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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kosher Dunkin Donuts?

This is weird:
When is a restaurant that serves bacon considered kosher? To most Orthodox rabbis, the answer is easy: never. But Staten Island rabbi Dov Hazdan has been granting his own kosher certification to city Dunkin’ Donuts franchises that have served bacon, ham, and sausage, the trayf trifecta. “The meats all come prepackaged,” says Hazdan. “The employees have to wear gloves. I do not condone mixing kosher with nonkosher.” In Manhattan, Hazdan has also given his ner tamid K stamp to Pongal Vegetarian, an Indian restaurant that operates during the Jewish Sabbath, another no-no among the pork police. Hazdan was recently fired as the kosher supervisor at a Dunkin’ franchise on 34th Street after it received complaints from the Yeshiva University community about the rabbi and the pork. Spokesmen for the four top kosher-certifying agencies said they would never approve a restaurant that served nonkosher meats or operated on the Sabbath. “Who knows what goes on behind the counter?” says one Staten Island rabbi of Hazdan-approved shops. Hazdan insists his methods are 100 percent kosher. “I know a lot of people with beards who go into my stores,” he says.

Especially with completely kosher Dunkin Donuts around, one has to wonder why ones that serve bacon would be under any kosher certification at all. I would have to imagine that at the very least, it might cause those who are relying on the certification to become confused and possibly err on the side of eating non-kosher.

You also have to wonder how Yeshiva University managed to get Dunkin Donuts to pull Hazdan's certification. Did they threaten to boycott? That would seem to be pretty toothless since in saying Hazdan's certification was unreliable, they were de facto boycotting the store anyhow. The article doesn't mention whether the Dunkin Donuts on 34th St. is now under new, more reliable supervision. If not, I can't imagine how Yeshiva University convinced them to drop it at all.

I wonder who YU is going to "boycott" next? Ben's Kosher Deli? Was YU behind the closing of the 2nd Ave. Deli? Inquiring minds want to know.

36 Comments:

Blogger Elie said...

I know of several Dunkin Donuts that became kosher over the past few years, and none of them were allowed to continue selling un-kosher food. I can't imagine how that would possibly be workable.

In one instance I was told that some of the DD's regular customers tried to talk them out of becoming kosher, because they knew their favorite sausage samdwiches and clam chowder would be out. They claimed that the DD would lose busines because of this. But in practice their volume tripled or better once the switch was made! We Jews sure love to eat.

However, most of the kosher DD's I know of are allowed to stay open on Shabbos since they are owned by non-Jews.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Elie said...

Sorry for the typos in the last post!

9:34 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"Hazdan insists his methods are 100 percent kosher. “I know a lot of people with beards who go into my stores,” he says."

This is all I need to read to be on the lookout for this guy's hechsher. As far as your rant about YU, I don't get it. What's your beef and what's your point? You seem to imply that YU is the wrong entity to be spreading clarity and transparency regarding kashrus. I'm not sure why you feel that way.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the dd saga has been the focus of many an issue of the stern observer over the past 2 years which i do not think is avaialble online

9:52 AM  
Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

Being open on Shabbos isn't an issue - isn't the DD on Rockway Tpk open 7 days a week? And they're under the Vaad!

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also was wondering what was the point of the appalling YU bashing. Inquiring minds want to know.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous essie said...

“I know a lot of people with beards who go into my stores,” he says.

So the certifying rabbi is relying on people with beards to be more careful than he is?? What kind of nutcase is he?

And all DDs owned by non Jews are open on Shabbat, AFAIK. I don't think that has anything to do with getting certification. I know if the owners are non-religious and open on Shabbat, that may preclude getting certification.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous essie said...

Just to clarify, I meant Jewish, but non-religious.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

5T dd doesn't serve meat based bacon, sausage, et al.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I, too, was wondering what would be the problem with non-Jewish owners keeping their establishment open on Shabbat. Why shouldn't they? I see previous commenters feel the same way. Any response to this?

1:35 PM  
Anonymous justajew said...

Doesn't the DD on the NY turnpike serve bacon & all, but have a hechsher exclusively on the donuts and muffins? I've never heard of kosher problems with that location.

1:38 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

They are obviously incorrect on the Shabbos issue. The article leaves much to be desired in terms of tying up loose ends, I was just more curious about the YU issue.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

I have personally purchased bagels from a place in the Bronx that is open on Shabat and is under OU supervision. I think there are some politics going on here.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

I should add that the bagel factory mentioned above is many miles from the nearest Orthodox community, and actually bakes the bagels on Shabat. It is owned by non-Jews.

2:08 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I think the issue here is more about the non-kosher items being prepared than about being Shabbat observant.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous J said...

Here's an article about it from the Observer, the midtown campus newspaper http://www.yuobserver.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/04/14/425f105e65d2c?in_archive=1

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just a jew. . .
The DD on the NY State Thruway has a Tablet-K on baked goods. Very few ppl rely on that hashgacha.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about the fact that the donuts could be dairy????????????????????

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally!!! A Kosher LeMehadrin Dunkin' Donuts just opened on the UWS on 93rd and Amsterdam. Not only do they carry the standard coffee drinks, donuts, and bagels fare, but they also offer catering!

In fact, they just gave me this code: MKTG101 that they told me would get any order of $50 or more 10% off, to be used as many times as you like! I'm happy.

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