Mar 27, 2023 - Food and Drink

Loss of kosher pizza shop leaves Seattle with slimmer pickings

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

What's an observant Jew in Seattle to do when the region's only kosher pizza shop stops keeping kosher?

Joke a little and grieve a lot, Shmuel Tennenhaus, a member of the Orthodox Jewish community and host of a Jewish comedy podcast, told Axios.

  • "For the Jewish community, the closing of the only kosher pizza shop is equivalent to the feeling the Seattle community at large would experience if Microsoft/Amazon/Starbucks PLUS the 520 & 405 highways all shut down for good on the same day, " he said.

Driving the news: Island Crust Cafe on Mercer Island announced on Facebook this month that they would no longer be preparing their food under rabbinic supervision.

Why it matters: In a region with already extremely limited dining out options for people who keep kosher, the loss of Island Crust — and the pandemic closure of Bamboo Garden Vegetarian Cuisine — has made for very slim pickings indeed.

The big picture: Velvil Rosler, another member of the Orthodox Jewish community, told Axios that when he moved to Washington from Toronto, a city with "a massive Jewish population and more kosher eateries than one could count," it was a shock.

  • While Seattle has a "beautiful Jewish community," he said, it has always struggled with kosher food options.
  • The issue, he believes, lies in the fact that the Jewish community is spread across so many different neighborhoods.

Details: Va'ad HaRabanim of Greater Seattle is the only agency that certifies restaurants as kosher in Seattle, according to Va'ad's Rabbi Moshe Kletenik.

According to Va'ad's portfolio, the area now has only three kosher-certified caterers and four restaurants, one of which is the Krispy Kreme on First Avenue. The others are:


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