By Pamela Rosenberg
A new kosher restaurant is set to open early next month at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (JCC).
Babi’s Restaurant, a dairy and pareve operation, will serve fresh baked goods, healthy foods like homemade protein bars and smoothies, plus a variety of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare.
Owner and operator Shabi Baruch, a trained pastry chef, says he will be baking and serving croissants, scones and other sweet and savoury treats, plus eggs and salads for breakfast. Lunch will be on the same scale with salads and other meals that include protein.
While Baruch has many ideas for his new restaurant, he plans to start with a limited menu, gradually adding items as he goes.
“I will start strong, service-wise, and then build depending on what the people want. I will see the demands of the customers and adjust as I go,” said Baruch. “I am planning to provide catering, but, for now, I want to focus on the JCC and establish a strong business. Slowly, I will add takeout and catering.”
Baruch plans to have Babi’s up and running by early-August and to be open for limited hours during the rest of the summer. He’ll extend his hours in September when the restaurant will begin the day with breakfast at 7 am and continue cooking until around 7 pm. Friday hours will be shorter due to Shabbat.
Originally from Israel, Baruch arrived in Ottawa six years ago and attended the Pastry Arts School at Algonquin College. After completing the program, he spent three-and-a-half years as a pastry chef at Moulin de Provence Bakery in the ByWard Market.
Following his stint at the downtown bakery, Baruch began his own catering company, specializing in Mediterranean food for Ottawa’s Israeli community. Next, he relocated to Toronto and took a contract with the City of Toronto as a city event caterer.
Finishing his contract in Toronto, Baruch returned to Ottawa to open Babi’s at the Soloway JCC.
“We are very excited about Babi’s Restaurant at the JCC. I am confident, after meeting extensively with Shabi Baruch, that we will have a good selection of quality and healthy foods for our JCC members and users,” said Barry Sohn, Soloway JCC president and COO. “I believe it will be worth the wait!”