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Finding true love at Lido Kosher Deli

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When a young Bonnie Gershenfeld walked into the Lido Kosher Deli one night 34 years ago, she was on a date with a lawyer but spotted a man wearing a dirty white apron. Two disparate thoughts popped into her head: she thought the guy was a busboy, and she also thought she would marry him.

Gershenfeld was new to Long Beach and decided to go on a date. Her date suggested they go to Lido Kosher Deli for dinner. When they walked into the restaurant, they noticed that staff members were cleaning up and getting ready to close, so Gershenfeld’s date asked the man in a dirty white apron if they could stay and grab a bite. In a polite tone, the man said yes and cleared up a table for them.

She clearly recalls thinking that the man in the dirty apron holding a bus box of dirty dishes was a busboy. However, her gut feeling told her that the busboy was the person that she was going to spend the rest of her life with.

“At that moment, I said in my head… this is the man I’m going to marry,” Gershenfeld said. “I did not know his name, his marital status, did not know anything about him.”

She later realized that the man at the deli was not a busboy, but the owner of the Lido Kosher Deli and his name was Walter Goetz.

Gershenfeld called her parents that night and told them that she had met the man she was going to marry. “Oh that’s wonderful, he’s a lawyer, we could use a lawyer in the family,” one of them said. Gershenfeld told them he was not a lawyer, but was an M.D. They were thrilled. But she told her parents that he was not a doctor, but a meat dealer, who owned a deli in town.

Gershenfeld soon began going to the deli to buy food almost every day in order to get his attention. Goetz remembered the young woman purchased a quarter pound of turkey and other stuff every day. He remembered asking himself, “how much turkey can this lady eat.”

It wasn’t until another a deli employee pointed out to Goetz that, “If you don’t do something about it, I’m going to do something about it.” That gave him the courage to ask her out for coffee, which she gladly accepted.

On their first date, Goetz said they went to The Point View Inn, known today as The Fisherman’s Catch Restaurant in Point Lookout. Instead of bringing flowers or chocolates, Goetz brought a box of food. Gershenfeld said that Goetz felt like he had to reimburse her for all the food she bought while trying to attract his attention.

On that first date, she discovered that Goetz was a smoker and listened to heavy metal music, but she was a fan of Barbara Streisand and Barry Manilow, and a non-smoker.

“We were really opposites, but we clicked,” Goetz said. “ A few years later, I got into the music she liked and she got me to stop smoking, which probably saved my life.”

The couple, who live in Lido Beach, just celebrated 31 years of marriage on January 7. They have two boys together Joseph and Russel along with Goetz’s daughter from a previous marriage, Melissa.

Mrs. Goetz praised Wallie’s — as she refers to him — eyes, calm demeanor, work ethic and smile for their many years of love. While Goetz praised his wife’s work ethic, beauty and love for their children for their strong relationship.

“She is an amazing woman,” Goetz said. “She is all about her children. She is devoted to her children and concentrates on being part of everything they do.”

She works as the Center Manager for EAC’s Long Beach Senior Community Service Center and Goetz is still at the Lido Kosher Deli on East Park Avenue. They both said that they will be working on Valentine’s Day, but Goetz said that he hopes they can have a nice dinner. He also said he still wears a dirty apron, for love’s sake.