Catering to new residents responding to a shortage of time is what drove local kosher food professionals to collaborate on a new culinary enterprise known as Shabbox.
Located at 2118 Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill, the pop-up emporium is open Thursdays and Fridays for those seeking to “heat and eat” complete Shabbat meals, explained Moishe Siebzener.
“You can be in and out really quick,” echoed Siebzener’s son, Aaron.
For years, Siebzener and Deena Ross, both of Creative Kosher Catering, have provided customers with prearranged ordered food for Shabbat, the Jewish holidays or other occasions. But recently, more and more requests “for complete Shabbat meals” came in, he said. The reality is that “people are working more and are looking for ready to go meals. We’re trying to fix that need.”
Ross, Siebzener’s wife, pointed out that the new Shabbox is similar to stores that are common in New York and other areas with large Jewish populations.
“We kept getting more demands as the community was getting bigger,” she added.
In response, Creative Kosher Catering and Deena’s Dishes (its bakery label) partnered with son Aaron of Milky Way and Grilliance on a quick and clean venture.
The idea is that customers just “grab and go,” said Moishe Siebzener. “You don’t have to worry about waiting in line.”
Of added benefit are the aesthetics, added the younger Siebzener.
“The packaging is nice. The storefront is nicely done,” a product of Yoni Ross, he said. “He did the flooring, repainted and even built that bench.”
The neatly polished walnut seat, which rests near an assortment of enticing items, was made from reclaimed wood.
While familiar foods will be available each week, the owners promise not to get stale. Apart from curious eats such as General Tso fish and cauliflower kugel, a panoply of breads will also be on hand.
“Previous specialty challahs have included olive, spinach shallot, chocolate, cinnamon and caramelized onion,” said Ross.
As for the name Shabbox, it is a pun on Shabbat and “food out of the box,” said Aaron Siebzener.
“We wanted to give a feeling that it was Shabbat, but also quick and right out of the box,” echoed Ross.
The outlet, which opened on April 12, has received “a lot of positive feedback” since its start, she added.
The group is open to suggestions.
“We’re getting a feel for our customers,” said Ross. “It’s still new and we’re getting to know it.”
Shabbox is open Thursdays from 4 to 8:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.