AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – This holiday season, some of our community is getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah. While it’s not the biggest Jewish holiday on the calendar, there’s a special place everyone can go to make sure the celebration includes great, traditional food.
It’s a tight knit kosher community in Amherst, and everyone knows Nissan Berg.
A frequent customer Deborah Wallan said, “Nissan is our little New York here in this corner of the store.” He came here from Latvia as a refugee in 1966 and says he just loves Buffalo.
He said, “I love when I go outside and people who see me for the first time, say hello to me. For me, that’s important.”
He is the Orthodox Jewish owner of Nissan’s kosher deli. He rents out space inside the Tops on Maple Avenue. This store is one of the biggest supermarkets in Western New York.
Berg said, “God brought me here. Before me, no kosher place here.” He has one of the biggest selections of truly kosher products in North America. He sells more than three thousand different items. It’s not easy for Berg. He works 12 to 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. He takes one day off on the Sabbath. He hasn’t taken a vacation in 21 years.
He said, “You never see my face upset or negative.” He caters to the dietary needs of fellow Orthodox Jews in Buffalo, and every product is kosher certified.
Wallan said, “There’s really no other place in Buffalo to get it. You would have to go a real city with Jewish stuff like New York, Toronto or Los Angeles.”
But keeping kosher means you only eat certain animals, you can’t eat certain foods together and food must be prepared in a certain way. Berg said, “Kosher by translation means very,very clean. It doesn’t mean you take soap and you are kosher- no!”
But, of course you don’t have to be orthodox or Jewish to enjoy Berg’s food. Hint: He swears by his chocolate chip cookies!
More on the deli can be found at his website here.