By Brittany Glassey and Jael Henry
Hidden inside the Stony Brook Union beyond the frenzy of murmured voices walking to and from class, is a unique dining option that caters to one group while exposing another to a different culture.
On the doorsteps of this room youa��re greeted by a sign that demands that food not A�bought there should not enter with you. A few steps inside, around a rectangular table cluttered with napkins, with grease painted over it and half full plastic cups that resemble the colors of the American flag, six students, some Jewish and some who are not, drown out the murmurs of the outside voices with laughter of their own. This hidden gem is campus dininga��s Carlos & Gabby’s, Glatt Kosher Mexican Grill, at Delancey Street.
a�?Just like people who are vegetarians or vegans this establishment provides food for people with limitations such as only keeping kosher,a�? Albert Ibragimov, a Carlos & Gabbya��s regular, said.
a�?It provides a place for people to go and feel like they can eat in a place and not worry about whata��s inside the food and they know exactly that ita��s certified kosher based on religious reasons they can eat here and feel at home while doing so,a�? he added.
“In the 1970’s there was a kosher food cooperative run by students.A� Stony Brook had several food coops in those days that operated independently of campus dining,” Rabbi Topek, Director of Hillel foundation for Jewish life at Stony Brook, said.
“When the Interfaith Center moved to the Union in 2000 the planning began to relocate kosher dining which happened in 2005,” Topek added.
Delancey Street opened in the fall of 2005 but was replaced by Carlos and Gabby’s when Sodexo became the food vendor for Stony Brook University.
Carlos & Gabbya��s, the only kosher dining area on campus, opened on campus in the Fall of 2015 and has only one location in Suffolk County, this Carlos & Gabbya��s location is the only one within 50 miles of Stony Brook main campus.
Besides this location, the next closest kosher dining option to Stony Brook is 8.62 miles off campus, according to the phone app, Kosher near me.
a�?You dona��t have to keep kosher to eat here and many people that dona��t come here anyway because the food tastes good. If people do keep kosher theya��ll have many different options for food to eat and they can hang out with their friends here if they want to or bring it home,a�? Ibragimov said.
There are many things that make eating kosher different including many kosher laws, according to the student manager for Carlos & Gabbya��s, Julia Martinez. These laws include not having pork or shellfish, not mixing meat and dairy, and all of their cooking utensils and food must stay separate from food that is not kosher.
a�?So Halal has their dietary rules but they can be in the commons with the other food, they can share their utensils with other food, their dishes can be washed with the rest of them. We cana��t, our kitchen has to be completely separate from everyone else’s,a�? Martinez said.
The average kosher consumer spends 47% more per year than the non-kosher consumer and the kosher sector is the fastest growing food industry at 12.5%, according to ok.org. The United States kosher market is valued at 12.5 billion dollars, according to the site.
For those that do keep kosher like Martinez it offers them options for a complete meal that they otherwise wouldna��t have on campus.
a�?If we didna��t have a kosher restaurant for students I would be able to eat some yogurts, fruit, Uncrustables, certain candy bars, and half of the granola bars they sell on campus,a�? she said.