Opening a kosher market in the middle of a pandemic might not be everyone’s first instinct, but Ilya Uvaydov wasn’t going to let that stop him.
“I was planning it for a while already,” Uvaydov said. “I had the space next door, so I opened it. Why not?”
Sababa Kosher Market, which had its grand opening on Sunday, Oct. 18, is located next door to Uvaydov’s restaurant, Cafe Chenar. Since announcing the opening of the new market on Cafe Chenar’s Facebook page, members of the community have been eager to see what the market has to offer.
“They’re excited, they’re happy to see a new market with different stuff,” Uvaydov said. “You’ve got to have more markets so they can go and choose a variety and compare it to other markets.”
The market was an oasis of calm on a recent Wednesday morning, quiet except for an employee behind the counter and Uvaydov hustling in and out of the service door between Sababa and the adjoining Cafe Chenar. An entire wall of windows at the front of the market flooded the small space with soft light, illuminating spare metal shelves stacked with tidy rows of coffee, honey, beans and other staples.
Every available wall and counter was lined with shelves and freezers full of frozen pierogis. Along the back wall, fish and meat were arrayed beneath the front counter and fruit and vegetables tucked into a small display case in the front window.
With its wide selection of products, from fruits, vegetables and sweets to meat, fish and dairy products, it’s essentially “just a regular kosher grocery market,” Uvaydov said. Some of the products are made in Cafe Chenar next door, and others are sourced from Israel.
With the opening of Sababa Kosher Market, Uvaydov is mainly excited “to bring good quality products to the Jewish community,” he said.
Cafe Chenar, which is glatt kosher and under the supervision of Rabbi Baruch Cohen of Ahavat Israel, specializes in Bukharian comfort food, from soups and dumplings to kebabs and pastries.
While business has been slow since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the restaurant, and now the market, are making do as best they can.
“It’s been rough, it’s been on and off. What can we say?” Uvaydov said. JN
credit to jewishaz.com