June 13, 2024
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Kosher 2 Go! On Rte. 17 North

Ramsey—Families, commuters, counselors, and truck drivers traveling along Route 17 North have reason to cheer. As of next week, the Exxon gas station in Ramsey just after the Lake Street exit is transforming its fast food/mini mart into Kosher 2 Go. As opposed to other Exxon mini-marts, this one will be almost exclusively kosher. Travelers in search of kosher food will be able to buy food with the ease that other travelers experience at virtually any other gas station along the highway. Visitors will be able to purchase fresh kosher items made to order such as personalized pizza pies, sandwiches, and make your own salads. If they don’t have the time to wait, they can pick something up from the (also freshly made) pre-packaged kosher sandwiches, salads, and sushi.

Teaneck resident Elliot Rosenfeld will be operating Kosher 2 Go. Rosenfeld is no stranger to food prep or running food establishments. He’s been in the pizza business in Teaneck and Elizabeth for 14 years. He is also the food services provider for several school lunch programs and camps, is a caterer, and operates a café inside the Scotch Plains JCC. Rosenfeld told the JLBC, “I think the increase in food establishments being in gas stations has clearly increased. Gas stations are no longer just a place to get gas. The beauty of this gas station mini-mart is that I have a full kosher kitchen where I will be able to make fresh food to order every day.”

All food sold at Kosher 2 Go will be pareve or dairy. Food prepared on site will be under the rabbinical supervision of Rabbi Zushe Yosef Blech from Monsey. All the grab and go snacks will be under various kosher certifications. The goal is to ultimately have only kosher items for sale. However, there will still be some pre-packaged non-kosher items for sale that will be in a clearly marked section of the mini mart.

Ebbie Ashabi, the owner of the Ramsey Exxon, knows the owner of a Lakewood Exxon that offers kosher food and he decided to do the same in Ramsey. He has agreed to change over all of the milk for the coffee to cholov yisroel and he’s now carrying Kleins Natural, Mehadrin, and other kosher brands in the freezer cases. In fact, all of the dairy products in Kosher 2 Go will be cholov yisroel and all breads will be pas yisroel. Ashabi also plans on stocking the periodicals rack with Jewish publications such as the Jewish Link of Bergen County and other newspapers and magazines. He and Rosenfeld have also discussed putting up a tent on the side of the station during the summer to accommodate a daily Mincha minyan.

Rosenfeld visited the Lakewood Exxon as well as a gas station in Monsey known for its Thursday night chulent and kugel before beginning work on the Ramsey Kosher 2 Go. Rosenfeld admits, “I know Ramsey is not Lakewood or Monsey, but there are enough people traveling on Route 17 to make this work. Certainly we’re going to attract those people going to the country for the weekend, and those who drive to Woodbury Commons and those who make the drive every day, but we’ll also get those drivers, especially truck drivers, who want to take advantage of the last Exxon station in New Jersey (the station sells diesel) before hitting the New York State Thruway. In addition to the made-to-order food offerings and the pre-packaged foods, we’ll also be selling fresh pizzas-to-go that travelers can take home and heat up in the oven.”

Rosenfeld recommends that people planning their tips to the country keep in mind that Ramsey Kosher 2 Go is an ideal place to stop to fill up on gas, use the facilities, and stock up on kosher food. He can’t vouch for the math, but he does say that it’s about the midpoint between Flatbush and South Fallsburg.

Down the road Rosenfeld may also sell food for Shabbos, but for now you can definitely stop in for chulent and kugel on Thursday nights.

By Sara Kosowsky

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