The Jew And The Carrot

Is Holy Schnitzel Lower East Side's Kosher Savior?

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

Kosher shops and restaurants once dotted the streets of the Lower East Side. Now, a small campaign is working to bring a kosher restaurant back to the neighborhood. Photo: Wikicommons

A front-runner has emerged in the fight to replace Noah’s Ark Deli, the last full-service kosher restaurant on the Lower East Side.

As the Forward reported last month, an online petition urging a kosher tenant for the Noah’s Ark space has collected more than 1,000 signatures. Now, Holy Schnitzel, a kosher mini-chain run by a pair of siblings and a former concert promoter, is lobbying the board of the building that owns the space to let it open its fourth location in the space.

Ofeer Benatalba, 31, and Sivan Benatalba-Afia, 24, founded the restaurants with Bill Spector, a veteran Manhattan scenester who lives in the East Village. The team has enlisted heavy-hitters like New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to plead their case. Seward Park Co-op officials must still decide whether the Lower East Side, with an ever-shrinking Orthodox population, wants or needs a kosher restaurant.

“We can’t speak for our opponents,” Spector told the Forward. “But as the Lower East Side is a cultural institution that was founded on an immigrant settlement, we believe that incorporating history along with nostalgia…will enhance the location [more than] any other option on the table.”

The group envisions an eatery “in the vein of Schmulka Bernstein and Ratner’s, as well as Sammy’s Roumanian Steak House,” Spector said. Retro appeal would draw Jewish and non-Jewish diners, Spector contended; and ambitious food would help Holy Schnitzel compete with other Lower East Side establishments, not just kosher joints.

“We intend to create a destination location that will bring people, Jewish-observant, non-observant as well as non Jews alike,” he said. “We will also draw locals…Just as Nom Wah Tea Parlour did a spruce up of their location and brought in a new generation takeover, they were able to bring in new foodies and hipsters while keeping their Chinese base.”

Spector declined to share what Holy Schnitzel’s menu might feature. “We are currently working on our menu with multiple chefs and would prefer not to disclose our dishes until we have perfected them.”

He and his partners are now watching and waiting.

The board, which is set to vote on March 11, did not return requests for comment.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: kosher lower east side, noah's ark deli

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.