Ecuador opens only kosher restaurant


(JTA) — A kosher fast-food restaurant believed to be the only one of its kind in Ecuador has opened in its largest city.

Kosher Pita Grill serves Middle Eastern-style food in Guayquil, a coastal city with nearly 30 Jewish families.

“We Jews did not have a place to eat. So I have persuaded the local Jewish community leaders” to open the restaurant, Israeli businessman Ofir Belaishe told the Diario Judio news portal.

Belaishe had been offering shwarma at night to local kashrut-observant Jewish friends since he moved to Guayquil four years ago.

Following the opening of the restaurant one month ago under supervision of the local Chabad rabbi, the Israeli owner has decided to expand the target audience, although it will remain closed on Shabbat.

“The restaurant is not intended for Jews only,” said Shahar Matza, who praised the food handlers and the cleanliness of the restaurant. “Some people get here thinking it’s one more ordinary fast-food house.”

Until three years ago, the kosher infrastructure in the city reportedly was poor. Kosher food can now be found in supermarkets.

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