Fac­tory fire causes knish crunch

Na­tion­wide short­age of Jewish treats should end by Hanukkah

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY FRANK ELTMAN VER­ENA DOB­NIK

COPI­AGUE, N.Y. | A fire at a fac­tory billed as the world’s big­gest maker of knishes has cre­ated na­tion­wide shock and oy for those who can’t seem to find the Jewish treats any­where.

Kvetch­ing has been go­ing on at delis, din­ers, food carts and gro­ceries since the six-week short­age be­gan, but lovers of the square, fried, doughy pil­lows of pureed pota­toes may not have to go without much longer. The fac­tory prom­ises an end to the knish crunch by Thanks­giv­ing, which co­in­cides with the start of Hanukkah.

“Our cus­tomers ... are call­ing us say­ing they are lit­er­ally search­ing su­per­mar­kets and stores and they’re all ask­ing when we’ll be back,” Stacey Ziskin Gabay, one of the own­ers of the 92-yearold Ga­bila’s Knishes, which sells about 15 mil­lion knishes a year.

A fire Sept. 24 at the Ga­bila’s plant in Copi­ague, on Long Is­land, dam­aged the ma­chin­ery that makes the com­pany’s big­gest seller — “the Orig­i­nal Coney Is­land Square Knish,” which also come filled with kasha or spinach.

Ga­bila’s, which also makes mat­zoh balls, blintzes and latkas, sells the knishes on­line and at re­tail out­lets around the coun­try, with New York, Florida and Cal­i­for­nia lead­ing the sales.

“For the last month I haven’t had any knishes — my heart is bro­ken,” said Carol An­fuso, a na­tive New Yorker who has been without a knish to nosh since the BJ’s Whole­sale store near her At­lanta home sud­denly stopped stock­ing them.

But Ms. An­fuso didn’t learn of the short­age un­til she vis­ited her sis­ter for lunch at the Pas­trami King restau­rant in Mer­rick on Long Is­land, and found that it was out of stock, too.

Pas­trami King owner Joe Ya­mali said he nor­mally sells about 2,000 knishes a month.

“It brings you back to your child­hood and they’re just so de­li­cious,” Mr. Ya­mali said. “Ga­bila is square and fried. You bite into it and the potato oozes out. It’s very good.”

Katz’s Del­i­catessen, the 125-year-old land­mark on Man­hat­tan’s Lower East Side, or­di­nar­ily sells about 6,000 knishes a month.

“I usu­ally get four to take home,” grum­bled Brook­lyn na­tive For­rest Gurl. “Their crunch­i­ness, their hard cor­ners, the mus­tard and sauer­kraut you put on them. You can’t beat a knish.”


Ga­bila Food Prod­ucts Inc.’s orig­i­nal Coney Is­land square knishes — fried, square doughy pil­lows of pureed pota­toes and other fill­ings — have been off the mar­ket for at least six weeks fol­low­ing a fire at the com­pany’s Long Is­land fac­tory.

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