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The London Grill restaurant serves a "Newish Jewish" Passover menu this week. Credit: Raffi Holoszyc-Pimentel

This year, those interested in experiencing a different kind of Passover can find fully prepared Seder meals at several restaurants downtown and nearby.

London Grill — located at 2301 Fairmount Ave. — along with Supper, at 9th and South streets, will offer Seder dinners.

Zahav — located at 237 St. James Place — and the Marathon Grill near campus at 40th and Walnut streets, will both offer Passover menus.

London Grill Manager Cristina Tessaro said the restaurant is not kosher, but the owners say they offer “newish-Jewish cuisine, which is a modern take on traditional Seder dinners.” The menu is a $40 fixed meal.

Tessaro stressed that the Seder dinner will not be strict, but that the restaurant will provide customers with all the “necessary materials to do the prayers and eat dinner,” such as the Seder plate and a book of prayers.

At Supper restaurant, the Passover menu will feature traditional dishes, such as gefilte fish. The menu has a fixed price of $50 per person and $25 per person for those 12 and under.

London Grill and Supper hosted Seder dinners Monday night and will host another tonight.

For those not interested in Seder dinners, Zahav and Marathon Grill will insert Passover menus into their regular menus.

From March 29 through April 6, Zahav, an Israeli-Mediterranean restaurant, will have a $42 per person fixed Passover menu with food such as handmade matzah and roasted matzah balls.

Marathon Grill Assistant General Manager Bob Hughes said the prices on the restaurant’s Passover menu will range from $11 to $15.

While the options of celebrating Passover are expanding to more restaurants, many students prefer to go home or stay on campus.

“I’d be willing to try it, but I don’t think it would be a first choice,” College junior and former Co-Chair of the Conservative Jewish Community Debbie Schub said. “Hillel does an incredible job of organizing Seders all over campus, and there’s such a variety of Seders going on.”

College junior and Penn Hillel President Naomi Kaplan agreed.

“From what I’ve seen the options are pretty expensive… and there are cheaper options on campus. While it’s nice that restaurants are doing this, you don’t need to go downtown to keep Passover,” she said.

Rabbi Mike Uram, incoming director of Penn Hillel, said he thought the restaurants “serving food for cultural reasons is great,” but that his concern was in students assuming “that because it’s Passover food that the food is kosher for Passover, and it’s not.” For that reason, he encouraged students stay on campus, where Passover food is kosher.

Uram also added that this year, Bon Appetit is providing the kosher food.

“We’re expecting to serve tonight and tomorrow about 1,500 Seder meals both in Penn Hillel and all over campus,” he said.

“There will be a lot of people who are not Jewish at these Seder dinners. It’s a great opportunity to explore a culture that may not be your own,” he added.

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