Before Teaneck became known for its plethora of kosher establishments, there was just one place for kosher consumers, or for anyone who enjoyed good take-out. Ma’adan.
It’s 36 years later, now, and Ma’adan still is the crown jewel of Cedar Lane — but its owners, Stuart Kahan and Yossi Markovic, are passing the torch. This Teaneck treasure, with its tried and true appetizers, tantalizing delicacies, and just plain delicious comfort food, will now be under the ownership of Jonathan “Jonny” Shore.
But do not fear, the cole slaw will be unchanged. All the recipes are staying. And Stuart and Yossi aren’t going anywhere either, at least not yet.
Mr. Shore, who is originally from Montreal, has lived in Teaneck with his wife and family for almost 10 years. No stranger to the food industry, he has built his career working for various restaurants and kosher caterers. Though a real state agent had approached him about buying Ma’adan months before, after reading the Jewish Standard’s story about its being for sale (“A Fulfilling Life in Food,” July 13, 2017), Mr. Shore had just started a new job and was not interested.
Still, a seed was planted.
“I knew Stuart and Yossi from the community,” Mr. Shore said. “I had gone to them for advice about catering and ordering procedures when I had been part of other food establishments. They were always so forthcoming and gracious. I knew they were great guys and ran a great business.”
So, a few months later, after some encouragement from close friends and family, Mr. Shore decided he wanted to buy the business after all.
One reason for that decision was Ma’adan’s meaning to the community, Mr. Shore said. “I had read the article in the Standard and was especially drawn to the fact that Stuart and Yossi had wanted to stay on for a few years after the sale. After our first conversation, it just felt right. I wouldn’t just be buying a business, I would become part of a 36-year system of great service and consistency.”
Mr. Kahan and Mr. Markovic have many reasons to want to stay at Ma’adan for a bit longer. “Our wives aren’t ready for us to retire,” they joked. “But seriously, it was very important to us to make this process as seamless as possible,” Mr. Kahan added. “It’s easy to make a recipe, and we have all of those recipes for Jonny, but it isn’t as easy to know how much to order to make the recipe, how much to put out, when the demand is for certain food item over others. That comes from experience.”
And those are experiences that the seasoned experts are happy to share with their new boss.
Mr. Markovic emphasized the importance of keeping the transition as smooth as possible. “There are organizations and people who depend on us, and we didn’t want to sell to just anyone,” he said. “We have an emotional connection to the store, because it has become our second home, and because the community has let us in to their lives.
“We take that responsibility very seriously.”
“Ma’adan has done weddings, brisses, shiva house meals — they have been an integral part of people’s lives,” Mr. Shore said. “There is something very beautiful about that. I just want to continue in that tradition.”
He knows about how important continuity in a business can be to a community, he added; his father and uncle had owned a pharmacy in Montreal for 60 years, so he has been able to see that loyalty firsthand.
Ma’adan’s staff will stay in their jobs under the new ownership. As for any changes, Mr. Shore said, “Right now I am focused on learning the business. The store is extremely busy right before Passover, but after, when things quiet down a bit, I will be able to learn the ins and outs of making sure things run smoothly.
“But before I do anything, whether it’s making aesthetic changes to the physical space, or adding new items to the menu, I will be running it by Stu and Yossi.”
And what are Stuart and Yossi’s plans?
After they finally leave Ma’adan, “With God’s help, I am hoping to travel, volunteer within the food industry, possibly play the guitar and take ulpan,” Mr. Kahan said.
“For the past few years, on my Wednesdays off, I have been entertaining residents of assisted living facilities with my comedy,” Mr. Markovic said; he hopes to continue to do that.
“We are confident that Jonny will do us proud and will continue our legacy,” they both added.