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New vendor cry at Shea: 'Get your red glatts here!'
Published June 1, 1998
It is said that Texas Stadium has a hole in the roof so God can watch his favorite team. Well, Shea Stadium may now be his favorite place to snack.
While the eyes of the baseball world were on Shea because of Mike Piazza's trade to the Mets, perhaps the eye in the sky was tracking developments at the Queens ballpark, too. During a late May series with Cincinnati, the first glatt kosher food stand at a ballpark in New York opened at Shea.
Kosher food must meet certain dietary guidelines established by Jewish law. Glatt kosher food must meet even more stringent guidelines and is commonly eaten by strictly observant Orthodox Jews. The glatt kosher stand is an indication that this group is attending baseball games.
Religiously observant Jewish Mets fan can now nosh away in heavenly peace thanks to the new stand operated by Star Services. The company, which sells a glatt kosher line from the Sara Lee Corp., plans to open a second stand at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
"Stadiums across the country are watching this very closely," said David Senter, president of Star Services. Only major league ballparks in Baltimore and Miami have kosher food stands, but Star Services is studying other locales, he added.
In New York City, Public Advocate Mark Green, who is running for the U.S. Senate, pressured the Mets and Yankees to open the stands after receiving complaints from Orthodox constituents.
At the same time, the Sara Lee Corp. was developing its line of glatt kosher products, which are marketed under the brand American Star. The company contracted Star Services to sell glatt kosher ballpark fare in the two New York ballparks.
The Shea Stadium site measures 16 feet across and is located in the concourse behind right field. The price for a hot dog is the same as elsewhere in the stadium, though knishes are 50 cents more. But Senter is quick to note that his knishes are two ounces heavier.
At Yankee Stadium, where fans can already get kosher hot dogs, the location will measure only eight feet across, but it will be located in the concourse behind home plate. Each stand will have a rabbinical authority on site and be closed during the Jewish Sabbath.
The Mets' glatt kosher stand is licensed by Aramark, which manages food vendors in Shea Stadium. An Aramark spokesman said the company would review the profitability of the kosher stand at a later date to see if it would be continued.
Senter sees dividends already.
"Have you noticed," he asked, "that the Mets only lost once since they got kosher food? And Piazza came to New York."