Benny and Ephrat Lieblich, owners of the soon-to-open Ladle & Loaf restaurant, moved to New Haven five years ago with a dream of opening up a restaurant. They wanted to provide the Jewish and general community with not only quality, tasty, fresh food but food that would be kosher as well.
“When we found New Haven, we couldn’t believe that there were so many wonderful amenities and a well-established Jewish community here. However, there were no glatt kosher dining options for at least a 30-minute drive.”
Being that they are a strictly kosher eating family, the Lieblich family struggled in the current kosher dining “drought.” Benny, a culinary school graduate, spent more than a decade working in the food industry. Ephrat, a former executive office manager and graphics designer, says the restaurant is a combination of both of their skill sets.
“We want to bring quality Middle Eastern food that everyone can enjoy. But we wanted to do it with a twist. Following Alexander the Great’s conquests, the soldiers would bring spices back from their travels; those spices were incorporated in the local cuisine spanning from India to Northern Africa,” explains Benny, a bit of a history buff .
Ladle & Loaf will have a small variety of dishes using that region as their guide. There will be some vegetarian options on the menu too that will be cooked using separate equipment. Some menu items will remain on as staples while others will be rotated semi-annually.
The restaurant will have counter service with a display refrigerator for Shabbos takeout. Once open, they intend to follow the health department’s guidelines regarding food safety and COVID-19.
“When we decided to take the leap of faith last December and sign our lease for Ladle & Loaf, we had little idea of the challenges that would come with starting such an endeavor. Going into the industry, we checked our stats, the local demographic and more; however, not in our wildest dreams did we predict that a pandemic would hit. When the pandemic started, we were in the midst of our building inspections. We watched as our initial March opening date moved from one month to the next as we waited for the curve to flatten. Throughout the build-out process, we hit obstacle after obstacle,” say the Lieblichs. But they are opening now!
When deciding to move from Brooklyn to New Haven, away from most of their family and friends, the Lieblichs wrote a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe asking for a blessing for success and guidance. The answer that they received through the Igrot Kodesh was blessings for success and to bring glatt kosher food to a Jewish community that didn’t have any.
“Just before signing our lease, our investor fell through; we were at an impasse: do we sign or find a new investor? We decided to sign the lease and pay the security deposit without an investor, believing that the blessings of the Rebbe would come through. Sure enough, the next day an investor called and gave us the amount needed,” they say.
Despite the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic, the Lieblichs feel confident that the restaurant will be a success. “We feel this way due to our incredible families, friends and supportive community who continue to encourage us despite the many setbacks and delays we have been through over the past nine months.”
Ladle & loaf will be located at 357 Whalley Avenue in New Haven, situated between the Westville and Downtown New Haven communities. Conveniently located between I95 and the Merritt Parkway, it is also a quick drive from New Haven’s Metro North station.
While their website is under construction, you can find them on social media at Instagram.com/ladleandloaf and Facebook.com/ladleandloaf. The restaurant’s grand opening will be announced on both platforms.