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At U.S. Open, Kosher Stand Serves Up Hot Dogs and Knishes

September 8, 2004
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Strictly kosher food isn’t just for baseball parks anymore. Several years after a few baseball stadiums made headlines by adding kosher food stands to their culinary options, tennis fans at the U.S. Open in Queens, N.Y., can select glatt kosher items from the potpourri of food possibilities at America’s flagship tennis event.

For Lilly Schwebel, 69, of Queens, the stand made her experience at the Open — and that of her grandson, Aidan Wind — more filling.

“It’s wonderful for my grandson to able to eat something here,” Schwebel said as she purchased a hot dog for him on Sunday.

The stand has been up for a few years. During this year’s tournament, which runs through Sunday, it’s being operated by Kosher Sports. The firm also operates kosher concessions at two football meccas: Giants Stadium, home to the New York Giants, and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field.

“Most of the venues” in the New York area have kos! her stands, says Jonathan Katz, co-president of Kosher Sports. “There’s a need for it.”

Strictly kosher food became available at sports stadiums more than a decade ago, with baseball venues leading the way. Kosher food stands are currently running at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Shea and Yankee Stadiums in New York and Jacobs Field in Cleveland, among others.

The U.S. Open is almost as much about shopping as it is about tennis. Stalls hawking tennis equipment and apparel, as well as a large food court area, sell their wares to the estimated 600,000 fans who attend the Open each year.

By comparison, the glatt kosher stand has a quaint feel to it.

The operation works like this: Deliveries of hot dogs, knishes, pretzels and sandwiches are made twice a day from a deli in New Jersey, and a rabbi is in every morning to ensure that everything is — well, kosher.

Early Sunday afternoon, Katz estimated that he would sell about 700-800 hot dogs, 300 sandwiches, 500-600! knishes and 300-400 pretzels before the day was done.

The kosher food’s not cheap: corned beef and turkey sandwiches cost $12.00, hot dogs $5.25, and a pretzel runs $3.50.

But then again, a comparison price check showed that it was just a bit cheaper elsewhere: Just a few steps away at a non-kosher stand, a Coney Island footlong cost $4.75, although a chicken sandwich “only” ran $8.25.

The kosher stand offered an added bonus that drew both non-Jews and less observant Jews — the line was much shorter.

As for taste, Michael Gladstein, 29, of New York, gave his choice a thumbs-up. “It tastes like a hot dog,” he says.

And if there wasn’t kosher food? “I’d be starving,” he said, as he scarfed his food to rush off to a match.

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