In an attempt to appeal to Orthodox customers, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC recently launched a glatt kosher menu that includes Israeli snacks like bamba and bisli, along with prepared meals of fish, chicken, and beef.
The meals come in sealed containers from a catering company in Potomac, Maryland and are heated to order. The hotel managers also added about a dozen kosher wines from Israel and the US.
There’s currently one restaurant in Washington that serves glatt kosher food – the well-known Char Bar. While the management hopes to compete with Char Bar and other kosher friendly places in DC, the price tag for a kosher meal at the hotel is significantly higher compared to other kosher options in the region: main courses are sold between $105 to $125, not cheap for a single person meal excluding drinks. Israeli snacks are sold for $7.
“I’m married to a Jewish woman. Whenever we traveled, it was difficult to find good kosher meals in hotels and restaurants. So that [feeling] stayed with me,” Mickael Damelincourt, managing director at Trump International Hotel, told The Jerusalem Post.
“We saw the lack of good quality kosher wines and meals in luxury hotels,” he continued. “When you go to New York, you have many options. When you go to Long Island, you have many, many options. But in DC, there was nothing. So, we saw the opportunity.”’
“We had many guests from New York staying here that would come in for business meetings, and they wanted to get something to eat, but felt uncomfortable,” Damelincourt explained.
He said the hotel did research to better understand current trends and favorite dishes among the Orthodox community.
Daniel Mahdavian is the food and beverage director at the hotel. “I’m planning a trip to Israel to learn more about street food and also find other wineries that we can partner with to bring to here,” he said.
“I’ve talked to wineries, and I’ve talked to different chefs in Israel through mutual friends who are excited about being a part of this,” Mahdavian continued. “One of the ideas that we had was to work with other well-known Israeli chefs who can come here and cook for a month. We want to expand the idea and maybe to open a pop-up restaurant with someone from Israel.”
“We served seven Kosher meals last night, and it’s the slowest time in Washington of the year. So, I think the word starts to spread very quickly,” he added.