When you go to the Kaplan JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, make the JCC café part of your day. Have an energizing breakfast before a workout or have a nourishing lunch after one. Do your kids have an after school activity? Follow it with pizza or a complete dinner. The café is now under the management of the Rosenfeld family, owners of Jerusalem Restaurant in Elizabeth and Jerusalem Express in Englewood. Rosenfeld also operates the café at the JCC in Scotch Plains.
Rosenfeld took over the café in August. He had heard from a friend that the JCC was looking for a new operator and it was the right opportunity for him. He is a former member, his kids went to camp there and it’s close to home. He understands all the food needs at a JCC since he has run the JCC café in Scotch Plains for 18 years. In addition to serving customers in the JCC café, he’s feeding people throughout the building. “We do senior lunches, early childhood lunches, and Shalshelet lunches,” he said. Yeshivat Shalshelet is an Orthodox day school for children with language-based differences based at the JCC. Rosenfeld anticipates doing food for next season’s summer camps. “Anything regarding food in the JCC is me,” he summarized. With 10 kids in his family, there are always a few to help out.
The transition was very smooth, Rosenfeld said in an interview at the cafe. The facilities were all in place; he just had to re-kasher the kitchen as directed by the RCBC, which is once again supervising the kashrut.
Rosenfeld has brought his popular pizza recipes to the JCC and is constantly looking to update and add items according to customer requests. “We know people are coming to work out so we have many health-conscious choices, like a ‘make your own’ salad bar, smoothies and quinoa burgers,” he said. “Plus we also cater to young athletes who want typical kids’ food — pizza, fries, candy, etc. We’re also adding daily lunch specials and more items for dinner like salmon and combo platters. There aren’t many kosher options in Tenafly so the public can enjoy coming here as well.”
Rosenfeld’s daughter Michal was working while I visited, making salads, smoothies and wraps. A recent graduate of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York, she worked for her father at the Elizbeth location for many summers and is helping out in Tenafly now while she studies for her exam. “It’s been amazing here; it’s a fun atmosphere and people have been giving us great feedback,” she said. “They’re so nice and friendly.” Michal has her finger on the pulse of the café, observing what people like. “They love our special pizza slices like the margherita pizza, our new barbecue ranch pizza and our spinach rolls,” she said. “Other popular items include hot pretzels with cheese, fresh mozzarella paninis, tuna wraps and quinoa burgers.”
I visited on a beautiful autumn afternoon and two friends joined me for lunch after their workouts. Since it was a gorgeous day, we ate in the outside courtyard, with the sun shining and colorful trees in the distance. We shared several items to give the kitchen a good workout. The margherita pizza had a nice crisp, thin crust, lots of melted mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. The fish and chips were a classic combo of a crunchy, fried crust with tender melt in your mouth fillet of fish, tartar sauce on the side, and fries. There were two types of salmon to go in a wrap; we chose the teriyaki salmon, a flavorful portion of fish rolled into a wrap with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Fried cauliflower bites, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, were served with a classic honey mustard dipping sauce. We chose raspberry vinaigrette dressing with our salad, which was a sweet, tangy mix that
complemented the selection of vegetables we selected.
Everything was well prepared and tasty. My very hungry friends enjoyed the feast after exercising for an hour.
The JCC Café is open Monday-Thursday from 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Bracha Schwartz is special sections editor at The Jewish Link.