It’s hard to find kosher food options in the DC area, particularly during a pandemic. But a new food truck and catering company called Schmaltz Brothers has launched within the past couple months with to-go options ranging from dill pickle-brined fried-chicken sandwiches to full Shabbat dinners.
The business is a collaboration between Chappall Gage, president of Susan Gage Caterers, and Yehuda Malka, a mostly self-taught chef who’s worked at Equinox and had his own small kosher catering business.
“For me, cooking has always been that thing where I see that thing that I cannot eat, and I want to be able to eat it. So I’m going to try to figure out how do I make that for myself and for my family,” Malka says.
Beyond the fried-chicken sandwich, the truck menu features a Bubbies brisket sandwich with coffee-roasted carrot jam and bourbon-caramelized onions. Both options come on toasted challah rolls, which the team bakes themselves to ensure they’re strictly kosher. You’ll also find a couple salads, a watermelon-tomato gazpacho, fried matzoh-ball bites, and chocolate babka.
Schmaltz Brothers is also supplying family-style Shabbat dinners that can feed five or six. The dinner menu includes some of the same options, like the brisket and gazpacho, alongside challah loaves with a trio of dips, peach and white wine-braised chicken, and spiced olive oil and arak cake with marinated plums.
Schmaltz Brothers is separate from Susan Gage and cooks out of the University of Maryland Hillel kitchen. Everything is overseen by a kosher supervisor, or mashgiach, from the Orthodox Union, who ensures nothing is contaminated by non-kosher ingredients. In fact, the team can’t even open its kitchen or operate its truck unless the mashgiach is there.
“I don’t have the key to my own food truck kitchen since I’m too close to it. Basically they want to make sure, okay, well, we have somebody who’s not an owner, who’s not involved with the actual company verifying that everything is on the up and up,” Malka says.
Even though they follow strict protocols, their target audience doesn’t necessarily do the same.
“Yes, we want kosher people to eat it. We also want everyone to enjoy it,” says Gage, who’s not kosher or Jewish. “The goal is to show that you can be kosher and hang with everybody else in the food scene.”
Schmaltz Brothers. 833-322-7364.