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Philly Restaurants Offering Rosh Hashanah Specials
If you're looking to pick up Jewish apple cake or feed 20 people sans kitchen drama, check out these options. Shana tova!
For Jewish Philadelphians or anyone who feels a particular gravitational pull toward apples and honey, it’s (somehow) time to start thinking about Rosh Hashanah. And, like all good Jewish holidays, that means fixating on when, where, and how your family will be eating, what’s going to be on the table, and whether there will be enough of food to supply two weeks’ worth of leftovers.
If you’re new to Rosh Hashanah, firstly, thank you for clicking on this relatively niche guide that has little relevance to your life. Secondly, allow me to provide some context: Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It’s a chance to reflect on the year that’s passed, listen to a grown man repeatedly blow into a ram’s horn like it’s a curly little trumpet, and eat something sweet for a sweet year ahead.
To help you celebrate Rosh Hashanah this year, Philly’s Jewish bakeries, delis, and restaurants are offering pick-up meals, baked goods, and even some dine-in experiences. (Many of these places are also offering break-fast items for Yom Kippur.) Whether you want to pick up a Jewish apple cake and lie about having baked it yourself at home, or you’re looking to feed 20 people sans kitchen drama, check out these options. Shana tova!
This pandemic-era Jewish appetizing shop in Bella Vista is particularly known for their smoked fish by the pound — nova, vodka-dill gravlax, smoked sturgeon that doubles as an aphrodisiac, you get the idea — but they also sell baked goods made at Kaplan’s in Northern Liberties. For Rosh Hashanah, they’re offering special boards filled with an assortment of smoked fish, bagels and rolls, cream cheese, pickles and all the fixings, plus apple cake and honey. You can always add on round challah, carrot tsimmes, noodle kugel, and cabbage rolls for good measure. Rosh Hashanah pick-up slots are available Saturday, September 24th through Monday, September 26th. There are also Yom Kippur specials for pick-up on Tuesday, October 4th and Wednesday, October 5th. We’d advise ordering ASAP, since Biederman’s generally opens ordering for major holidays two-ish weeks in advance and they often sell out. 824 Christian Street.
In case you’re on the hunt for a neutral territory to gather a crew of relatives and their spouses who may or may not enjoy your family functions, Abe Fisher is hosting a dine-in experience on September 25th. Each $70 meal includes things like spiced challah with honey butter and a bunch of dips, pomegranate-braised brisket, and sweet-potato tzimmes — plus an optional $40 wine pairing. They also have a pick-up option that feeds four people if you’d rather eat at home. 1623 Sansom Street.
Essen makes Jewish baked goods that you should be eating all year long, regardless of whether there’s a shofar blowing or not. But, for Rosh Hashanah (and Yom Kippur), they have honey cake made with beer and apples, crown-braided round challah and glazed honey cookies by the half-dozen. You can pick-up your order between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 25th or Monday, September 26th (or October 4th and October 5th for Yom Kippur). Essen also offers delivery options for anyone within five miles of the East Passyunk bakery. 1437 East Passyunk Avenue.
This reliable Center City lunch counter is departing slightly from their milk-bun sandwiches with a Rosh Hashanah take-home meal available for pick-up on Sunday, September 25th or Monday, September 26th. Each $50 set feeds one person, and comes complete with milk-bun challah, duck-broth matzo ball soup made with ginger and turmeric and egg noodles, plus brisket with garlic-herb potato kugel and a honey panna cotta for dessert. It certainly sounds like a lot of food. And if the meal is even half as good as Huda’s brisket or fried chicken sandwiches, you and your people are in for a good time. See the details here, and place your orders online. 32 South 18th Street.
Ok, let’s level with each other for a moment: It’s possible you like the idea of celebrating Rosh Hashanah with a huge feast. But, in practice, eating a quick piece of Jewish apple cake might fit your schedule slightly better. In that case, you should know that Hershel’s in Reading Terminal Market sells theirs by the slice for $3.95. It may not be what our ancestors intended for us, but neither is the computer or phone that you’re reading this on. 1136 Arch Street.
If you’re looking for a complete, traditional dinner without having to do any cooking whatsoever, consider Schlesinger’s holiday pick-up package. They’re offering a six-course meal of old-school Ashkenazi favorites: Choose between things like chopped liver and stuffed cabbage, or brisket with gravy or roast chicken with challah stuffing, plus sweet kugel, latkes, or kasha with bowties. Each meal costs $36.95. Call 215-735-7305 to schedule your September 25th pick-up order. All orders must be placed by Tuesday, September 20th. 1521 Locust Street.
Ben & Irv’s
Anyone who grew up Jewish in the Philly suburbs might have formative egg-cream memories involving this Huntingdon Valley deli. (It’s been around since 1955.) And, if not, you might be able to change that fact about yourself in the year 5783. Ben & Irv’s is selling a holiday dinner package that feeds “approximately” six people. It’s available for pick-up on Sunday, September 25th, and each set comes with gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, your choice or roast chicken or brisket, plus sides like string beans with almonds, and challah. You can add on extras, if the idea of choosing between potatoes OR kasha and bowties upsets you. Understandably so. Call 215-355-2000 to place your order. 1962 County Line Road, Huntingdon Valley.
Another iconic Jewish deli of the suburbs and an all-time favorite destination of my father and likely many other Philadelphia fathers, too. Hymie’s has a takeout Rosh Hashanah meal that costs $27.95 per person. (You have to order a minimum of five, FYI.) Choose between classics like salmon or stuffed cabbage, brisket or roast chicken, and sweet or savory kugel. Each person gets their own challah and loaf cake, which should alleviate some family tension at the table. Order yours by September 18th for pick up on Sunday, September 25th or Monday, September 26th. 342 Montgomery Avenue, Bala Cynwyd.
All the proceeds from this Middle Eastern fast-casual spot’s Rosh Hashanah special will support Congregation Kol Emet in Yardley. Symbolically, each family-style meal costs $57.83 (get it?), and includes enough hummus, rice, shawarma, veggies, and raspberry rugelach to feed four people. It’s only available at the Yardley location between Thursday, September 15th and Tuesday, September 27th, and you can place your order online. 1623 Big Oak Road, Yardley.
Admittedly not a Rosh Hashanah special, but a High Holiday special worth knowing about nonetheless. Kismet Bagels is offering break-fast boxes for Yom Kippur, filled with everything you’re going to want to stuff in your mouth post-atonement — bagels, cream cheese, smoked fish from the Hudson Valley, smoked fish accessories to dress up your bagel, and maybe some chocolate rugelach and guava shortbread cookies for extra pizzaz. You can pre-order yours for pick-up on October 5th. They have pick-up locations at their bakery headquarters in Kensington and at Homeroom in Gladwyne, as well.
Famous 4th Street Deli
This Queen Village Jewish deli doesn’t have any holiday-specific sets available, but it still works well for a last-minute spot to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with some friends. They always have tsimmes, string beans, kugel, brisket, and latkes on the menu — so you can piece together something that resembles a holiday meal. Or just go for a fat corned beef sandwich, a cup of matzo ball soup, and some black-and-white cookies. 700 South 4th Street.