July 27, 2009

RalphÕs Grocery Brings New Meaning to Òthe Kosher SectionÓ in San Diego

San Diego…by Ellie Appleson, Features Editor…It is a “kosher section” that even many large supermarkets that cater to kosher consumers in big cities do not offer. After three years of research and planning, Ralph’s Supermarket implemented their plans to offer kosher in a way that the Jewish community could only have dreamed of. As one of Kroger Company’s establishments, Ralph’s has been upgrading its kosher sections in many of its stores. “Our objective was to create a complete, kosher grocery within one of our supermarkets,” explains Steve Mione, Senior Director Service Deli and one of the instrumental planners of Ralph’s new venture. Complete with a kosher bakery, fresh meat cutting room, sushi, rotisserie and grill, Ralph’s did just that. In their beautifully renovated La Jolla site, Ralph’s staff put endless amounts of effort into educating themselves on the laws of kashrus and even created a kosher kitchen that Mashgiach Rabbi Zack Plotzker says “could not have been put together more effectively.” In order to ensure their kashrus was up to par for all of their clientele, Ralph’s partnered with both the Rabbinical Council of California as well as the Vaad Harabbonim, in addition to having a mashgiach on the premises at all times.

The kosher section officially opened on July 14th with a special ceremony for the Jewish community. “I don’t have to cook again!” an elated woman uttered as she shook her head in disbelief walking the aisles with the large selection of kosher foods. Even Ralph’s vendors were blown away by the amount of thought and precision that had gone into the kosher counters. “The fact that they were able to achieve what they did in this economy is a truly impressive accomplishment,” a vendor for Laromme bakery products said with respect. Although San Diego has a sizeable Jewish community, there hasn’t been much available there in the way of kosher food. Most San Diegans had to make regular trips to Los Angeles to stock up on products that aren’t carried by the local kosher groceries, but those days have come to an end. Rabbi Plotzker believes that this will not only simplify shopping for the San Diego kosher community, but perhaps Ralph’s new kosher food facility will bring more frum families to the San Diego area as well. Without a doubt, Ralph’s has changed the face of kosher food and may have a profound impact on the Jewish community itself.