout the U.S.

Goode’s love for bikes began as quickly as he was sufficiently old to get his license. Whereas away on a visit to California earlier than attending the College of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, his father referred to as to say he bought Steve’s bike.

“I said, ‘You can’t do that!’ He said, ‘Stop me,'” Goode stated. “But as soon as I got out of college, I bought a motorcycle and started riding again.”

The 1972 incident wasn’t sufficient to forge a rift between father and son – they had been in enterprise collectively for practically 40 years.

The 67-year-old is not any stranger to the highway, particularly these much less traveled. Upon his retirement in 2012, Goode had extra time to take main motorbike journeys. His earlier excessive mileage journeys embrace visiting each nationwide park, all 48 contiguous states and the nation’s 4 “corners.” Goode prefers to take again roads, the place there’s much less site visitors and the place you “find out what America’s all about,” he stated.

“The best part of riding a motorcycle long distance is just the amount of beauty you see in this country,” Goode stated. “When I did my national parks trip, (…) I joked with my wife, ‘I saw the Sistine Chapel, the David and the Mona Lisa all in the same day.’ It was just incredible.”

Goode’s newest itinerary landed in his inbox when a pal despatched him a map created by The Nosher, depicting the very best Jewish deli in each state. As he started mapping the route and calculating the mileage, Goode’s spouse, Judi, recommended he companion with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Starvation The nonprofit’s mission is impressed by Jewish values, although it goals to finish starvation for individuals of all faiths and backgrounds in Israel and the U.S.

Along with MAZON, Goode christened the journey the “Great American Deli Schlep,” capturing the light-hearted nature of the journey and nodding to the delicacies and tradition underlying it.

Goode can also be well-versed in Hebraic humor as a member of the Jewish Bike Alliance, a world group for Jewish motorbike fans. The group’s 33 chapters have “punny” names just like the “Kosher Hogs,” “Shalom and Chrome,” “Hillel’s Angels” and the “Chaiway Riders.”

The Schlep was initially set for Might 2020, nevertheless it was postponed due to the pandemic. When he first started coordinating with MAZON, the group stated there have been 38 million Individuals – equal to your complete inhabitants of Canada – who handled food insecurity, that means they did not know the place their subsequent meal would come from. COVID induced the necessity to double: Roughly 80 million Individuals wrestle with food insecurity at this time, in accordance to the group.

“Whether you’re in New York or California or Kansas, it doesn’t matter – there are people who are having issues,” Goode stated.

Seventy-five days, 42 delis and 14,800 miles later, Goode accomplished his voyage at Jake’s Deli in Milwaukee.

“The trip was pretty intense,” Goode stated of the highway hazards and climate circumstances he encountered alongside the way in which. Every day he’d hit the highway round 6 a.m. and pull off to sleep at about 10 p.m. He was hit by a wayward tire on the New Jersey Turnpike. He rode by means of loads of rain, together with a monsoon in Texas. He altered his route within the Pacific Northwest and rode beneath hazy skies throughout a lot of the Nice Plains due to the forest fires that had been burning.

However a keep at his brother’s dwelling in Scottsdale, Arizona, introduced a novel type of fright.

Goode was repacking his baggage the night time earlier than his departure and noticed one thing transfer. It was a scorpion.

“It scared the living daylights out of me!” he stated.

He grabbed the bag with the scorpion in it, threw it outdoors and watched the creature scurry away.

“I was absolutely freaked out. Because if he was in the bedroom, where’s his big brother? Where’s his other friends?” Goode stated. “I must’ve checked under the bed 25 times before I went to bed that night. I pulled every piece of luggage apart to make sure there were no more scorpions in that room.”

The challenges had been balanced out by nice rewards, nevertheless: hearty consuming and tons of latest connections.

“My wife coined the (phrase), ‘New friends, old food,'” Goode stated. “That’s really what I took away. If you want a deli anywhere in the country, call me! I know the guys!”

Practically each deli was household owned, Goode stated, and each had its personal distinctive origin story and persona.

One standout was Hershel’s East Aspect Deli in Philadelphia’s Studying Terminal Market. Stephen Safern opened the deli in 2000 to honor the legacy of his uncle, who helped Safern’s father escape the Nazi invasion of their hometown in Poland.

“That’s just a heartwarming story,” Goode stated. “Because without the uncle, his father wouldn’t have made it.”

BernBaum’s, one other family-owned deli in Fargo, North Dakota, is owned by a pair the place the husband is Jewish and the spouse is Scandinavian. The eatery’s choices included each their cultures.

Stein’s Deli in New Orleans is all about counterculture.

“It’s run by an attorney who didn’t want to be an attorney. His business card is modeled after Starbucks, (and) his title is ‘Owner/Head Jerk,'” Goode stated. “It’s like an old hippie that’s running a deli. He knew every client that walked in (and) they loved him. It was just a lot of fun.”

Mookie’s Deli was opened simply final 12 months by a New York expat now dwelling in Cary, North Carolina, whereas Attman’s in Baltimore was celebrating 105 years of enterprise.

“It was just a fascinating cross-section of America,” Goode stated.

He additionally loved making connections with fellow Jewish Bike Alliance members and folks he met alongside the highway. Throughout an interview with a reporter in Seattle, he found that she had been faculty roommates with the daughter of a childhood pal from Chicago’s South Aspect who now lives in Boston – and whose home he stayed at throughout his go to to town.

“So here I’m sitting in Seattle with an unrelated party, I happen to mention this guy’s name, and there’s a connection in Boston,” he stated. “It doesn’t get much further apart than Boston and Seattle.”

The largest (*42*) second of the journey occurred on a meandering Utah highway.

“I’m driving along, and it’s just beautiful,” Goode stated, describing the solar peeking by means of the mountaintops and the river operating alongside the highway. “And I just sort of teared up (at) how blessed I was to be physically able to do this, financially able to do this, have a family that supported me doing this and have the opportunity to ride around the country and make new friends. It just all sort of hit me how lucky I am to be able to do this trip and have this opportunity.”

As of Sept. 1, Goode’s Nice American Deli Schlep had raised greater than $18,000 for MAZON. To learn Goode’s journey blogs or make a donation, go to

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