All CLOVER Restaurants, Trucks, & Catering in Boston Area are Becoming Kosher

Last updated: June 28, 2015

Translate this post:


UPDATE: Kashrut is under Rabbi Dolinger of Rhode Island. See below.

In a recent announcement on their blog, the farm-to-table dairy / vegetarian Boston-based restaurant chain, Clover Food Lab, is becoming kosher. This includes all of their kitchens and food trucks.  In fact, Clover’s HUB restaurant (Cambridge), food trucks, and large catering orders are already certified kosher; all other restaurants will be kosher within two weeks. 

Clover has a half dozen restaurants and another 6+ food trucks in the metro Boston area. Use the map below to locate their restaurants and food trucks.

clover-kosher-boston-restaurant-vegetarianAdditionally, Clover has been getting prepared foods into Massachusetts Whole Foods stores, which with the kashering of their catering kitchens mean that too will be kosher later this year!

Clover is kosher certified under the supervision Rabbi Barry Dolinger of Congregation Beth Shalom in Rhode Island.

About The Author

  • Yael Aldrich

    The pictures and post mention a rabbi who is on the Va’ad of Providence RI. Perhaps that’s who is doing the supervision.

    • Yes. Realized this. Although the post doesn’t name Rabbi Dolinger as kosher certifier. I’ve emailed him.

      • Yael Aldrich

        Yes, I hope that this means someone knowledgeable is helping Clover make themselves kosher in a way that will help them (their bottom line) and us! Otherwise, he’s spending a lot of time and money for little return.

      • Glen

        I have been told it is Rabbi Dolinger and he is allowing geinat akum as the standard cheese. I don’t know of any major kashrut orginazation that would accept this. They all would consider this cheese non-kosher and that would impact all of the keilim as well.

        • awaiting his reply to my email

          • Benji

            You should just know that although Rabbi Dolinger IS a part of the Va’ad of Rhode Island, he went off on his own in terms of this and the Va’ad does NOT give it’s Hechsher or approval. Most of the orthadox people in Rhode island (me being one of them) does not follow Rabbi Dolinger’s Hechsher and only follow the Va’ad as a whole or KVH (Boston hechsher).

        • Yisroel

          Hmm, I’m not aware of his opinion on cheese. If what you said is true, that certainly places his hashgacha firmly outside the realm of being an acceptable Orthodox hashgacha.

  • Yisroel

    This looks like it will be under Rabbi Barry Dolinger’s hashgacha. He is the Rav of a Modern Orthodox shul in Providence.

    I do not have any specific information on his hashgacha, but I know it is not accepted by the Vaad Hakashrut of Rhode Island and many in the Rhode Island community do not hold by it. From what I know, he is more meikil on washing/checking for bugs than others are, and in an article about a restaurant under his hashgacha it mentioned that he holds that glazed ceramic (cheres) has a din of glass, and is therefore always parve. Thus, in restaurants that he’s kashered the ceramic plates/bowls have not been replaced. Also, there are restaurants under his supervision that serve non-kosher wine.

    I wish him success in this, but I also hope that he’s not getting in over his head. Boston has worked hard to develop I high standard of kashrus through the KVH and Badatz Boston. Having a Rabbi from a different community step in could be a bad move…

    • awaiting his reply

      • Yisroel

        hear anything back yet?

  • Barry Dolinger

    Hi All, I’m Barry Dolinger, the supervising Rabbi, and deeply appreciate the thoughtful discussion/dialogue going on here. Great to hear a discussion of issues rather than simple statements about acceptability, and I truly believe that however people hold on a particular halachic issue, civil discourse and reasoned discussion is always the way to go!

    At Clover, all utensils/etc. used in the production of the food were kashered. The only differences between this and a major organization are (1) the washing of bugs (there’s a very thorough system in place at Clover, which is certainly halachically satisfactory, but doesn’t rely on the hand checking of an observant Jew, as some places would) (2) The absence of a mashgiach temidi in place of a yotzei v’nichnas, which is halachically and realistically fine at a vegetarian restaurant and (3) the biggest issue, the use of one particular cheddar cheese.

    Below, I’ve copied somewhat lengthy thoughts on the cheese issue, so people are fully informed but also aware of my thinking. I’m a big believer in transparency, and also think it’s a good discussion to have:

    As to the gevinas Akum issue, it’s obviously a long complicated sugya. That being said, many great Rabbonim did and do permit, particularly with the reality that the vast majority of American cheeses are produced only with microbial or vegetable rennets. We would argue, as did Rabbeinu Tam on Avodah Zarah, that Chazal never made a gezeirah in a situation whereby the gezeirah was not for a problem of sufficient commonality (davar she’lo schiach lo gazro bei rabanan), which is why the Rabbeinu Tam permitted in his location. Moreover, there’s an debate between the Rema and the Shach as to what actually renders something gevinas Yisrael. The Rema holds that Yisrael Roehu (Jewish supervision) renders something gevinas Yisrael, whereas the Shach compares it to Bishul Akum and notes that a Jew should take part in the process. Fundamentally, Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Noda Beyehuda, and many others note that the plain law is like the Rema in this debate, even if we might be stringent for the Shach in some cases. Many explain that since the Talmud considers spot checks like constant supervision (Yotzei v’nichnas K’omed al gabav), spot checks are sufficient to satisfy the Rema’s requirement of gevinas Yisrael. As the Taz expains the Rema, it is about knowledge of the ingredients and resolving the doubt, not a decree without a reason.

    At Clover, there is one cheese in question, produced from Grafton Village (a cheddar). It is clearly a kosher cheese, produced only with microbial rennet without any doubt as to safeik. In some ways, I believe that there’s a strong argument to be made that FDA supervision, public standards, reputation etc. remove from us any halachically sufficient doubt, and constructively satisfy the Rema. Nonetheless, I’ll be working with the cheese company to see if we could move to a stricter level of certification, including either spot checks or some form of constant supervision (perhaps including video supervision), which the OU and other major companies use bediavad.

    Two other important notes: 1) The Rema also opines that some have a custom to be lenient in this regard, and they may follow this opinion, though others not. 2) Major Rabbis ruled that in our time and place, it is okay, for a host of different reasons. Most prominently, these included Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik z”l, Rabbi Safra (Tablet K), Rabbi Taub (KORC out west), and others. Rabbi Isaac Klein (though affiliated with JTS, he was a tremendous talmid chacham and a major sage from the old school) famously ruled that even cheeses with animal rennet in our day are not the same as they once were, as the rennet is nifsal and no longer even considered an animal derivative, further suggesting the decree should not be applied in our time and place (see here

    Given the weight of the reality, it seems clear to me and several others that the issur either should not apply or that its conditions have constructively been met. For soft cheeses that contain rennet but don’t necessarily require it, even major organizations like the OU are lenient, suggesting they are not really cheeses. A very similar sevara could/should be applied here as well.

    Either way, I will certainly work to insure that, if possible, the cheese is given a higher level of supervision so that those who hold other opinions on the matter might feel comfortable eating there :-) I know that I have many friends, students, etc. in the area who feel comfortable relying on this ruling in the interim.

    • Sam

      Is Rabbi Dolinger Orthodox ? He seems to be relying on Reform and Conservative sources to permit this cheese.

      • Barry Dolinger

        I’m an Orthodox Rabbi and a graduate of RIETS. The positions of Rav Soloveitchik, the Rabbeinu Tam, Rema, Taz, et. al. aren’t reform. This is a puzzling comment.

        • Sam

          Oh I’m sorry. I’m not an expert in halachic process but I saw the references to R Safra, a reform Rabbi, as well as the cite from a conservative Rabbi. My understanding is that an orthodox Rabbi would not use those sources in his conclusions. Again, apologies.

          • Dovid Rosenbaum

            Rabbi Saffra is a riets musmach.

  • NANDAN services about 95% of the Hi-Lift market in India. A wide variety of chassis, designs, ancillary features, customization and functionality have led to immense popularity of NANDAN Catering Truck Hi-Lifts.

    Find out our innovative airport solutions: