Kashrut is the body of Jewish law that deals with what foods can and cannot be eaten and how these foods are prepared. “Kashrut” comes from the Hebrew root Kaf-Shin-Resh, meaning fit, proper, or correct. It is the same root of the more commonly used “kosher” which describes food that meets these standards. Sometimes the word “kosher” is used to describe ritual items that are made in accordance with Jewish law and are fit and proper for ritual use.
One thing to remember: there is no “kosher-style” food. Any type of food can be kosher if it is prepared in accordance with Jewish law. When a restaurant calls itself “kosher-style” it usually means that the restaurant serves traditional Jewish food that is NOT kosher. Food that is not kosher is commonly referred to as being treyf, which literally means “torn.” This is derived from the commandment not to eat animals that have been torn by other animals. Regardless if you are orthodox or just looking for some delicious food, here are some of the best certified kosher places in the St. Louis area:
Kohn’s Kosher Meat Market and Deli 10405 Old Olive Street Road (314) 569- 0727. Kohn’s started way back in 1963 and has been a favorite St. Louis kosher market and deli ever since. They have some of the best homemade corned beef and pastrami that you can find. They also have smoked fish such as salmon, sable, and lox. A full line of freshly made deli sandwiches is complimented by Knishes, Kraplach, Strudel, and Khishka. If it’s kosher, you can find it here. They also serve a good assortment of fresh salads and Shiva trays. Shiva trays are mourning foods that are served when a loved one passes away and include meats, pasta, and dairy items.
Pratzel’s Bakery 8625 Olive (314) 991-0708. Pratzel’s is all pareve and carries a full line of delicious bakery items all the way from dinner rolls to wedding cakes. Be sure to try the bagels, especially the Tzitzl, which are made from cornbread. They also have these huge cupcakes that come in vanilla and chocolate. They are flipped upside down and then covered with even more chocolate. A chocoholic’s dream! The donut holes are very good also. It’s all enough to send you reeling towards sugar shock, but somehow it’s worth the risk.
Shmeers Café 8400 Delmar, University City (314) 991-2113 Shmeers is the only vegetarian kosher restaurant in the area. It’s a great place to bring your paper or your laptop (WiFi hotspot) and enjoy good coffee and breakfast. The restaurant is located in the “eruv” which is an area defined by boundaries adhered to by Orthodox Jews on the Sabbath. This cozy 12 table restaurant also has counter space and a recently added patio. Almost everything is baked on the premises. Yummy homemade muffins, brownies, cheesecakes and mini-bundt cakes round out the bakery menu. There are also bagels with a variety of “shmeers”( cream cheeses). The cappuccino, rum-raison and pineapple are particularly good. They also have fish salads like salmon, tuna, and hummus. Be sure to try the spinach or wild mushroom and broccoli quiche. Both are served with a salad or homemade soup, and are just $5.95. Service is excellent, with the owner being there most of the time during the busy periods to greet the guests and make sure that their dining experience is a great one.