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Young Teaneck Brothers Open Kosher Eatery, Learn Experience On The Job

Steve, left, and Daniel Dimenstein with the specialty Coca Cola machine in Mediterranea. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
From left, Jonnie and Joe Lazerowitz hang out at Mediterranea in Teaneck with Tzvi Herzfeld. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Mediterranea in Teaneck offers quick, healthy meals with kosher and Middle Eastern flair. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

TEANECK, N.J. — A pair of young Teaneck brothers are bringing a Kosher Middle Eastern eatery to West Englewood Avenue.

Mediterranea Shawarma & Hummus Bar opened under the leadership of Steven and Daniel Dimenstein, who hope their youthful, health-consciousness will reflect in the quick-eats restaurant.

“We want to create a modern, friendly feel to the place," said Steve Dimenstein, 23, who opened his restaurant with his 19-year-old brother in October. "It creates an emotional response."

Steve, who will turn 24 next week, was a Torah Academy of Bergen County when he started working at Chopstix, and then Kosher Experience.

He learned catering and management while on the job and worked full-time in the restaurant business while attending Yeshiva University.

Despite his 8 years of experience working for "almost every restaurant owner on the block," nothing could have prepared the young restauranteur for the chaos that he faced in the first week of opening, he said.

"People said to expect the unexpected but I didn't know what to expect," Dimenstein said. "There are 150 moving parts and you have to make sure they're all working at one time."

The restaurant was a mob scene the first week "because everyone wanted to try the food," he said. "I don't think I slept at all that week because there were so many problems — the employees didn't know what to do yet."

Now, the brothers and their employees take a systematic approach to serving the shawarma, burgers and more.

"We have it down to an art-form," Dimenstein said.

The restaurant is among the few — and the only kosher one — in New Jersey that features a Coca Cola machine. Customers can tap the screen to choose more than 70 different soda options.

The drinks are sorted by categories such as low-calorie, caffeine-free and more.

Every customer can also make their own salads at the bar next to the register.

Tzvi Herzfeld, who was eating at the lime-green and navy-blue-themed restaurant on Thursday evening said his usual orders are shnitzel and schawarma.

“It’s a good place to chill and have a snack," he said.

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