Manchester’s longest-running kosher restaurant which was targeted with an arson attack reopened its takeaway service today after what the owner called a “long, tough battle”.
JS, in Prestwich, in the north of the city, suffered “massive fire damage” in June last year when arsonists forced open a window, pouring in flammable liquid which was then set alight.
It happened just days after a failed attack on nearby eatery Taam. At the time Greater Manchester Police treated the attacks as “antisemitic hate crimes”, saying officers believed they were linked.
No one was hurt in either attack.
Today JS’ takeaway section, which has seating for 50 customers, opened for the first time in nine months, with the 100-seat dining room due to open a week after Pesach.
Michael Issler, who has owned JS for 11 years, said: “It has been a long, tough battle. I would not wish this even on my worst enemy. It has taken a toll on us – physically, mentally and emotionally.
“I didn’t sleep for a week before today. Everything was up in the air for a while, and you always worry whether business will be the same as it was before.”
JS originally opened in Prestwich in 1956, with Mr Issler taking over in 2006.
About 100 customers were served during the lunchtime rush today, and Mr Issler said that he received “huge encouragement and support” from the local community during the nine-month closure.
Mr Issler said he took the opportunity to redesign the restaurant’s layout, hire a new chef and tweak the menu.
He said: “The new theme of the décor is basically more rustic; we have used reclaimed wood and it’s more modern and well-lit.
“Today was encouraging. A lot of people came down. We hope it will continue – time will tell.”