If you haven’t heard of Kenny & Ziggy’s Restaurant in Houston, you are missing out on something great. No, something amazing. It doesn’t matter what you order from Kenny & Ziggy’s, because everything comes extra large there, even the menus. Ziggy Gruber has taken his knowledge of the New York-style deli and created a Texas-style deli that didn’t exist, can’t be duplicated, and is consistently delicious.
In fact, Ziggy Gruber has run his restaurant in such a brilliantly smart way, that he not only took his time opening his second location, Kenny & Ziggy’s West University, but he was very strategic in where he opened it and the look and feel of it.
Kenny & Ziggy’s West University
What Ziggy Gruber managed to create with his two restaurants is remarkable. Kenny & Ziggy’s on Post Oak has a deli feel. It is spacious and open, and when it is bustling, it is loud, busy, and the servers are blowing and going. Food comes out fast and furious, hot and delicious. It has a New York vibe with a slower Houston feel. Then you walk into the Kenny & Ziggy’s West University, which is the new location, located on the corner of Buffalo Speedway and Westpark.
Kenny & Ziggy’s West University is adorable with a neighborhood diner feel. It is warm and friendly, and the pace is slower. The menu is missing a few items, but you will be hard pressed to find what’s not being served at this restaurant, as the menu looks the same and the food portions are the same, and the food tastes the same. So, in many ways, Ziggy has reproduced his winning concept, but it’s not the food that makes this new location so amazing, it’s the vibe, the staff, and the management. They all make you feel like you are at home and as if they know you, and not only that, you feel like you know the person who is eating at the table next to you. It’s one big happy family in this intimate and darling Kenny & Ziggy’s location.
Kenny Friedman – Manager
We truly believe that although the brains and brawn behind Kenny & Ziggy’s is Ziggy Gruber himself, Kenny & Ziggy’s West University owes its ambiance and unique feelings because of the managers who run the joint. Kenny Friedman, who isn’t the Kenny on the sign out in front of the restaurant, has been in the food industry since he was 14 years old. He grew up in Houston and graduated from Westbury High School and the University of Houston.
Whether he worked in Newman’s Butcher Shop, waited tables or was in food sales he has a love of restaurants and the food industry, but more importantly of people and connecting. As Kenny said, with an easy smile,
You have to love this industry to be in it because it isn’t the easiest industry to be in.
What he loves is working with Ziggy Gruber. While Kenny was working in the wholesale food industry, Ziggy was one of his customers, and he watched Ziggy grow over ten years. He had even done some catering with Jeanne, and his family had inaugurated the now famous Schmooze Room at the Kenny & Ziggy’s on Post Oak, and one day he approached Ziggy about working for him. That was 3.5 years ago, and he has been happy ever since.
Ziggy is a great person to work for. He takes care of you and cares about his staff; he supports us in every way.
When Kenny heard he was opening the new Kenny & Ziggy’s West University with Jon Brochstein as his co-manager, he was thrilled. They each have different strengths and feed well off each other, and most importantly, they both love to change the dynamics of the customer relationships. Kenny’s style is hands on as a manager, he is laid back and always has a smile on his face and a friendly word for both staff and diners, and he says if you are going to order anything, make sure it is the pastrami.
Jon Brochstein – Manager
Jon Brochstein has been in food services industry since he was 18 years old but has always come back to his roots at Kenny & Ziggy’s, where he has worked on and off for 11.5 years. Jon is a native Houstonian, who knows how to make a friend, work the room and get the job done. Whether he has been tending bar, waiting tables or managing a restaurant at a large resort, Jon has never been afraid of hard work and getting his hands dirty, which has always made him a favorite among the staff and his employers.
Although Jon is from Houston, he spent his high school years in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but for Jon, Houston is home and where he always returned, because he is all about family. In fact, when Ziggy contact Jon to ask him to come back to manage the new Kenny & Ziggy’s West University location with Kenny Friedman, Jon was working at a Casino Resort as a manager, but he didn’t have to think very hard about his decision to move back.
Working for Ziggy is amazing because he doesn’t micromanage, and I always wanted to be a manager for him, so when he offered me the position, I was thrilled. But, even more importantly, my parents are in Houston, and I love spending time with them, and this also gives me an opportunity to spend time with my niece and nephew and watch them grow up and with my sister, who’s my best friend. It came at the perfect time.
Jon also realizes that he and Kenny are excellent managers together because they each have their own styles, and they complement each other. Jon believes that Kenny & Ziggy’s West University is run efficiently and with attention to detail and that between the two of them and the staff that they have hired and brought over from the other store, that they have created the perfect neighborhood restaurant that is personal, and you can walk in and feel right at home.
The best thing about Kenny & Ziggy’s West University?
Kenny & Ziggy’s West University is personal, fun and the best deli in the country, and there will be more to come.
Kenny & Ziggy’s West University: The Details
We’ve eaten several times at Kenny & Ziggy’s West University and the food is outstanding, the service is impeccable and the staff is fantastic. We also love the vibe in there. It’s got a different feel than the original without losing the ‘deliness’ of the concept. The best part? Right now, since they haven’t been open very long, during the week there still isn’t a wait for tables, but we suspect that won’t be the case for long! We suggest you start to put this down as one of your go-to breakfast places during the week for those work breakfast meetings and lunch too!
Location: Kenny & Ziggy’s West University, 5172 Buffalo Speedway
Monday – Thursday 7 am – 9 pm
Saturday 8 am – 10 pm
Sunday 8 am – 9 pm