Today's Special: UI's Allen Hall gets cafeteria with kosher meals

Today's Special: UI's Allen Hall gets cafeteria with kosher meals

URBANA — A University of Illinois residence hall now has a cafeteria that serves kosher meals.

Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, director of Illini Chabad, said that the cafeteria opened Aug. 29 on the lower level at Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, U.

"This is a major breakthrough for Jewish life on campus," Tiechtel said. "This is an issue students and parents have been asking me about since I first moved here in 2003. And it's happening."

The meals are available from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. Sunday through Thursday during the academic year while the dining halls are in operation.

Tiechtel reports the dining hall is getting as many as 70 students per evening so far.

"We had a kosher line for many years, and now we have a kosher dining area in the hall that is open to all people," he said. "You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy it. Everyone can come here and buy a meal."

Tiechtel said the dining hall will have various theme nights throughout the year, including Deli Night, with all kinds of kosher deli foods; Vegetarian Night; and Fish Night with beer-battered fish."It is all you can eat," he said.

Tiechtel himself is certifying the kosher meals.

"We also have gluten-free foods on request," he said.

He said the opening of the dining hall could make the UI more attractive for prospective students.

"There are people who look at a university to see if kosher food is being served," he said.

He said the opening in Allen Hall is the culmination of an effort he began 10 years ago to bring kosher food to campus.