A kosher restaurant is an eatery that must adhere to strict Jewish dietary rules. It operates under the supervision of a rabbi who ensures that the laws of the Kashrut are correctly and thoroughly observed. These types of restaurants usually serve either dairy or meat products, never both, in keeping with kosher dietary laws.
Kashrut is the body of law that dictates what foods can and cannot be eaten and how foods must be prepared when cooking kosher. These laws also designate how meat is to be butchered and stored. During Jewish holidays, these laws become even more stringent. Jews who follow these rules are said to "keep kosher."
In a kosher restaurant, certain foods such as pork are prohibited, and no outside food or drink may be brought in by customers. All blood must be completely removed from meat by either salting or soaking before it is served. Fruits and vegetables are always kosher, but must be thoroughly inspected before using to remove any bugs or dirt. The exception is any grape products that have not been made by Jews; these cannot be served at all. Grains, vegetables, fruits, eggs, and fish may be served with either meat or dairy dishes, but cannot be combined with both.
In addition, utensils that are used in a kosher restaurant must be solely for meat or dairy. This includes plates, bowls, pots, and pans as well as cooking and food preparation surfaces. If any of these has been used for a non-kosher food, it can no longer be involved in preparing anything kosher. Restaurants that do serve both meat and dairy may have separate meat and dairy kitchens. Those that do not must have two refrigerators, sinks, stoves, sets of dishes, and flatware.
Kosher restaurants must also obtain official kosher certification. Processed or packaged foods must also obtain this certification and are usually marked with one or more kosher symbols. This is done by a rabbi and involves inspecting food, seeing how it is to be prepared, and conducting periodic reinspections throughout the year to ensure that everything is up to standards. Contrary to popular belief, it does not involve blessing the food or the establishment.
One of the most popular foods served in a kosher restaurant is pizza. Kosher pizza cannot have a meat topping and is served with only cheese and sauce. Bagel shops and delis are also commonly kosher. In larger cities or countries with a large Jewish population, chain restaurants can be found that keep kosher.