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From Grand Central Market to Supermarket

The Los Angeles Jewish Grocer

Cate Roman, Author

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Jack Roman and The Roman Brothers Co

From the Ukraine to Los Angeles

The Romans – Irving, Jack, Lou, Nate, Tess and Sonia were born to parents, Max and Anna. The family lived in the small town of Nikolayev, north of Odessa and the Black Sea in Ukraine. Anna did very well selling liquor to the Russian soldiers until her eldest son, Irving, reached the age to be conscripted into the Russian army. At that time, the family immigrated to the United States.

The family arrived in the U.S. in 1913sailing on the Lusitania from Liverpool, and settled in Union City, New Jersey, where Anna opened the first of the family's markets in the new country. With little education, each of the brothers began to open markets of their own–Irving's was the first. Second son Jack bought a New Jersey deli in an Italian neighborhood and learned how to roast pork, beef and create beautiful plates of antipasto. Nate and Pauline Roman also ran a small grocery typical of the time.

With a passion to travel, Jack Roman came to Los Angeles in the mid-1920's to visit cousin, Livia Slayton, who ran a deli in Boyle Heights (and was famous for her pickles). Jack loved the Los Angeles life style and felt there was more opportunity for the family markets. Once established as the first deli manager of Hattem’s Market in 1927, he convinced his brothers and brothers-in-law to come to Los Angeles to create The Roman Brothers Co.

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