Citron & Rose Owner Comments on Split With Michael Solomonov

A few months ago, we did our first Property Profile with David Magerman, who moved to Philadelphia in 2004 and became a transformative force in the area’s Jewish community. When we spoke, he called himself “a systems guy” who, when he sees a need, does his best to fill it. One need he identified was an area kosher restaurant, and in a fortuitous turn of events, chef Michael Solomonov was looking to do kosher at the same time. The resulting Citron & Rose garnered rave reviews and quickly developed a devoted following. But the disparate reasons for such devotion explains why the two have parted ways.

Some devotees came for what Magerman calls the “incredibly creative and delicious” cuisine. Other devotees came because it was the only kosher restaurant around. As time passed, it came down to a question of which community the business would focus on as it evolved.

“What I think a lot of people outside the kosher world don’t understand,” says Magerman via email, “is while many of the diners at Citron & Rose are there because they love the food, many others are there also because it’s the only place they can eat!” That pragmatic reality is what drives Magerman now in a direction that doesn’t much interest Solomonov.

“To complement C&R, we needed to do more family-friendly projects, both in terms of off-premises catering and more casual dining,” Magerman explains. “We need to serve people breakfast, so they can go out in the morning for business. We need to do a $5,000 kiddush, in addition to the $75,000 wedding. And we need to provide take-out lunches and dinners when people need them.”

They were doing a little of this kind of thing at C&R, and Magerman acknowledges it’s not exactly in Solomonov’s wheelhouse.

“These kinds of projects can’t be (and probably shouldn’t be) interesting to an artist like Michael Solomonov,” Magerman says. “It’s almost like asking him to open a supermarket. But it’s essential for the observant Jewish community, and it’s essential for to fulfill my mission and my reasons for getting into the restaurant business.”

So the two have decided to part ways–“perhaps a little earlier than we thought we would”–rather than try to make their two different styles mesh.

“We just realized that we had accomplished the bulk of what we were going to do together. All of the directions I wanted to take the restaurant (including the casual dairy), he wasn’t so interested in, and the directions he wanted to take C&R and the other projects I was proposing weren’t satisfying to me.”

Which isn’t to say Magerman won’t miss Solomonov’s influence: “Sure, C&R would be better off if Michael were still involved. But I don’t want to keep him from his next artistic project. And I don’t think he wants to get in the way of my community-building.”

The good news is that the two split “at a time when we have accomplished great things together,” says Magerman, and no one who has been to C&R would disagree. “From my point of view,” he adds, “we both have great respect for each other’s missions and accomplishments, and I for one am grateful that for a period of time our missions overlapped.”

UPDATED: Solomonov and Cook Out At Citron & Rose? [Foobooz]

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  • thefadd

    sure you guys are all over breaking the next coach story but which potential coaches do you think would keep which players on the roster? who would be more likely to turn to a 3-4 D? and just what is this system that Lurie used to bestow Howie with the title of most awesome talent evaluator?

    • Lou Duva

      I think ur asking a question that can’t be answered. How would they know if one of the potential candidates would want Nnamdi or Demeco. Or what defense they would run. That’s not the story right now

      • Agreed, they’re reporting on the facts, not baseless speculation

  • Its so hard to determine who is right for the job. Mike McCoy so ok he works well with QBs what about the rest of the team? Will he assemble a good staff, can he handle the Philly fans and media? Theres alot more to it than he helped Tim Tebow win a few games.

  • Ellis

    He needed a place to eat and didn’t look to the needs of the surrounding community around him

  • MRodgers

    The main reason C&R was so popular was MS and his talented crew. The food was fabulous, not just in comparison with other kosher places, but with ANY other kosher place ever in Philly! Take the creative genius away and C&R will be gone before you know it, just like every other poorly-run, bland kosher place before it. C&R is done, I guarantee.

    • Fsolo

      Don’t u see that the prob is cook n solo have no idea how to make money. It’s about ego and this is a biz

      • Nadine Bonner

        I think the ego belongs to the owner. There are several other kosher restaurants in the Philadelphia area where one can have a good, if not fabulous, kosher meal. Mainly in the NE. It is certainly not the only place kosher diners can eat. Max & David, which went out of business in April, had a fantastic, creative menu and a very charismatic owner, but, like C&R, had a lousy location. I only gave C & R a year when it opened with Michael Solomanov. Now, unless Magerman wants to keep pouring money into it, I give it less.

  • RevolutionNumberNine

    In other word, Magerman wants to make more money. Got it.