The Story Behind the Restaurant Formerly Known as Chickpea


Eater reported that Kosher Village had changed its name for the second time in three months (Chickpea to Kosher Village to Tahini), so I stopped by to find out what was going on.

Turns out, owner Nissim Oron didn’t realize that there weren’t enough Orthodox Jewish people in the East Village to sustain a glatt kosher restaurant, a designation that requires closing on shabbat and for holidays, an expensive proposition.

“After three months I realized that this neighborhood is not the one for glatt kosher,” Oron said. “Only about 10 percent of our customers were coming in because it was glatt kosher. So I thought I’d go back to being just kosher, not glatt kosher, and so not to confuse anyone, we took ‘kosher’ out of the name.”

Yes, changing the name again should completely eliminate any confusion.

And as you might remember, the restaurant formerly known as Chickpea ran a contest to find the new name. 10,000 names were submitted, Kosher Village and Tahini among them. Oron awarded $30,000 in prize money to the genius who came up with Kosher Village—a rate that would turn out to be $10,000 for each month the name was in effect.

So would Oron be giving anything to the Tahini submitter? “I want to give him something,” Oron said. “But I haven’t decided what yet.”