Great Neck, NY – A day after Amos Hayon left the kitchen at Tel Aviv, the Great Neck restaurant has lost its kosher certification from the Vaad Harabonim of Queens. VHQ is a local organization that supervises kosher establishments and ensures that they adhere to all the standards of kashrus, the Jewish dietary laws.
Hayon had been executive chef for about a year when, in October, he bought the restaurant from Michael Ginor, who had opened it in 2008. In 2009, Ginor opened a second restaurant in Great Neck, Lola. According to Ginor, VHQ objected to his involvement in Tel Aviv because Lola is not kosher. Ginor estimates that the clientele at Tel Aviv is about 95 percent kosher.
An employee at VHQ confirmed yesterday that Tel Aviv had indeed lost its certificate, but attempts to get more details today were thwarted by sundown: the Orthodox organization did not respond before the Sabbath observance began.
Ginor said he thought the sale of Tel Aviv to Hayon satisfied VHQ’s concerns.
According to Ginor, the terms of the sale were that Hayon would buy the restaurant over the course of two years, paying monthly installments until the purchase was complete. Should Hayon leave before the sale was complete, the restaurant would revert to the original owner.
When Hayon announced he was leaving a few weeks ago, Ginor said, he began talks with VHQ since there was no other buyer on the horizon. Talks apparently fell through because this morning he received a fax from VHQ revoking its supervision.
Tel Aviv continues to observe all the same kosher and Sabbath laws. The restaurant is closed tonight and will reopen tomorrow evening an hour after sundown, around 6:30 p.m. Ginor said that, for the time being, nothing would change. Over the next few weeks he will consider whether to seek the supervision of another kosher organization.