New York Pop-Ups Deliver the Country's Most Exciting Jewish Fare

For One Evening, Restaurants Offer a Jewish Connection

L’Chaim! Diners sip cocktails and dig into rich creamy bowls of hummus and crunch salads at a pop-up hosted by EatWith.
Elion Paz
L’Chaim! Diners sip cocktails and dig into rich creamy bowls of hummus and crunch salads at a pop-up hosted by EatWith.

By Devra Ferst

Published September 03, 2013, issue of September 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

When Danya Cheskis-Gold quit her job at a startup in April, she started to look for ways to connect with others outside of a bustling office. “One of the first things that came to me was Pop-Up Shabbat,” she said. Growing up in a Conservadox home, Cheskis-Gold says, her family had an open-door policy for Shabbat meals, where friends and neighbors were always welcome.

Having stepped back from observance for several years in her 20s, she wanted to find a way to rediscover her roots.

“The things I connect to most in the Jewish community are food and friends,” she explained. For the past few years she has periodically hosted Shabbat dinners for up to 40 friends in her Brooklyn apartment, but she wanted to experiment with something larger that was accessible to others Jews like her, who are passionate about Shabbat, and to non-Jews who are curious about the rituals that go along with it.

Taste of Persia: ShaBubbe, the first Pop-Up Shabbat, featured roasted Cornish hen with dried limes and a side dish of meat, lentil and herb stuffed onions.
Devra Ferst
Taste of Persia: ShaBubbe, the first Pop-Up Shabbat, featured roasted Cornish hen with dried limes and a side dish of meat, lentil and herb stuffed onions.

On a balmy Friday evening in mid-July, she hosted her first pop-up, dubbed ShaBubbe, on the second floor of an old home near Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal that has been converted into an office.

The sunlit room, with a kitchen at one end and long wooden tables stylishly set, could have easily been mistaken as the site of a trendy invite-only Brooklyn dinner without any Jewish connection. But touches like freshly baked rosemary garlic challah rolls and bowls of ruby-colored borscht prepared by The Gefilteria provided culinary touchstones for guests with Ashkenazi roots.

Sandwiched between the soup course and a dessert of macaroons were several classic Persian dishes: Cornish hen roasted with dried limes and yellow squash; crispy Persian rice bespeckled with coriander seeds; beef and lentil-stuffed onions with mint and tarragon. The aroma of the dishes was intoxicating and unmistakable as I walked into the room. “[Melanie Shurka] cooks this food because of her Persian identity,” Cheskis-Gold explained of the evening’s guest chef. “It’s so different than the food from my Jewish grandmother in Queens, but this is how we think of our identity.”

While tradition is important to Cheskis-Gold and to all the hosts, Jewish food in the pop-up era is about innovation and reinterpreting tradition. At her next Shabbat dinner, slated for October, she plans to focus on soul food.

“In my dream world it will be outdoors in a backyard, and I already locked down a DJ who’s worked with Beyonce. He’s half Caribbean and African American. I would love to have a Jewish deli partner and serve okra kugel.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.