Nestled on the main thoroughfare of the Rathmines neighborhood in Dublin, Ireland, between an Irish pub and a block of the city’s ubiquitous row houses is a red brick building. Its wrought-iron fence and ornamental brickwork contain the city’s Chabad House, directed by Rabbi Zalman and Rivkah Lent, who direct Chabad of Ireland. Built as a schoolhouse in the 1800s, the building continues its history of education — but now visitors can learn about Judaism while enjoying classic kosher fare at Deli 613, the first kosher deli on the island in decades.
The deli is Chabad of Ireland’s latest venture serving the country’s 2,500 Jewish residents and the many thousands of Jewish tourists who visit Dublin each year—and large numbers of local Irish patrons, who enjoy the delicious menu alongside their Jewish compatriots. Their menu features a selection designed to make the local Irish Jewish community — which traces its roots more than 350 years back — feel right at home, with favorites like salt beef and smoked salmon sandwiches alongside chopped liver and chopped herring. Middle eastern dishes like shawarma, falafel and hummus are served alongside staples like matzah ball soup and latkes, and there’s something for everyone who walks through the door.
And walk through the door they have.
Since the deli opened in March, it has quickly become a favorite for residents and visitors alike. The Irish Times gave the deli an enthusiastic 4.5-star review, describing the food as “fresh and very tasty” and calling the restaurant “A great addition to the neighborhood.” Visitors have included Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, legendary footballer Graeme Souness, food writer and TV host Donal Skehan and actor Colm Meaney.
The restaurant serves as a crucial kosher resource, as the deli also includes a grocery and offers carryout foods, and patrons can order kosher food for delivery across the city. It’s also more than that. Deli 613 has become a way for Jewish people to connect with the community in a welcoming and unobtrusive environment — just the latest way Rabbi Zalman and Rivkah Lent continue to create opportunities for Jewish connection and facilitate Jewish observance in Ireland.