Molly Wizenberg’s Delancey

The Rocky Road to Restaurateurism


What do espresso making, musical composition, crafting canoes and running a gourmet ice cream parlor have in common? If you answered “besides being generally concerned with creating things, not a lot,” you’ll understand why Molly Wizenberg wasn’t all that concerned when, six months into their marriage, her husband Brandon started talking about opening a restaurant. He had a flair for avocational flights of fancy, and odds were excellent that this idea would fall quickly by the wayside like those previous hobbies and career paths.

That’s foreshadowing. It’s also the setup for “Delancey,” Wizenberg’s memoir of that restaurant’s beginning days and the strain involved on the couple’s finances and fledgling marriage. Fortunately, readers already know it turns out okay, and the Oklahoma-born author of the blog Orangette has a deft hand with turning a sentence, as seen in this description of the idea of marriage: “You’re hitching your wagon to someone else’s, and if you’re totally honest about it, neither of you really knows how the steering column works, which road you’d be smartest to take, and whether, somewhere down that road, your spouse’s wheel hubs will open to reveal blades designed specifically to tear your wagon apart, ‘Ben-Hur’-style.”

It’s a quick read, she’s an immensely charming writer and when you finish, you can start working on some of the recipes included as chapter breaks. Now that’s a happy ending.

Categories: Good Reads, Talk