These Kosher NYC Restaurants Have Closed Permanently Since March

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A view of Abigail's in NYC (Source: Abigail's website)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Many New York City restaurants are closing for good as their owners are unable to pay rent during the state’s shutdown, which has now gone on for more than eight weeks.

In addition to the city’s high rents, eateries catering to observant Jews have to shoulder additional costs. Kosher products, especially meat, is pricier than nonkosher counterparts. Kosher certification can cost more than $1,000 a month and many eateries hire full-time kosher supervisors. Most kosher restaurants are also closed on Shabbat, which means they lose a crucial weekend day of profit.

So it’s not a surprise that several kosher restaurants in New York have closed permanently since March.

Abigael’s, a kosher steakhouse in Times Square, announced on Monday that it would not reopen. Co-owner Jeff Nathan said he had already decided prior to the pandemic that he would close in December, since his landlord asked for more than double his current rent to renew his lease.

After being forced to shut his doors due to the coronavirus, Nathan realized that it would not be worth it to reopen the restaurant for just a few months just to close again.

“I planned on closing anyway,” Nathan said. “The only thing the virus did is speed it up.”

Nathan is teaming with Park East Kosher, a meat shop on the Upper East Side, to continue his catering business. He’s also keeping his stand in Madison Square Garden — for whenever events resume there — that offers kosher sandwiches and hot dogs.

Meanwhile, the kosher deli Fine & Schapiro on the Upper West Side was reported to have closed permanently in March, a few days before New York’s shutdown started.

“Business was slow. Because of their age and bad health, they decided to close,” building manager Joe Kizner told the West Side Rag at the time about the deli’s owners.

The upscale Wolf & Lamb Steakhouse announced last month that it would not be reopening its Brooklyn location.

“Sadly we were forced to close our doors of our Brooklyn location due to stresses related to COVID-19,” co-owner Zalman Wuensch said.

The restaurant has been operating in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn since 2012. Wuensch is planning to reopen the steakhouse’s location in Midtown Manhattan and hopes to find a new location in Brooklyn in the coming years.

“We had a lot of great experiences there, a lot of celebrations, family celebrating milestones, so that part is sad,” Wuensch said.

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22 COMMENTS

    • I am frum and I resent the terms used. I have been to Italy, north and south and they are wonderful people. I have been in a minyan in the center hallway of a terminal and nobody complained except one old couple that I spoke to and they only spoke Hebrew.

  1. B. H. I spoke to hatzlaha member here in lakewood, Corona has been gone from us for 2 weeks already, kmat no Corona at all in our town

  2. Yup.
    Businesses gone forever, many jobs the same.People losing their savings.
    But the Democrats continue Leninist rule and leftie and program conscious righty Jews lining up by the droves to vote Democrat.
    Insane.

      • At this point, many lives are being lost to Suicide, domestic abuse, child abuse, drugs, other health issues not corona related but not being treated, elective surgeries not being done etc; apart from the poverty due to no jobs. Many businesses are closing for good. All the people who worked at the above establishments (chefs, cooks, floor staff, waiter etc) apart from the business owners will have nothing to go back to.
        It is time to lift the shutdown and get back to work.

  3. I Years ago, I ate at two very good kosher restaurants near Ground Zero (World Trade Center). One was packed to the gills. The other one had really delicious pastrami. I believe the latter establishment is no longer there.

  4. The food business and the kosher business have several factors you need to understand.
    A meal in Manhattan is a real estate transaction. Your meal is basically paying a bit of rent for a table in Manhattan as well as the share of the kitchen also in Manhattan.
    Kosher eateries sometimes can make a go of it even closing for Shaboss because they have good business Sunday and sometimes Saturday night with people driving in while other eateries in the area are not busy.

  5. Ok, I’m going to sit shiva for these joints…They employ illegals. They are as kosher as pigs feet. They encourage people to eat garbage. Prepare your foods at home. If you cant cook, learn to cook.

    Be healthy not stupid.

  6. Think about all the money people will save without eating out ? Who says we need all these restaurants ? What is wrong with home food? We have become so meshukeh in gashmiys. Prime, aged , reserved, feehhh. Who needs it ? Let them all close. Good old home fashioned gulash is sufficient and healthier

  7. It’s out of hand open up the city so people can pay their rent mortgages and have a livelihood enough is enough this has gone on way to long it’s time for people to protest and put an end to this terrible management of ny city

  8. “Meanwhile, the kosher deli Fine & Schapiro on the Upper West Side was reported to have closed permanently in March, a few days before New York’s shutdown started.”

    BH they were open on shabbos for years, and many Jews who otherwise kept kosher were nichshal in eating there. Though at least their waiters were sometimes honest, when someone from England (who didn’t understand American Kashrus) I know ate there (and saw the ma$hgiach was a musmach from a major Yeshiva in Brooklyn) a waiter told them they probably don’t want to eat there

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