Avital Berger ate her first cheeseburger at Ohev Shalom – The National Synagogue last week, and the 10 year old declared it “the best cheeseburger” she ever had.
Her family laughed. It was the only cheeseburger Avital, whose family keeps kosher, ever had. The burger was pea-based rather than made of beef, a plant-based option that drew vegans as well as members of the Orthodox synagogue.
Ohev Shalom’s burger night came by way of PLNT Burger, a vegan kosher restaurant that will be opening next month in Silver Spring.
About 200 people lined up to try the food — foil-wrapped burgers, fries, ice cream and lemonade. There was plenty of food for seconds.
Ohev Sholom’s rabbi, Shmuel Herzfeld, has been supervising PLNT Burger through his kosher certification agency, DC Kosher. He said the burger night at his synagogue would be a great way to introduce the restaurant to the community.
Jonah Goldman, PLNT Burger’s director of strategic marketing, said the restaurant wanted to have kosher certification, so it reached out to Herzfeld.
“I think PLNT Burger is going to help more Jews keep kosher,” Herzfeld said. He explained that by having more kosher options, people who don’t keep kosher will be encouraged to do so, knowing that they won’t have to give up all their favorite foods or giving up the option of dining out.
Emma Talbot, who is a vegan, came to the event with her mom.
“It tastes like real meat but without the harming of animals, which I really like,” she said of her burger. Referring to other popular vegan burgers, she added, “I’ve tried Impossible Burgers and Beyond Burgers, and this is really good. It’s really realistic and it tastes good, too. I think you could fool someone who liked to eat meat.”