In our continuing series of visiting OU Kosher restaurants during Covid-19, I spoke with Six Thirteen, a restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut. With many states experiencing a spike in cases, it’s ever relevant to know that where you are going to dine is safe. On the subject of eating out, New York Times restaurant critic Tom Wells says, “it’s a complex matter,” and he “hasn’t worked it all out myself.”
The good news is that Connecticut has been rather stable in their cases as of late. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said that Connecticut continues to hold off the coronavirus surge. The coronavirus positive test rate over the weekend came in around a rate of around .7 percent. The rate over the past total week was around .8 percent, which is among the lowest in the country.
When speaking to Adam Rafalowicz, the general manager of the restaurant, he also echoed that Connecticut is at a low rate of infection and specifically because people are being cautious, which he said is personified at Six Thirteen. He said, in terms of logistics, Six Thirteen is serving indoors at 50 percent capacity with full dining available outside. In terms of safety, the whole staff is always wearing masks and gloves. Guests must wear masks anytime they leave the table. If someone doesn’t want to wear a mask, they can’t enter the restaurant.
When I asked him how his restaurant was doing under the Covid-19 stress he said, “shockingly well.” Adam said something interesting: because of precautions the restaurant is taking, people who never came previously are coming now. He said he has a flow of people from Monsey, Lakewood, Teaneck and even from deep in Long Island who have heard about the strict safety measures making them more inclined to come. He said it’s a great date place, because there’s a good chance you won’t run into people you know. He told me about a date between someone from Boston and Brooklyn who chose it as place because it was a midpoint location for both of them. He said there were two proposals at Six Thirteen within the last few months. I asked him if he ever had to accommodate people who just flew in from another destination. He said he once had a couple fly into the Westchester airport, check into a Stamford hotel and come for that night’s dinner, and the next day’s breakfast, lunch and dinner flying out that evening.
I asked Glen Karow, the owner of Six Thirteen, how the restaurant came to be. He told me that a partner of his told him that there was a non-kosher deli in town that was charging kosher prices. His partner told him that this was his “Eddie Jacobson Moment” to bring good kosher food to Stamford and revolutionize the community. He quickly briefed me on the Eddie Jacobson moment where Eddie Jacobson showed up to the White House unannounced to convince his best friend, President Harry Truman, to hold a meeting with Chaim Weizmann. Truman agreed and it led to the United States voting to support the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and the establishment of the State of Israel.
Glen takes great pride in owning a restaurant that the community knows it can go to. With approximately 75 new families a year settling in Stamford, he says that the restaurant stands as an important establishment to show stability in the area. As Glen said, a restaurant “symbolizes a viable community.” When I asked Glenn to sum up the restaurant business during Covid-19 in one word, he said “safety.” This falls in line with everything we said until now, that Six Thirteen is putting safety first. I asked him what advice he would give to someone who wanted to open a restaurant whether under the stress of Covid-19 or not and he said that you have to “create the right environment and provide a consistent dining experience”.
In terms of fine dining, Adam pointed out to me that they are the only sit-down full-service kosher restaurant in Connecticut. He emphasized that the food is always delectable and you always know that you’re in for a great experience. He gave me the highlights of the menu saying they have everything from wings to lamb chops. He recommended the beef ribs, steak au poivre, herb-crusted lamb chops and the hangar steak. In all, there are 15 high end entrees, including fish choices such as pan seared tuna and pan seared salmon. They also have a full cocktail and wine list.
Glen told me that Joe Lieberman, the four-term U.S. Senator from Connecticut and Vice-Presidential Candidate in the 2000 election, is a frequent visitor. Glen said about him and his wife, Hadassah, “there is no one sweeter than them.” If you’re so inclined you can order the “Joe Lieberman” dish, a sandwich with Pastrami, Corned Beef, Montreal Smoked Meat, Cole Slaw and Russian Dressing that is served with Fries.
Considering the exceptional political karma, fine dining experience and enhanced safety, Six Thirteen should be your next restaurant destination.