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Blog Posted in avatar   Jonathan Farrell's Blog

Chef Ramni takes to the streets of San Francisco with his Knish creations

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By Jonathan Farrell
Posted Nov 24, 2012 in Food
When this reporter first met chef and caterer Ramni Levy earlier this year in February, I was impressed with his outgoing personality and determination. His candid honesty and his insight into all things food and catering caught my attention right away.
When he told me of his ideas of having a new twist on an old world favorite called a "knish" it was easy to respond with polite encouragement while thinking, "well we will see!"
Having been around many in the small business community here in San Francisco and having tried to put together a small business myself, "it is not easy!"
And, something as trendy as restaurants and food crazes come and go like the seasons. But, Levy keeps his eye on the trends and so far his intuitions have been correct. Over the last eight months or so, we have chatted by phone, corresponded via email and text, and met for lunch, always elaborating on his ideas about food business.
Almost immediately, Levy told me that San Francisco has great potential, but often is shortsighted because of so much bureaucracy, what else is new? Obtaining a permit of any kind can be complicated and time consuming. And, yes, costly. Determined business people in any city or town realize this and that is why those that stay in business are pro-active, even just a little aggressive.
Food vans and food carts are appearing many places. (There is one in the plaza in front of SF City Hall, believe it or not!) No sooner had I met Levy and I was surprised to learn that a local deli in my neighborhood, the Sunset District, called Sunrise Deli now has a van that serves food to customers at lunch time.
Levy's instincts about the food van and food cart enterprise have been uncanny. Since our initial meeting in February, I have made note of at least half-a-dozen food cart or food van vendors. In fact, just over a week ago, I was at Stonestown Mall (Galleria) here in San Francisco and right there at the main entrance is a food van called, "Melts."
This reporter observed that the line was steady, even at 7 PM at night, long after lunch crowds had gone. Shoppers have no set eating time and even though the mall has an extensive food court, and an "Olive Garden" "The Melt" did not cause a "melt-down" on the competition. It seemed it only enhanced the shopping experience, providing more choices and variety.
I was privileged to taste one of Levy's first knish creations and figured it would be a while before his product would be out there. Surprised again, Levy just recently, launched his knish creations and has been taking his culinary idea directly to the people. Never mind the mall, Levy went to the commuters at the Caltrans station at 4th and King Streets in San Francisco's Mission Bay area where AT&T Park is, the home of The SF Giants.
The reactions to his knishes were positive and I would not be surprised if Levy in the midst of advancing his knishes simultaneously launches his other food idea for San Francisco, 100 percent real Kosher foods.
"San Francisco has what I call 'Kosher-style' foods, he told me more than once, but this city does not really have a real authentic full Kosher restaurant as back East," said Levy. In his opinion, the food that is offered as Kosher in San Francisco is not up to that high standard. That is another goal he has set for himself and it is interesting to watch how this very determined chef and entrepreneur, reaches his goals.
Being the son of a rabbi, it is safe to say that Levy should know what he is talking about. It would not surprise this reporter if Levy finds a spot on the Food Network, why not! Levy's energy is upbeat, outgoing and most of all wants only to share some of the best food around.
To learn more about chef Ramni Levy, visit his web site.

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