If given the choice between a meat meal or a dairy one, I’d pick meat 99% of the time. Based on this article, I’m definitely not alone. Titled “The Curse of Dairy Kosher Restaurants in Manhattan,” it details the steep odds such an establishment faces, with most closing down quickly.
What’s causing the distinct difference? Mainly the fact that dairy foods are subject to less strict requirements. There is no kosher slaughter needed, after all, and if you couple that with the huge surge in vegetarian and vegan alternatives popping up in recent years, it makes sense.
Personally, I know many people who will eat parve or dairy food at a non-kosher place, but will not touch the meat. (I’m not saying whether that’s right or wrong, just sharing my experience.)
The NYC food scene is notoriously competitive, for sure, but I think kosher dairy is less popular around the country. Look at California, Florida, Chicago or any other metro area and the scale is severely tipped towards meat. The only exceptions, of course, are bakeries and ice cream shops.
As more people start to explore different cuisines, a strictly kosher eatery isn’t going to have the need it once did. In my local area, there are all kinds of trendy and healthy options available—juice bars, raw food, a food truck that serves only salad and on it goes. Any of those could work for someone who keeps kosher, even though they’re not certified as such.
Even so, I’m sad to see any kosher spot fail. Kashrut is a universal link to our heritage and it deserves to be honored.
Do you prefer meat or dairy?