Across the river from Highland Park, where kosher observant diners have a choice of Chinese food, Middle Eastern dishes, pizza, and more, what is believed to be the first-ever kosher restaurant in New Brunswick opened March 8, offering vegetarian fare under an Orthodox kashrut supervision.
Maoz, part of an international chain “dedicated to the vegetarian lifestyle” that began in Amsterdam in 1991, made its New Jersey debut at 385 George St. under the supervision of Rabbi Israel Mayer HaLevi Steinberg, rabbinical director of CupK Kosher Supervision.
On the menu are pita sandwiches, falafel, salads, and a variety of sauces and toppings. Customers can eat in the restaurant or order takeout; prices range from $4.25 to $9.50.
“The format of the restaurant really demands high traffic,” said David Brous of Scotch Plains, who co-owns Maoz with Larry Goldberg of Springfield and Robert Wolberg of Edison. “The number of people downtown during the week; the Rutgers community; and the surrounding communities of Highland Park, Edison, and East Brunswick made this the perfect location,” he said.
Pam Stefanek, executive director of New Brunswick City Market, the nonprofit management group that services and promotes the downtown area, said her group had been unable to find documentation of another kosher restaurant in the city.
At a “friends and family” preview event on March 7, a steady stream of patrons packed into the restaurant. Rutgers students called their friends to tell them about the complimentary food being offered.
“I’ve been waiting for this place to open,” said Matt Fry of New Brunswick as he surveyed the menu. “I’m all about the health food.”
Claire McKenna, a Dartmouth College student from Brooklyn in town for a bicycling competition at Rutgers, said she often frequents the four Maoz locations in Manhattan and has dined at others in Europe, including Barcelona and Paris, while studying overseas.
“When I saw this restaurant, I sprinted across the street,” she said. “I love their food and am really excited there is now one here.”
In addition to Manhattan, there are Maoz restaurants (maozusa.com) in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Boca Raton, Fla. Another location is about to open in Berkeley, Calif.
Wolberg said he and his partners plan to open several other Maoz eateries in New Jersey in the near future, but he declined to give the locations.