The sign outside Galaxie Restaurant in NuLu touted “Louisville’s Greatest Margaritas,” but on a recent Sunday morning, it was the bistro’s kosher menu that attracted a large crowd.
Galaxie Restaurant, along with Rye on Market and Nancy’s Bagels, joined together with Vaad HaKashrut to host a “Keep It Kosher” Community Brunch on Sunday, April 17.
The Vaad, which has been dedicated to promoting Jewish life in Louisville for over a century, has taken on a new role of becoming a local resource for the entire community. Sasha Chack, who was recently hired to develop programs and events that support the Vaad’s expanded mission and services, has experience in operating kosher restaurants in the New York City area. The “Keep It Kosher” Community Brunch is among the many events, programs and classes he wants to offer to increase kosher presence in Louisville.
Chack said the “Keep it Kosher” event was unprecedented. “The Vaad has never collaborated with three non-kosher businesses to offer a kosher food experience,” Chack said. “This event brings not only the Jewish community, but the whole community at large, together to experience Jewish food.”
Doug Petry, one of the owners of Galaxie, said the long line that began forming outside of the restaurant just after the doors opened at 10 a.m., said, “The crowd shows that there are a lot of people who like eating this way. This is something that is not present in Louisville. There are plenty of options for finding other types of cuisine, but not kosher food.”
The “Keep It Kosher” brunch attracted not only those who craved kosher food, but some who needed an explanation of menu items such as “pickled herring” and “salmon gravlax.”
Melissa Bales admitted she had no idea what she was getting into when she accepted Ben Winter’s invitation to the brunch. Winter advised his co-worker to try the halva truffles, but not the pickled herring, for her first kosher experience.
“I have a little knowledge about bagels, but that’s about it,” said Bales. “I am going to take it slow and not be too adventurous today. If I like what I eat here today, I’ll definitely try kosher food again.”
Ben Winter said he was “surprised and delighted” to see the line extend “out the door.” He and his wife brought along their 20-month-old daughter, Louise, and wanted her to sample pickles, while they feasted on smoked salmon.
“There is nowhere to get kosher food in Louisville,” Winter said. “We end up having to bring kosher food back with us from New York anytime we visit our family there.”
Julia Winter added that she and Ben both grew up in the Northeast and “had the option of eating at so many different kosher restaurants.”
“It’s comfort food to us,” said Julia Winter, “and we want to be able to have our daughter experience kosher food too.”