Major Changes in NYC Kosher Scene: Eateries Close & Open

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Several notable changes have shaken up the kosher scene in New York City over the past couple of weeks, as some kosher eateries have closed while others are preparing to open and offer refreshingly new dining experiences.

In midtown Manhattan, the Clubhouse Café – an upscale glatt kosher restaurant on West 46th Street that was winning generally rave reviews for both the quality of its food and its hip, music-infused ambience – announced its closing on May 24. In a press release, the management explained that the building it has been occupying and the adjacent properties have been purchased for a Times Square renovation development project beginning later this year. As a result, the Clubhouse proprietors related, its lease has been terminated, requiring the restaurant to close immediately and seek a new location elsewhere.

“We will rebuild and reopen as soon as possible,” the press release further noted. “We have wonderful fans and appreciate the support our clients have given us over these past four years. We know that our menu selections have become favorites, if not staples to some.” The owners revealed that – as a result of the closing – its “sister” restaurant Le Marais will expand its menu to include a broader selection of burgers. “We expect to have a new location shortly for Clubhouse to reopen quickly,” they said.

Separately, observant Jews who work in or near the Empire State Building were sorry to discover that Rosa’s Pizza & Pasta, which is located within the landmark structure, has lost its kosher certification. Comments from patrons on the Internet had indicated that the pizza at Rosa’s was generally considered a cut above the usual kosher pizza offered around town. Unfortunately, Rosa’s fans will now have to look elsewhere for their kosher pizza “fix.” Despite several attempts, the Jewish Voice was unable to reach the owner of Rosa’s Pizza to learn the reason for the termination of its kosher status.

Back in the high-end scene, the good news is that Jezebel – a much-buzzed about gourmet glatt kosher restaurant – is set to open in June in the trendy SoHo district. Jezebel will be unique because it will combine strict kosher standards with more exotic fare in a blatant attempt to attract a hip clientele. In just a hint of the somewhat offbeat atmosphere being planned, the main door’s handle will actually be a gold-plated shofar, and the walls will feature artworks that evoke classic portraits but substitute different characters, such as – believe it – Woody Allen in a reworking of “The Last Supper.” 34-year-old Menachem Senderowicz, one of the forthcoming restaurant’s two owners, says he expects Jezebel to raise the bar of kosher food service. “We think we can take it up more than two notches and bring it to a whole new level,” he enthused. His partner, 32-year-old Henry Stimler, says the two entrepreneurs “want to become the kings of kosher.”

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