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Kotel Kosher in Chicago

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chicago maven Jul 19, 2012 12:21 PM

Kotel Kosher in downtown Chicago is expanding their menu. Sometime soon they will start to also sell hot foods and soup that is prepared on-premise, as opposed to pre-packed cold sandwiches from other kosher sources.

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    lenchik RE: chicago maven Jul 19, 2012 12:23 PM

    Can't wait! It has been not worth the trip from the South side for me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lenchik
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      KA2CSH RE: lenchik Jul 19, 2012 03:00 PM

      South Side?? Well, Bartlett Food Court & South Campus Dining Commons Kosher Delis are closed until the new UC school year. Do you frequent either of them?

      1. re: KA2CSH
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        lenchik RE: KA2CSH Jul 20, 2012 06:17 AM

        No, I don't go to U of C. I am in Bridgeport, so might as well just drive on down to Metroklub. Free valet, nice to come to with non-kosher co-workers.

    2. serenarobin RE: chicago maven Jul 19, 2012 01:26 PM

      The packaged sandwiches were fine for this hungry traveler but this is certainly very good news. I look forward to my next trip!

      8 Replies
      1. re: serenarobin
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        Altalena RE: serenarobin Jul 19, 2012 05:51 PM

        I personally was disappointed by the packaged sandwiches but will give them another try if freshly prepared food is available. Is there any further details as to when this will be available?

        1. re: Altalena
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          chicago maven RE: Altalena Jul 20, 2012 06:56 AM

          Possibly as early as some time next week.

          1. re: chicago maven
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            lenchik RE: chicago maven Aug 15, 2012 11:59 AM

            Just came back from Kotel Kosher. They have expanded their menu and no longer offer pre-made sandwiches from Kirshner Cuisine. Now, you can get hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, tuna sandwiches/wraps, etc.

            They did have a couple of sandwiches, wraps and salads in their cooler, however, I opted for made to order items. Got a hot dog (Romanian), and an oriental chicken salad. The hot dog was ok, the salad could have had more vegetables - it was just romanian lettuce, a few slices of red and yellow pepper and sliced chicken with Oriental dressing on the side. For the two items with a small Perrier, Bissli and mints, paid about $15. Not bad.
            Made a suggestion to the owner to also sell French macarons and some other type of french pastries, seeing that this is French Market and all. Response: "Lady, we don't even have kosher macarons in France". Really? Not cool. Asked if they will have French Fries to go with hot dogs. Response: If you can donate $10000 to pay for it, we will buy it". Really? Once again, not cool.
            Overall I will go back when I need to have lunch with co-workers, at least until it starts getting really cold, but this attitude has got to GO.

            1. re: lenchik
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              chicago maven RE: lenchik Aug 15, 2012 01:02 PM

              Very disappointing. So this is just another Chicago kosher stop that assumes that you must eat there under any circumstances. Sad.

              1. re: lenchik
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                koshergourmetmart RE: lenchik Aug 15, 2012 02:53 PM

                no kosher macarons in Paris? There are--Damyel and they are awesome!

                1. re: lenchik
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                  Altalena RE: lenchik Aug 15, 2012 05:50 PM

                  When a business provides an extremely poor experience to one customer they don't just lose the business of that one customer as that customer will be motivated to share their story of extremely poor service. This damage to a businesses' reputation is not easily undone.
                  There is no excuse for a business to fail to treat its customers with the dignity and respect that all people deserve.
                  I had previously posted that I planned on giving Kotel Kosher another chance with the improved menu but I am reconsidering this sentiment.

                  1. re: lenchik
                    serenarobin RE: lenchik Aug 15, 2012 06:02 PM

                    lenchik, your post reminds me how I've been to more than one kosher establishment, including the kosher grocery in my home town, where the proprietor complained incessantly about how bad business was and how difficult it is to make a profit in kosher food. We know it's not easy, and there are many obstacles to success...but we want to enjoy our food, and, no offense, really don't want to hear about it...

                    1. re: serenarobin
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                      lenchik RE: serenarobin Aug 16, 2012 06:48 AM

                      By the way, I just realized that I the $10000 they were referring to was not for buying french fries as my post may imply but for the hood, which is necessary to have to prepare them.

                      Also, I did tell the owner that people are posting reviews of the establishment online, and his response was "I don't have to read what people write online, I am too busy for that" and "If I listened to everyone's suggestions, I would get nothing done". I do have to say that afterwards he DID calm down and gave me free mints:)

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              chicago maven RE: chicago maven Nov 12, 2012 01:28 PM

              They have officially closed. That didn't take long.

              13 Replies
              1. re: chicago maven
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                ferret RE: chicago maven Nov 12, 2012 02:45 PM

                It's a cruel market (not the French Market, the kosher market).

                1. re: chicago maven
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                  MiriamRochel RE: chicago maven Nov 12, 2012 02:45 PM

                  I didn't even know about this place and it sounds like it was just as well!

                  1. re: MiriamRochel
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                    lenchik RE: MiriamRochel Nov 13, 2012 07:04 AM

                    Can't say I am upset. It was not worth the schlep for me. It is obvious that it is possible to have a kosher eating establishment that is worth the trip because MetroKlub is doing just fine. Here is to hoping for more options downtown just for variety's sake:)

                    1. re: lenchik
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                      ferret RE: lenchik Nov 13, 2012 08:27 AM

                      The problem is more likely that having 1 establishment in the area is sustainable but 2 are not. Simple as that.

                      1. re: ferret
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                        Altalena RE: ferret Nov 13, 2012 06:46 PM

                        Ferret, you are assuming that these establishments are mediocre to the point that only those keeping kosher would bother frequenting them. If the establishment was up to par and able to attract a broader audience there is not such a low limit.

                        1. re: Altalena
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                          ferret RE: Altalena Nov 14, 2012 12:17 AM

                          Unfortunately "Kosher" extracts a pricing premium over the competition that makes it less appealing in the first instance, so it needs to differentiate itself either in selection or quality.* Hard to do.

                          *The Kosher Subway is the classic example, you aren't going to compete against the non-Kosher ones on pricing and the Kosher community eventually tires of the novelty.

                          1. re: ferret
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                            Altalena RE: ferret Nov 14, 2012 04:43 AM

                            Kosher Indian vegetarian restaurants are available in other cities without any noticeable price difference. Such cities as Cincinnati, St Louis and Dallas have them. Why not Chicago?

                            1. re: Altalena
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                              lenchik RE: Altalena Nov 14, 2012 07:15 AM

                              Oh my, if there was a kosher Indian restaurant, I would LIVE there! I really hope that someone down Devon Avenue would consider an establishment of that nature...

                              1. re: lenchik
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                                KA2CSH RE: lenchik Nov 14, 2012 07:38 AM

                                There is a restaurant, Mysore Woodlands (http://www.mysorewoodlands.info/ ), that was kosher certified by a Conservative rabbi. I don't believe that it's still under any certification. The reason that the cRc won't certify the restaurant is that they're open on Shabbos, cooking food. I asked them then why is Dunkin' Donuts open on Shabbos, no? I believe my answer was that DD was only re-heating cooked-already food. Correct me if I'm wrong, anyone, please. This restaurant ranked 11th in over 100+ restaurants in the West Ridge area, which includes WRP. There's a link to an older URL which mentions that it was at one time under "Kosher Certification". Search for the word "kosher" in this article:
                                http://www.yogachicago.com/jan05/rest...
                                It's towards the end of the restaurant review article.

                                1. re: KA2CSH
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                                  chicago maven RE: KA2CSH Nov 14, 2012 12:15 PM

                                  yes, it would be nice, but it's not a simple as you make it sound. There are several differences between the Dunkin Donuts and the Indian restaurants on Devon. By them cooking, there is a need for a mashgiach to be present all of the time, even on Shabbos, to check for bugs, ingredients and there is also an issue of Bishul Akum. None of these issues apply to DD.
                                  Since they are not able to hire a mashgiach to be there while they are open on Shabbos, it is basically a dead issue.

                                  1. re: chicago maven
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                                    Altalena RE: chicago maven Nov 14, 2012 07:08 PM

                                    The restaurants I mentioned previously do not have a mashgiach tmidi they rely on Yotzei v nichnas. All the ingredients can be found kosher at little to no additional costs as such restaurants generally make their own paneer cheese in house.
                                    Also Bishul Yisrael can be achieved by a pilot light that is lighted by a Shomer Shabbat among other potential solutions.
                                    So it is not a dead issue as these restaurants exist outside of Chicago and I have eaten at them. If such a restaurant were to become kosher in Chicago they may need to find an alternative to the CRC though.

                                    1. re: Altalena
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                                      chicago maven RE: Altalena Nov 15, 2012 08:12 AM

                                      It all depends on your standards and the standards of the certifying agency. I know that the CRC is very strict with this issue. For example, the bishul issue is not as simple as you say. I don't see any reason to compromise on standards just for the sake of letting people eat at an Indian restaurant.
                                      There was an Indian restaurant that recently tried to go kosher under a conservative certification, but very few that kept kosher, especially the orthodox, ate there.

                  2. re: chicago maven
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                    KA2CSH RE: chicago maven Nov 13, 2012 08:58 AM

                    Maybe the person(s) that were laid off due to Kotel Kosher closing can apply for a job at Hungarian Kosher:

                    http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/fbh...

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