Izzy’s Corned Beef in Cincinnati has always been known for sassy service. If you’re in line, for example, the waitresses are known to shout "C’mon–HOW MANY?"
But when Izzy himself was still alive, a trip to the original location was an adventure in intimidation. Two memorable moments from my childhood, when I’d lunch there with my mother:
1. You can now get swiss on your corned beef or pastrami, but when Izzy was alive, Izzy’s was KOSHER–no mixing of dairy and meat. Once, a gentleman hazarded to ask Izzy to provide cheese for his pastrami, and Izzy exploded: "Son of a *#**#*, bastard," etc., etc. When the gentleman undertook to give Izzy a "customer-is-always-right" lecture, Izzy chased him out of the restaurant–wielding his cleaver.
2. The old Izzy’s was a set of communal long tables, served on an honor system; you told the cashier–occasionally Izzy himself–what you ate, and then you’d pay. Mom and I ate next to two business types who both had the same thing: Corned beef sandwiches, potato pancakes, cream soda. They went to pay; Izzy rung them up, but he charged the second gentleman 25 cents more. When the customer dared question him, Izzy replied, "You took more pickles and sauerkraut than he did. I saw you." The gentleman attempted to explain to the proprietor (big mistake) that such items were in crocks on the tables so you could eat your fill. Izzy exploded: "WHAT? YOU THINK I’M RUNNIN’ A CHARITY OR SOMETHING?"