Nice Jewish Goys: No Religion Required in New Shabbat Traditions

Lobster kugel, anyone?

City|Grit's "Southern Shabbat" dinner (Shao-Yu Liu)

City Grit’s “Southern Shabbat” dinner. (Shao-Yu Liu)

Last Friday night, a group of 20-something foodies gathered to celebrate Shabbat. Well, maybe not “celebrate” in the traditional sense of prayers and candles, but a Sabbath meal all the same. In the back of a thrift store on the corner of Prince and Mott Streets, two long wooden tables had been erected for a family-style eating experience among the displays of distressed jeans and vintage belts.

Several times a week, the store is turned from a Soho boutique into City Grit, a “culinary salon” founded in 2011 by Sarah Simmons, an emerging chef recently named one of “America’s Greatest New Cooks” by Food & Wine magazine. Ms. Simmons was standing in front of a comfortably packed room, explaining the genesis of her “Southern Shabbat” dinner, which we’d soon be tucking into.