OU Certified Kosher Subway Restaurant to Open in Wall Street Area in March

28 Feb 2008


There is a new kosher Subway restaurant coming to 28 Water Street in lower Manhattan- and it isn’t just kosher, but OU kosher.

The OU is supervising the kashrut certification of the newest Subway to become kosher, located not far from Wall Street, beginning from Wednesday, March 5. Significantly, the restaurant is located within walking distance of the OU’s New York headquarters.

By becoming kosher, the chain is capitalizing on the newest trend in food. With the number of kosher food consumers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, growing by leaps and bounds, the Subway restaurant chain has hopped on the bandwagon and is opening Subway restaurants that are fully-certified as kosher.
When Subway’s initial venture of opening a kosher Subway in Cleveland, Ohio in 2006 met with success, additional kosher stores were added in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Kansas City, KS. A future location is under construction in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, New York.

Obviously, any restaurants that switch from non-kosher to kosher have to undergo a rigorous kosherization process. The new Subway’s kosherizing will be done under the supervision of OU Rabbinic Coordinator Rabbi Leonard Steinberg, who is in charge of processing new applications from restaurants and caterers requesting OU kashrut certification.

Surprisingly, however, Rabbi Steinberg says the kosherizing of Subway is a pretty simple process. “The kosherizing process won’t take long, because the whole Subway restaurant system is simple,” said Rabbi Steinberg. While most delis slice their own meat, Subway is unique in that its stores receive pre-cut deli slices. “This eliminates the need for kosherizing any meat-slicing equipment,” said Rabbi Steinberg. The ovens, toasters, and bread proofers had to go through a thorough cleaning to be properly kosherized; one of Subway’s biggest draws is that its breads are baked on the premises, and so much of Subway’s equipment has to do with baking and toasting the freshly-made bread.

“The Subway will be thoroughly cleaned, many pieces of equipment will be given to other Subway restaurants instead of being kosherized, and finally, new equipment will be installed to replace those items,” said Rabbi Steinberg. Some of the equipment that has to be given away to other non-kosher Subway stores included the bread pans and bins where the meat and vegetables were kept. This whole process of cleaning and installing the new equipment will take just two days, the Monday and Tuesday before the restaurant is set to open on Wednesday.

Though most types of the baked breads were already kosher, Subway did have to eliminate a few non-kosher varieties. The menu, of course, had to be changed to eliminate all pork, bacon, and ham products. Any cheese used from now on will be non-dairy soy cheese. Subway has switched to an OU glatt kosher meat supplier that provided the pre-sliced meat slices. “Most of the ingredients outside the meat are kosher, such as the vegetables and most of their bread varieties,” said Rabbi Steinberg. “Additionally, the Subway brand, a private label of the franchise, already has a lot of OU certified products, such as tuna, frozen bread dough, and most condiments, and those can be used with no problem as well.”

A mashgiach tamidi, provided by the OU, needs to be on the premises every hour the store is open. “The mashgiach opens the store in the morning, and closes it at night,” said Rabbi Steinberg. “Some of the other things he does are check the deliveries to the store, and turn on the ovens when the bread is baking, so that it can be called pas Yisrael, the highest level of certification for baked goods.

Given the OU kosherization, passengers boarding this Subway know that they have no need fear that the products being offered are fully kosher.