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New campus kosher deli opens its doors

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 09:12

Tufts’ first kosher deli, originally slated  for completion last spring, opened yesterday at 11 a.m. in the Jumbo Express storage space near the Mayer Campus Center.

Dining Services last fall announced plans for the take-out eatery, which offers traditional New York-style deli foods for lunch and dinner. 

Ashley Haldane, who manages the kosher program at Tufts, said the deli represents a step toward the expansion of kosher options for students who practice the dietary restriction. Students who keep kosher could previously only receive kosher meals at Tufts Hillel on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

“Tufts has been looking to expand the kosher program for a while, and I know they’re eventually looking into building a building that’ll have a larger kosher dining variety — more like a dining hall,” Haldane said. 

The menu currently contains lunch sandwiches, including pastrami and portabella mushroom, that can be served with a cold side, like potato salad, cole slaw or macaroni salad, Haldane said. During dinner, students can choose to receive a hot side dish, such as potato latkes, potato knishes, kugal or baked beans, with their sandwich. All meals come with half-sour pickle spears. 

“Our dinner menu is a little bit more unique and detailed than our lunch menu because we have different types of slaws and tapenade and purées that we put on top of our sandwiches, since we can’t have any dairy and cheese — anything like that,” Haldane said. “Eventually we want to get into doing more hot dinner entree items, but for now we’re going to stick to the traditional deli.”

Rabbi Avraham Kelman, who was present at the opening, will serve as the mashgiach, providing kosher supervision and opening and closing the deli each day. 

“I just have to make sure that everything that comes in, particularly the meat, is [of] the highest standard,” he said.

All food sold at the deli is glatt kosher, adhering to the strictest standards of kosher products, Kelman explained. 

“We have lots of people here, and we want to be able to satisfy the most demanding kashrus taste,” he said. 

The deli will be open this week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, for lunch options, according to Haldane. For the next two weeks before winter break, the eatery will be open between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The deli will next semester assume regular hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. 

Haldane noted that students can currently pay with cash and JumboCash, but next semester students will also be able to pay with credit cards or use meal swipes. 

The deli held a preliminary opening for a few hours last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for lunch. During that time, deli workers received positive feedback, Haldane said. 

“Everybody’s loved it,” she said. “I had one student who came three times in one day, and we were only open for three hours. Everybody seems to be really happy with everything [and] the quality of the meat.”

Sophomore Jason Brillon, who visited the deli yesterday, expressed enthusiasm about the new dining option on campus. 

“It’s something that’s been in the works for a while, and it’s nice to see that there’s actually a place on campus now where students can get kosher meat if they want it,” he said. 

Although Haldane said that the limited space can be inconvenient, Kelman noted that the kitchen is state-of-the-art. 

“This kitchen is a dream,” Kelman said. “Half the caterers in town would love to have a kitchen like this, even though it’s small.”

Brillon believes the new deli could serve as a unifying dining place, not just amongst students who keep kosher, but for the entire campus. 

“There was sort of a degree of separation between people who wanted to be able to eat kosher meat and the rest of the campus,” he said. “This provides an option where everybody, regardless of their limitations on what they can eat, can eat together.”

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