Eyal Shani’s Fast-Casual Restaurant in Times Square Goes Kosher

Miznon, the fast-casual restaurant chain from Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani, is turning its Times Square location in New York City kosher. The pita-focused eatery, which opened two and a half months ago, has been serving a kosher-style menu since its inception. The meat served at this location is certified glatt kosher, and there are no dairy products on the menu. However, on January 21, the kitchen will undergo a thorough cleaning and preparation according to kosher guidelines. A certificate of kashrut from Rabbi Aaron Mehlman of National Kosher Supervision is expected to be issued that week. This will be Shani’s second kosher establishment in New York City, with the first one, Malka, opening on the Upper West Side in November 2023.

The decision to turn another Shani restaurant in New York into a kosher eatery was both ideological and pragmatic. Mika Ziv, CEO of Good People Group, Shani’s global hospitality brand, stated that they always knew there was a need and desire for people to eat their food, but they didn’t fully understand the extent of it. The opening of Malka received a warm welcome from New Yorkers, with people asking about lunch, delivery, and catering. Ziv expressed excitement about the positive response and stated that there are no compromises in the kosher menu. She described the kosher Miznon location as a “happy place” in these trying times.

Many kosher-keeping foodies in New York, like Jerry Richter, a high school history teacher from West Hempstead, Long Island, are thrilled about the news. Richter, who dined at Malka, shared the news with the Facebook group Great Kosher Restaurant Foodies, which has over 101,000 members. The response to his post was overwhelming, with many expressing excitement about being able to access Miznon’s menu while keeping kosher.

Eyal Shani, the Israeli chef behind Miznon, does not personally keep kosher. However, he opened Malka in Tel Aviv five years ago because he saw that kosher consumers were craving his food. Shani expressed his desire to make his food accessible to all members of his nation. Currently, Shani operates two kosher-certified restaurants in Israel and three non-certified kosher Miznon locations in Paris.

The decision to turn the Times Square Miznon into a kosher restaurant was influenced by its central location, close to areas frequented by observant Jews. Mika Ziv mentioned that they had considered making the restaurant kosher from the beginning but decided to test the waters with Malka first. She hopes that customers who have been eating at the Times Square location will continue to do so, as the prices for the food under rabbinic supervision will only experience a slight increase.

The decision to obtain kosher certification for the Miznon location in Times Square has gained added importance since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas. Mika Ziv believes that people have become more open and connected to their roots, making it essential to offer a kosher option. She emphasized the inclusivity of their restaurants, where Israelis and Jews can come together, and stated that approaching kosher restaurants is not complicated, especially since they already make an effort to accommodate various dietary preferences.

Overall, the addition of kosher certification to Miznon’s Times Square location is expected to be well-received by the kosher-keeping community in New York City. The restaurant’s emphasis on inclusivity and its reputation for delicious food make it an exciting addition to the kosher dining scene in the city.

Original Story at www.jta.org – 2024-01-09 23:30:04

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