Beefing Up Cleveland’s Kosher Food Scene


oren-gahanianThe following report by Arelen Fine appear in the Cleveland Jewish News: 

When Chava Roth and her family moved to Beachwood from Chicago two years ago, she was delightedwith the outreach efforts and warmth of the Jewish community.

But as to the variety of kosher restaurants, “let me just say, I’m not that impressed,” Roth says. The informal places to take kids are okay, she maintains. “But this city could benefit from more sophisticated and diverse restaurants.”

In Chicago, Roth and her family had their choice of kosher steakhouses, brick oven pizza and pasta parlors, ’50s diners, and vegetarian, Mexican, Chinese and Thai cuisine. “There is no comparison between Cleveland and Chicago’s kosher restaurant scene, and as far as New York’s, that’s a whole other matzah ball,” she says.

Hildee Weiss joins other members of the Orthodox community who lament the lack of a good kosher Asian restaurant in Cleveland. She is convinced the community would support a kosher Chinese or Thai take-out and/or dine-in restaurant.

Weiss knows if she travels to other cities with sizeable Jewish populations, she can find a kosher sushi bar in an instant. Her husband Gary has an app on his phone that tells him where kosher restaurants are located in any city in the world.

Soon Weiss’s phone app will list another kosher restaurant in the Cleveland area. Cedar-Green Issi’s, a milchig (dairy) restaurant, has opened Sababa Cuisine, a fleshig (meat) restaurant a few doors away from Jerusalem Grill, also a fleshig restaurant.

“This is a classy, white tablecloth restaurant,” says Issi’s manager Natan Cohen. “We offer an elegant upscale establishment with steaks, lamb and chicken dishes, served by neatly dressed waiters in dark pressed pants and white shirts.”

Jerusalem Grill owner Oren Gahanian is hoping the Jewish community will now support two neighboring fleshig restaurants.

People keep saying they want more kosher restaurants, but will they go out to eat more often if they have more choices?” Gahanian asks. To stay competitive, there will be new soups and salads on the Jerusalem Grill menu.

The kosher Subway at the JCC attracts people of all ages, both JCC members and walk-ins.

“It’s always a special treat to eat kosher food out,” says Beachwood resident Hannah Lewis, 36, as she splits a tuna sub with her 5-year-old daughter Rachel at the Subway shop. “We have a few kid-friendly restaurants, but I’d like to see more upscale choices for special splurges or to take out-of-town guests.”

Gourmet cook Yael Cohen, whose family ran and operated the Sabra Restaurant on Taylor Road from 1968-78, knows kosher restaurants are not just for Jewish customers. Sabra’s customers included Muslims, who enjoyed the restaurant’s Middle Eastern cuisine.

“In those days, not much food was imported from the Middle East,” she explain. “Muslims who followed halal (dietary laws) were looking for foods they could eat at restaurants that accommodated their dietary requirements.”

As to Cleveland’s current kosher restaurant scene? “We definitely need more attractive choices, and the few kosher restaurants could use a facelift,” says Cohen, who spends part of each year in Israel. “I usually won’t go to a dairy restaurant in Cleveland unless I’m desperate for a falafel.”

Rabbi Naphtali Burnstein of Young Israel diplomatically sums up the kosher restaurant scene: “There’s always room for more.”

{Cleveland Jewish News/ Newscenter}


  1. I believe that there is a beaudiful resturant KINERET, and it just got a facelift, perhaps u shall try it out, salads, soups, ice cream, the works!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. there was a meat restaurant that closed down called abbas because they were losing money no one in Cleveland goes out to eat

  3. “In Chicago, Roth and her family had their choice of kosher steakhouses, brick oven pizza and pasta parlors, ’50s diners, and vegetarian, Mexican, Chinese and Thai cuisine.”

    Ms. Roth greatly overexagerates the restaurant scene in Chicago. The Mexican and Thai places are gone. The Chinese is no longer here, although there is another Chinese place that took their place, but is only a take out. The steakhouse and 50s diner are one and the same. One operation, one kitchen, (yes, two names) just a wall separating the eating rooms.

  4. I was just in Kinneret this week. The food there is amazing. It’s been beutifully remodeled and its a great place to bring your family. Has Yael Cohen been in there since 1978?!

  5. i love kinneret! the service there is amazing. everything is ready nd on the go! they truly treat their customers on top priority…in addition, they remodeled and the place is totaly STUNNING!kinneret makes cleveland!

  6. Ok Kinneret is like TOTALLY the most amazing pizza resteraunt in Cleveland.Try the fried cauliflower!!!!!!!!!The pizza,the calzones, panini’s,the eggplant,the soups,the salad bar,the fried fish.Whoever is making comments about what it was like in 1978 needs to step back into the times it’s 2010.They remodeled it’s clean,refreshing and a great place to take your family.

  7. Clevelanders should appreciate what they have. If not, maybe one day there will not be any kosher establishments to eat in.

  8. Let us be grateful to have restaurants both meat and dairy that are strictly kosher. So far all eating places are quite good. There is no need to dwell in the past.

  9. I don’t know why people are taking this so personally, fact is it would be nice to have a up scale restaurant in Cleveland as well…

  10. Cleveland rocks the house. Everything from Bread to Water and in between. I think they even have kosher Coke and Pepsi. Rock on Cleveland!!!