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Subway takes a ride through kashrut

Web extra video: JewishJournal.com catches the Subway

by Jay Firestone

October 11, 2007 | 8:00 pm


We all remember the first time Subway went Jewish -- his name was Jared Fogle. Through a program of turkey club sandwiches for lunch and veggie subs for dinner as well as exercise, this overweight Jew's story helped Subway's sales skyrocket.

Well, it seems that the ubiquitous sandwich shop is at it again.

Only this time, it's kosher.

The West Coast's first kosher Subway -- truly the best thing to happen to this religion since payos -- recently opened on Pico Boulevard, right in the heart of "the hood." And with a fleishig (meat) menu, halacha has never tasted so good.

The menu features many of the same items as a typical Subway, but it also includes a few distinctive Jewish selections, like corned beef, pastrami and shawarma. There's no chopped liver or gribonis on the menu, but that shouldn't stop you from ordering a tasty foot-long pastrami for Uncle Moishe or a meatball sub for Zayde.

Jonathan Sedaghat and Sammy Aflalo, owners of this new kosher Subway, decided it was finally time to bring this franchise to the Chosen People.

"We realized that the Jewish community was really restricted by where they could eat, especially in this area," said Sedaghat, adding that a nationally recognized restaurant would give L.A. Jews the quality and affordability they deserved.

The first kosher Subway opened last year in Cleveland, and more have since sprouted up in New York and Kansas City. Cities slated for their own shops include Baltimore; Miami; Teaneck, N.J.; and Great Neck, N.Y. According to Subway, communities in Chicago and Boston have also expressed interest.

Subway headquarters is already quite experienced in handling this wave of kashrut. The company prepared itself by "researching and interviewing rabbis," in addition to developing kosher business templates to assist the franchisees, said Tim Miller, Subway operations specialist.

Miller added that there are even a few non-kosher Subways that are in the process of kashrut conversion, the first of which is opening in Livingston, N.J. this month.

Los Angeles' kosher Subway maintains a Kehilla Kosher supervision and even has a sink for hand washing. Due to high costs associated with establishing and maintaining the kashrut certification, the subs are a tad more expensive than standard Subway fare: a foot-long kosher cold-cut combo goes for $9.19, while its treif counterpart runs $5.09 locally.

The prices are in keeping with surrounding restaurants, and like the area's eateries this Subway is closed for Shabbat, opens one hour after havdalah and stays open until 3 a.m. -- perfect for the kosher partygoers and late-night Torah studiers.

Sedaghat said that the neighborhood has been eating it up since the grand opening.

"We had to close two hours early on Monday because we ran out food," he said.

The kosher Subway is located at 8948 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Visit http://www.glattkoshersubway.com, or call (310) 274-1222.

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