NEW: Dunkin’ Donuts opens first kosher shop in Palm Beach County

The simple act of ditching pork products in favor of vegetarian options opened the door of a 19-year-old Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in suburban Boca Raton to hundreds of kosher families.

Dunkin’ Donuts converted the shop on Powerline Road, between Glades and Palmetto Park roads, into a kosher location to serve the large Jewish population in southern Palm Beach County. It is the first kosher Dunkin’ Donuts in Palm Beach County and the third (Miami Beach and Hollywood) in the state.

“This restaurant has been an integral part of the Boca Raton community for the past 19 years, as it was one of the first Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the city,” said Barbara Fischer, a director of operations at Dunkin’ Donuts. “Over the years, members of the community have approached our local franchisees on several occasions to open a kosher Dunkin’ location in the area.”

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To receive kosher status, the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant altered its menu, cutting out non-kosher products such as ham, bacon or sausage made from pork. It also adheres to special requirements for food storage and equipment use.

Jewish law forbids the consumption of pork products and the combining of meat and dairy products, among other guidelines.

The kosher Dunkin’ Donuts still serves classic menu items, including egg sandwiches and an assortment of doughnuts and coffees. The location offers vegetarian sausage and bacon add-ons for sandwiches.

Wayne Kotzer, who lives near the Dunkin’ Donuts, used to stop at the restaurant for a cup of coffee, but now buys breakfast sandwiches at the shop.

“I’d drop in to get a cup of coffee, but to buy food now is great,” said Kotzker, holding a to-go bag with an egg and vegetarian bacon sandwich inside. “I’m here more mornings than I should. I bring the family on Sundays for doughnuts and food.”

Kotzer attended the grand “re-opening” of the eatery when it converted to kosher July 15. The restaurant was “packed” with patrons in traditional Jewish garb.

The corporate giant and local franchisees of the shop responded to the request of a handful of Jewish residents, who desired a kosher fast-food shop to serve suburban Boca Raton’s large Jewish population.

At Boca Raton Synagogue, just a mile from the kosher Dunkin’, there are about 850 families that adhere to kosher guidelines, said Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, who met with Dunkin’ Donuts leadership about creating a kosher shop in Boca Raton.

“Even the kosher consumer kind of craves what the world has,” Goldberg said. “You see advertisements for Dunkin’ Donuts, and both the options and the prices appeal to the kosher community.”

Goldberg also sits on the board of Orthodox Rabbinical Board of South Florida, which assesses restaurants for kosher status.

The kosher Dunkin’ Donuts is “at the heart of where the kosher consumer is” in suburban Boca, Goldberg said. “There is a lot of excitement and buzz right now.”

Follow Boca Raton reporter Lulu Ramadan on Twitter at @luluramadan.

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