When one door closes, another one opens — it’s a saying that’s apropos for kosher dining spots on Montgomery Avenue in Bala Cynwyd.
While area diners searching for kosher cuisine lost the Dairy Café at 321 Montgomery Ave., which closed on Dec. 17, they will gain Zagafen — a kosher version of the popular Center City and University City pizza spot Zavino — in April, when it is slated to open across the street at 370 Montgomery Ave.
Nana’s Kitchen, which currently operates at the Kaiserman JCC in Wynnewood, will move into the former Dairy Café space next month.
Zagafen will be owned by area restaurateur and philanthropist David Magerman — owner of Citron & Rose Tavern and the Dairy Cafe — in partnership with Greg Dobbs of Zavino Hospitality Group (ZHG) as the managing partner. It will be certified kosher under the auspices of the Orthodox Union.
“My main goal in operating kosher restaurants in the Greater Philadelphia area is to provide people who are strictly kosher the same culinary opportunities [as] non-kosher people, and to offer them at a level of quality and service that is attractive to the entire community, Jewish or not, kosher or not,’’ Magerman said.
“Zavino is a fantastic restaurant with a great menu and an appealing dining experience for its guests. With Zagafen, we will be offering a comparable experience with a comparable menu, but with everything being strictly kosher.”
ZHG has worked closely with Magerman on several projects, both in the Philadelphia area and beyond.
“I own restaurants,’’ Dobbs said. “We feel we know the Bala Cynwyd area and are filling
Zagafen, unlike Zavino, will not have any meat on its menu. The emphasis will be on vegetables and cheese. It will also feature gluten-free items.
“Zagafen will cater not only to kosher dietary needs, but also to diners who are looking for vegan and gluten-free options. If you are vegan or follow a gluten-free diet, we feel you will be quite satisfied with this restaurant,” Dobbs said.
While the menu will have some items from Zavino, obviously the non-kosher items will be eliminated. Dobbs believes the majority of Zavino’s pizzas and many salad and pasta items will be available in strictly kosher fashion.
“There are a lot of combinations we can do with vegetables and cheese, mushrooms and avocado,’’ Dobbs said.
Zagafen will occupy the same spot as the original kosher restaurant Citron & Rose, a venture Magerman pursued with Michael Solomonv and Steve Coo
k, which moved and was reconfigured as the C&R Tavern & Market at 261 Montgomery Ave.
“As with the original Citron & Rose,” Magerman said of Zagafen, “we hope to create a restaurant that will bring together people from all across the Philadelphia community.”
As far as replacing the Dairy Café, Magerman is pleased by the new tenant, Nana’s Kitchen, which he c
haracterized as “an excellent small kosher food service and catering company.”
“I knew that they were interested in expanding into a full-service restaurant, and they seemed a perfect fit for the location and the community. So I approached Gladys Fink, the owner of Nana’s Kitchen, about moving into the space, and she jumped at the opportunity.”
Lee Senderowitsch, Fink’s daughter, will be the general manager of the new restaurant, which will be called Nana’s Kitchen and Catering at Bala.
“This is a huge step for us,’’ Senderowitsch said. “We are working on the transition and everything else we need to do to get going. All our business, catering, school lunches will now come out of our new location. We’re hoping to open between mid- to late-January, but we don’t have an exact date.”
Senderowitsch said the Kaiserman JCC location will remain open. l