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‘Kosher Pizza Wars’ Restaurant Regroups With New Chef And Improved Menu

Yesterday, Basil Pizza and Wine Bar — a Crown Heights-based kosher dairy hotspot — was closed for business. But only temporarily.

According to a report from hyperlocal news site, COLlive, Basil is undergoing a remodel of sorts. It will reopen on Wednesday, October 18, with both a new chef and a new menu. The owners told COLlive that the re-tooled menu will include a mix of “popular favorites as well as cutting-edge dishes the kosher world has not seen before.”

Over the past few months, Basil experienced a series of unfortunate events. Back in March, after a beit din battle with Calabria — a kosher pizza shop that opened across the street — Basil was awarded a pyrrhic victory: Calabria received kosher certification after minimal adjustments. Then, in late June, after Basil’s landlord allowed a landscaper to trim the bushes outside the restaurant on Shabbat, the OK — a kosher certifying agency — revoked its certification for Basil. Instead, Basil had to rely on the “self-certification of Menachem Mendel Schneerson son of Harav Sholom Ber Schneerson OBM of Kehilas Bais Schnei-Or” as the restaurant reported in a Facebook post. In the midst of this turmoil, Basil’s outspoken manager Clara Perez left her post.

Does this mean that the OK will re-certify Basil Pizza and Wine Bar? That remains to be seen. But it seems that Basil’s management is actively trying to court the OK. As it told COLlive: “It is definitely our intention to get it reinstated in the immediate future.”

Michelle Honig is a writer at the Forward. Contact her at honig@forward.com. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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