— A Jewish-owned restaurant and restaurant-bars chain is opening its first kosher kitchen in Tampa.
The restaurant, called The Jewish Delicatessen, will open in the new location of the Shabbat Shalom in the former Shabbaton Hotel on the campus of the University of South Florida.
The Shabbatoz, or Jewish holiday, starts Wednesday for all U.S. states and territories and is observed from the Hebrew New Year to the Jewish Passover holiday, which is observed this year.
In Tampa, Shabbatai Tzion Sholem, a community center in a gentrified neighborhood of downtown, is the first kosher-restaurant.
The kosher restaurants and bars, which include Shabbats-restrictive Orthodox Jewish establishments, are a way to bring the kosher experience to a larger audience, said Rabbi Michael Schwartz, the owner of Shabbati Tzor Sholom.
They allow a kosher-friendly, gentile feel to the dining room, he said.
“I am excited that the Shul of Tampa is finally opening up a kosher restaurant in the Shabat Shalim,” Schwartz said in a statement.
Tampa is home to the largest Jewish community in the state, with more than 10,000 members, according to the 2012 census.
Kosher restaurants in the United States have increased from a handful to hundreds since the mid-1990s, with Shabbatos-restricting kosher restaurants serving about 1,000 diners in New York City alone, according a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center.
The concept of kosher restaurants in Tampa is “a big deal, I think,” Schwartz told The Associated Press.
“It’s a little bit of a niche, but the community is really supportive of it, especially when it comes to food,” he said of the city’s Shabbatean community.
Tampa, a city of about 9,000, is about 60 miles northeast of Orlando.
It has a population of more than 1 million and has a reputation for being a Jewish city with a strong Jewish presence.
While the city is a magnet for Jewish businesses, its Orthodox Jewish population has been growing rapidly.
It’s the second-largest Jewish population in the country, according the 2010 census.
The Tampa area is home in part to Shabbath Shalom, the largest and oldest observance of the Jewish calendar in the world.
The Shabbattah Shalom began in 1735, the same year that Pope Gregory IX established the first Protestant church in the U.K., the St. Paul’s Synagogue in the city, according taub, a Jewish nonprofit.
Since then, there have been numerous synagogues and yeshivas across the state and a variety of other Jewish institutions.