Above: Goodfriend’s Grill is no more at the Marcus JCC, meaning events such as this Yom HaAtzmaut celebration in 2015 will be catered by A Kosher Touch in the future. The new catering arrangement brings together two winners of our Best of Jewish Atlanta reader survey: the Marcus JCC (local Jewish nonprofit) and A Kosher Touch (caterer).
By Tova Norman
The cafe space opened up in May when Enoch Goodfriend shut down his catering operations for health reasons. The center put out a request for proposals and interviewed many local caterers before choosing A Kosher Touch, Marcus JCC CEO Jared Powers said.
“We are inclusive of all kinds of ways that people practice their Judaism,” he said. “It was important for us to have a kosher caterer on site.”
A Kosher Touch will lease the space from the JCC and use the kitchen to continue normal kosher catering operations while also operating the cafe.
Bank and her team will move their kosher operation from their current space at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. She said the move is bittersweet, but she is excited to occupy a larger space and to have the opportunity to develop the cafe.
The JCC’s Dunwoody campus also is much closer to Bank’s nonkosher operation, Added Touch Catering, in Sandy Springs.
Powers said A Kosher Touch shares a vision for the cafe space with the Marcus JCC.
“We wanted to create a family-friendly place that’s healthy and affordable,” he said.
Bank agreed. While most of the plans are still in the works because she won the bid only a few weeks ago, the hope is to refresh the cafe’s space and menu.
“I just see it as being a destination,” she said. “I think it’s an opportunity, and we’re in the throes of planning that.”
She hopes to be open all day, serve coffee and tea, bake fresh daily (including her famous biscotti), have easy grab-and-go snacks, and offer a full menu that is still in the works.
She and her team are sampling menus at restaurants around the city.
“My sales team, they are all young, and this is what they like: healthy, quality food at the right price,” she said.
Bank said to expect fresh fruits and vegetables and salads. She wants to show people that kosher food can be healthy and delicious.
“Kosher food has been given a bad rap over the years,” she said.
Bank said she hopes to offer meat and dairy options on different days. Because the cafe and catering operation are certified by the Atlanta Kashruth Commission, she is working out the details of how to arrange that rotation with a mashgiach.
“Here is a golden opportunity to provide the community with healthy, fresh, delicious food,” she said, hoping that her menu will persuade JCC members who are already at the center to eat at the cafe. “They should be going nowhere else.”
A Kosher Touch will also provide lunches for 300 preschoolers at the Weinstein School every day.
“We’ve got that program already in the works,” she said.
While she plans to adapt to what works best for her customers, Bank also has visions for additional opportunities: takeout dinners delivered in carpool lines, food at the pool, fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, special entertainment and nights out, sushi, and more.
“I’m excited because I want to do it right,” she said.
Bank and her team aren’t the only ones who are excited as word spreads about her move.
“The phone is ringing every day,” she said.
Powers said that a kosher caterer and a kosher cafe are important elements of the JCC. “We just want to make it that full-service experience.”