October 20, 2014

Kosher Fast Food Chain Closes its Last Store

BROOKLYN — To fans of Kosher Delight, the end came quickly and unexpectedly but to many in the kosher food industry, the closing of Kosher Delight on Avenue J was not unexpected. When the Huberfeld family first opened Kosher Delight (which became affectionately known as KD by its fans), the vision was to open a chain of fast food stores that would mimic the large chains like McDonald’s and Burger King but adhere to the highest standards of kashrus. Mr. Huberfeld emphasized cleanliness and service as well as good food in a menu that offered a multi-faceted cuisine ranging from Chinese to American. With two restaurants in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn, KD was well on its way to becoming the first kosher fast food chain.

KD survived attempts by Nathan’s and Subway’s to cut into their share when these national chains opened glatt kosher restaurants in Jewish neighborhoods. In the case of Flatbush, a Subway franchise opened right next door but still KD survived. But soaring rents in Manhattan and with the younger Huberfeld generation successfully moving into other areas, the elder Huberfelds closed their flagship Manhattan store and then the Boro Park store. It was no secret that the owners actively sought to sell the remaining Flatbush store but somehow they never found the right suitor. With mounting costs and no plan for succession by the younger generation, the restaurant’s days were numbered, albeit that a Sukkah was built last week. For some of the yeshiva students for whom a late night dinner at KD was part of life, the chain will be missed. Perhaps of greater significance is that despite extraordinary growth in recent years, the kosher community could not sustain a fast food chain like KD.