MILWAUKEE – He started in July 2019, making kosher deliveries out of his car. Now, he’s got a storefront, two employees, and dreams of offering sit-down service with pizza-by-the-slice.
“I love it. I absolutely love it,” said the Milwaukee-born member of Congregation Beth Jehudah. “I get to deal with people every day.”
Mordechai Bates entered the local kosher food business after the iconic Kosher Meat Klub closed, leaving a void. The QuickKosher storefront is steps away from that former business, at 4833 W. Burleigh St., close to the observant west side community.
“We definitely serve more than kosher shoppers, for sure,” Bates said. “It used to be just these few blocks knew about us. We had a smattering. Now we really sell to this whole community and pretty much every walk of life comes here.”
People come because they like a particular brand or food item offered, because they see kosher as quality, for convenience, or because they’re Muslim and share some dietary restrictions with Jews, he said.
“It’s a very complicated business, which I really enjoy. There’s always some puzzle to solve,” Bates said. “From shipping logistics to bringing in new products to how do I bring the cost down so my customers can afford this item. It’s available in New York. How do we get it here in a way that is affordable?”
“I didn’t know anything about this business. So, everything that I’ve done I’ve made it up and I’ve had to learn on the fly.”
In addition to enjoying the puzzles of the business, he loves the people part of it. Those two elements came together when he tracked down kosher baby formula for a customer who was out – just before Shabbat.
Bates had previously considered medical school. He opened QuicKosher when he saw the unfilled local need for kosher products.
“I couldn’t have predicted I would be here in this place a year ago. I don’t think I would have believed I’d be here this quickly,” he said. “You think you know what your path in life is. You think you know what is going to be most meaningful for you.”
Then, life takes you elsewhere.
QuicKosher’s ground beef
Bates said he keeps adding new product lines. His fastest selling item may be his ground beef.
“There are people who come from Mequon just because they like our ground beef, who buy 15-20 pounds of it,” Bates said. “The way that we do our meat specifically is very unique. First of all, the meat products are frozen and are frozen from the time of manufacture. So it never sits for any period of time losing quality. It also helps me bring the price down for customers, but it retains that quality.”
A third party processes the meat for him, so he controls what goes into it. He’s not a grocer who simply orders beef and doesn’t know how it’s made or what’s in it, he said.
“It’s the exact same cut of meat that gets ground for that product every single time. And if we don’t have it, we don’t replace it,” he said. “I produce a lot of it so I can wait until it comes back and then don’t substitute. That helps the flavor to be consistent and keeps the quality what the customer would expect.”
“I would like to add prepared foods,” Bates said. He would like to offer deli and pizza by-the-slice that you can sit and eat. Bates said he also wants to expand his hours and offer more delivery. He doesn’t have a timeline for these ideas; they’re just future goals.
His message for the community: “We’re here for them. We’re here to provide a service, to have affordable, quality food. That’s really our passion, to bring the best quality to Milwaukee.”
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- QuicKosher.com (for delivery and pick-up)
- 4833 W. Burleigh St., Milwaukee
- Store hours:
Friday, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, 3-7 p.m.
Tuesday, 8-10:30 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.
Wednesday, 3-7 p.m.
Thursday, 7:30-10 a.m. and 3-8 p.m.