In a further sign that kosher continues to be a fast-growing business throughout the country, many new kosher enterprises have recently made their way to smaller cities and lesser-known “kosher havens” across the US.
In Brookline, Massachusetts kosher consumers won’t have to schlep to Boston anymore for quality kosher meat, thanks to Grape Leave Gourmet Glatt. The man behind the initiative, former businessman Morris Naggar, saw the need for a local source for glatt kosher meat in his community. Despite having no experience in the food business, Naggar is using his business acumen to open the first glatt kosher butchering shop in the neighborhood in five years. Besides for meat, prepared dishes, and cold cuts, the store will also carry organic and upscale imported foods, items that are difficult to find locally, at least in kosher versions.
In Columbus, Ohio, those craving frozen yogurt now have a self-serve shop, Cuzzins Yogurt, to patronize and to choose from 50 flavor variations, including coconut, Hawaiian pineapple, and tart pomegranate raspberry. The yogurt, which comes in fat-free and sugar-free varieties, is gluten-free and certified kosher by the OU.
In Stamford, Connecticut, Navaratna Vegetarian Indian Restaurant recently went kosher, thanks to the combined efforts of several community rabbis representing the Vaad Haskashrut of Fairfield County. Due to the vegetarian nature of the restaurant’s menu, koshering the equipment and future supervision is a relatively simple process. The kosher certification is welcome news to Stamford’s sizeable Orthodox Jewish community, which, despite several Orthodox shuls, a nearby Jewish day school, and a JCC, has relatively few kosher options to choose from.
Vaad Hakashrus representative Rabbi Daniel Cohen, of Congregation Agudath Sholom, told Kosher Today: “The restaurant itself was interested in obtaining kosher certification, as it has worked with a kosher caterer previously and felt that going kosher was a wise business decision. They were very committed to working with the rabbis to ensure complete kashrus. There was also a lot of support among kosher consumers in the area.”
Rabbi Cohen said the eatery went kosher a few days after Tisha B’Av, and there already has been a significant increase in business. He pointed to the increased presence of yom tov programs in Stamford-area hotels and Jewish commuters to Stamford who keep kosher as factors that have helped drive the increase, besides Stamford’s growing Orthodox community.
Kosher markets in Arizona just received shipment of the first batch of kosher cheese and cheese curds from Cheese of the Desert, the new kosher label of Arizona Cheese Co. Initial offerings include cheddar cheese curds, cheddar cheese and pizza cheese and more versions are hoped for, if consumer response is good enough. The kosher and cholov yisrael cheese products are under the supervision of Rabbis Dan Hayman and Dovid Cohen, local rabbis for Kehilla Kosher.
On West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, there is a new organic and healthy deli, Savyon, serving soups, salads, paninis, and a variety of vegetarian dishes, such as quinoa cakes. The popular LA thoroughfare is home to a number of kosher grocery stores and restaurants. And colleges are also branching out to explore kosher options. The University of Colorado in Boulder’s new student dining area now offers a kosher eatery with a meat, vegetarian, and vegan-filled menu, due to the efforts of the campus Chabad rabbi, Yisroel Wilhelm. The new café, called “Kosher,” is run by chef Eddie Shapiro, who also serves as the mashgiach, and who operates from a completely kosher kitchen. Rabbi Wilhelm, who was working on this new venture for years, told Boulder Jewish News that two students will be attending the university this fall thanks to the new kosher option on campus.