Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, Jewish Bagel Shop, Rescued By Muslim Cab Drivers
A 91-year-old New York Jewish bagel shop about to go under was saved by two former Muslim cab drivers who vowed to keep it kosher.
Coney Island Bialys and Bagels was set to close its doors in September, with longtime owner Steve Ross citing a bad economy as the culprit, the Jewish Daily Forward first reported.
But Peerzada Shah and Zafaryab Ali couldn't let that happen, so the two former New York cab drivers and one-time roommates bought the store together.
Ali had worked at the shop for about 10 years and didn't want to see the iconic neighborhood store shut down. Shah went to culinary school in Manhattan and was knowledgeable about ovens and baking equipment, the Jewish Daily explains. Both men immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan.
Ross' grandfather, Morris Rosenzweig immigrated from Poland and opened the shop in 1920.
Some might wonder whether the "geopolitics that divide Muslims and Jews" pose a problem, but all three men say it doesn't factor in anywhere.
"It doesn't matter," Ali told the New York Daily News. "I make the food for everyone."
A longtime customer also told WPIX he didn't have any issues with the religion of the two men.
The new business partners are renovating certain parts of the shop, but plan to use the same recipes, equipment and the kosher menu, MSNBC points out.
Joseph Jackson has worked at the shop for 30 years and decided to stay with the new owners.
"The two men are very, very good-natured, well-intentioned and just good people," Jackson told MSNBC. "They want to keep the bakery kosher and I want to help them succeed."
And he's not the only one who wishes them well.
"I'd like to see them flourish because they're making a product that my grandfather brought to this country," Ross told the New York Daily News.