A large red “For Sale” sign adorns the front window of Fumio Grill and Sushi. The Livingston restaurant closed its doors on July 27, almost two months after losing its kosher certification from the local Va’ad HaKashrut of MetroWest.
“We feel we’ve been blackballed,” said Abie Bilgoray, who managed the restaurant, owned by Kevin Lipka.
After the Va’ad HaKashrut of MetroWest withdrew its hechsher, or kosher certification, on May 30, the restaurant closed its doors temporarily, and reopened under the supervision of the Passaic–based KOA Kosher on June 15.
But customers did not come. “The business just started crumbling,” said Bilgoray in a telephone interview. “No one came.” He also pointed out that the restaurant “used to do a ton of catering at the area shuls. But we couldn’t do it anymore.” The synagogues weren’t calling.
The Vaad does not comment on or discuss its relationships with vendors that have or have had its certification.
Originally opened as a non-kosher Asian restaurant and named for its chef, Fumio’s went through several incarnations before becoming a kosher restaurant in 2008, then owned by entrepreneur Ben Paniri. In 2012, current owner Kevin Lipka took over.
The restaurant is now for sale.