September 25 marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year (or “head of the year,” in its Hebrew translation) and a time of celebration and family gathering. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world — it runs for two days and is followed by Yom Kippur (October 4 to 5, this year), a day of atonement and fasting. Together, they make the High Holidays, ten of the most sacred days on the Jewish calendar.
Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is a time for festive family meals. Symbolic foods like apples and honey represent a wish for a sweet new year, and challah, usually braided, is baked in a round. (Depending on the interpretation, the shape alludes to the circular nature of the year, to a crown for crowning God as king, or other meanings). Tender braised brisket and apple and honey cakes are a few other holiday favorites. If you’re opting for takeout or dine-in this year — or want to supplement a home-cooked meal with some challah or potato knishes — here are three Twin Cities restaurants serving Rosh Hashanah specials this year.
First opened in 1949 by Cecil and Faye Glickman, Cecil’s is the Twin Cities’ oldest Jewish deli, a historic mainstay on its corner of Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul. This year during Rosh Hashanah, the bakery will be selling crown challah, a traditional new year’s treat. Pre-orders are available and will open the week before the holiday begins. Otherwise, Cecil’s is a great place for classics like matzo ball soup, potato knishes, and latkes, plus a whole array of sandwiches, from brisket and egg salad to roast beef and spicy Reubens. The grocery section of the deli sells gefilte fish, too. Call to order.
This Minnetonka deli is serving both dine-in and takeout specials for Rosh Hashanah. Meal options include braised beef brisket, lamb shank, lemon-pepper-and-honey-glazed salmon, herbed roast chicken, flanken in a pot, and chicken in a pot — all come with a side of mashed potatoes and root vegetables. The Crossroads bakery is also selling a number of holiday items: Think honey cakes, apple cakes, apple crisp, kugel, chopped liver, matzo ball soup, and cabbage borscht. Crown challah are available too, in plain, raisin, and chocolate apricot varieties. Order online or call in.
Yum Kitchen has an entire new year menu available for order online. Stock up on plain or raisin challah, or opt for the sweet holiday challah, drizzled with icing and topped with sprinkles. (The bakery also sells loaves of caraway rye.) Matzo ball soup is sold in bowls and quarts, and chopped liver by the half-pint. Pair a whole roast chicken with potato knishes and apple harvest salad. For dessert, options include mini salted caramel apple pies, coconut cream cake, and Yum!’s signature patticake, a chocolate cake with cream cheese buttercream frosting.