After arriving from Poland following World War II, Rabbi Mayer Mendelsohn opened a small pizza shop in Brooklyn, NY. With no seating and a menu consisting of only pizza, falafel and French fries, he established the first kosher pizza store in Boro Park. People would come from far and near to taste and experience the sweet and succulent taste of his products.
In 1975, Mayer’s son Kalman came aboard and helped expand the store by adding seating and featuring new items on the menu. Within five years he made Mendelsohn’s a household name, attracting customers from around the world. Lines would stretch out the door with people wanting to experience his delicious pizza. Kalman’s son Junior (Moti), the third generation of Mendelsohn’s, started his career in the pizza industry in 1990. He also added many new items to the menu and revolutionized the frozen pizza concept. He made it available to the kosher consumer for the first time, shipping the pizza, manufactured in the Boro Park facility, far and wide. It was at this time that the OU began certifying Mendelsohn’s.
“Attaining OU certification brought us new opportunities in the kosher market,” declares another of Kalman’s sons, Heshy. “I’m able to sell the frozen pizza everywhere because the OU is accepted everywhere. Being certified brings out the relationship we have with the OU.” Of course, the OU symbol gives great confidence to the local clientele as well.
In 1997 a devastating fire broke out in the store and burned down a true landmark. When the store reopened the following year, fans were relieved that their favorite pizza store was once again back and bigger and better than ever. Today Mendelsohn’s Pizza is the tri-states’ largest pizza store, with a seating capacity of 175 persons and a menu featuring over 100 items to satisfy every taste. Besides pizza, the menu now includes a full line of Italian dishes, many different pizza toppings, and a fresh salad bar, among other goodies.
Now, there is a second Mendelsohn’s, in Flatbush, another heavily Jewish area of Brooklyn, which opened several weeks after Passover. Like its Boro Park counterpart, the store is certified by the OU. There are many elements in the success of Mendelsohn’s which led to its expansion – starting with a delicious product – but as Heshy Mendelsohn affirms, having OU certification is a key component of that success.