There are certain rarities in every college student’s life. These include proper amounts of sleep, sanitary living conditions and home-cooked meals. One cannot remedy the first two, but accessible, delicious and even affordable home-cooked meals do exist on campus. Just take a trip to The Colonial Kosher Café located in the basement of Hillel on 23rd and H streets.
Chefs Shari and Larry Shor, masterminds behind the restaurant, opened the kitchen after closing their store in Rockville, Md. “We love the kids,” Shari Shor said. “They are fun to be around and we love being here.”
The friendly and personal service sets the café apart from other eateries on campus that accept GWorld. Shari and Larry not only make your sandwich exactly how you like it, but they will also become new friends and surrogate parents at no extra charge. Senior Ann Blake describes the couple as, “The only two people who serve food on campus who will bend over backward to make sure they get your order right.”
The Shors cook up what most delis strive for – generous portions of great food at a student-friendly price. There is a wide selection of kosher deli sandwiches including turkey, and pastrami that are leanly cut and stacked high on a variety of breads ($8.99). Hamburgers are thick, juicy and take up exactly the right amount of bun space ($6.99). If you do not eat red meat, there are also grilled schnitzel chicken sandwiches.
Herbivores should not feel left out. There is a garden burger on the menu that gets quite the rave. Meals also include chips, pretzels and a side of potato salad, sesame noodles or coleslaw. Don’t forget a can of Dr. Brown’s soda – a deli fixture.
By popular demand there are more daily specials on the café menu. Additionally, there is the arrival of an all-you-can-eat salad bar loaded with upscale options such as roasted red peppers, artichokes, nuts and dried fruit ($5.99).
Ambiance is almost as integral to the success of the café as the food. A word of advice: do not come in wearing embarrassing stage makeup or clown clothes because, while the clientele is non-judgmental, it is guaranteed that you will run into someone you know. Also do not be surprised if strangers invite you to join them, because unlike other dining institutions on campus, the students are actually friendly. Junior Alex Cohen-Smith points out that the café “doesn’t feel like the typical Ivory or J Street. It’s a homey kind of place.”
The one major downfall is that lines can be long during peak hours (noon – 2 p.m.). But if you are in a rush, make sure Shari and Larry know and they will try to speed up your order. The Shors do not want to compromise freshness, and certain items may not always be in stock and meals sometimes take longer to prepare.
“The food is always fresh,” Larry said. “If we wouldn’t eat it, why should you?”
The café is certainly an important and overdue improvement in the lives of Jewish students on campus. There are a number of students who frequent the Café who do not keep Kosher or are even Jewish. There is no reason to be intimidated – walk right in and the Shors will make you feel at home.
So order up a hamburger grilled the way you like it, sip a Dr. Brown’s, relax and schmooze. The food is fabulous, the Shors’ are possibly the nicest people on campus and the environment is great. The Colonial Kosher Café is one of the newest culinary institutions on campus and with its personality and delightful meals, it is likely to be around for a long time. n
Monday-Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
(Steak night 6-8 p.m.)
Thursday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday: 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.