June 22, 2012

Not Every Kosher Restaurant Closes for the Wrong Reasons

I remember having lunch at Kosher Delight in the late ‘80’s when in walked an Orthodox Jewish family from Antwerp, Belgium. The couple with children ranging from 6 to 16 was visiting New York and could not “believe that there was such a place in the middle of Manhattan.”

A kosher restaurant in the middle of Manhattan is certainly not an aberration, but the menu and fare as well as the service was. I found it quite astonishing that the kosher pundits immediately blamed the decline of the food and even health violations as reasons for the restaurant’s closure on June 17th, which comes just four months after its Boor Park store. The Avenue J store in Flatbush remains open.

Now for the facts. Kosher Delight was launched by the Huberfeld family in 1979 with its first store on Avenue J. In 1981 a second store opened in Borough Park, and in 1984, the Huberfelds opened the Manhattan store. But the Huberfeld children expanded their horizons well beyond the restaurant business and Murray, the restaurant CEO became a noted businessman and philanthropist.

As happens so often in business, even the best run businesses ultimately face demise without a clear line of succession. Even if the restaurant in Manhattan was not up to everyone’s standard, had the succession issue been dealt with, everything else was fixable, including an expensive lease. Hopefully, they will figure out a way to keep the Flatbush store going.