The US's biggest kosher supermarket opened in Brooklyn this week, hoping to bring an upscale grocery shopping experience to the city's tens of thousands of observant Jews.
Pomegranate, which sprawls over 20,000 square feet in Midwood – Woody Allen's childhood neighborhood – is also hoping to lure customers who don't keep kosher with its array of organic meats and chemical-free produce.
Menachem Lubinsky, a kosher food industry consultant, said it is the biggest exclusively kosher supermarket in the country. "It's more upscale than previous attempts, with everything under one roof, from frozen to fresh to flowers," he said.
"You don't have to walk from the produce grocer to the meat grocer to the baker." The store offers delicacies like sushi, organic pear juice and fresh kumquats along with such traditional Jewish foods as gefilte fish, matzo meal and kishke, a kind of sausage. There's full-time rabbinical supervision, and even valet parking.
The supermarket will compete with mom-and-pop grocery stores in the neighborhood that have catered to generations of religious Jews who follow the strict dietary laws.
"That a market like that can open in a neighborhood like Midwood, where small independent kosher butchers have been going out of business, illustrates the growing globalization of kosher food production," says author
Sue Fishkoff, who is writing a book about kosher food in America. "Where are the goods coming from? All over the world."
Lubinsky said Pomegranate "may set off a price war" in New York's super-competitive grocery market, competing with kosher grocers as far away as Long Island and trendy chains like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.