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There is a known halacha that one shouldn't eat in a non-kosher resteraunt due to Maaras Ayin, even though they serve kosher food also.

What defines a non-Kosher restaurant?

McDonald's is probably the most famous non-kosher restaurant out there.

What about Starbucks? There are kosher Starbucks drinks, and non-kosher Starbucks food. Yet the cRc allows drinking (kosher) Starbucks beverages.

7-11 has kosher and non-kosher food.

What's the difference between McDonald's, Starbucks and 7-11?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Rabbi Heinemann (shlit"a)'s opinion:

Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, Rabbinic Administrator of the Star-K, is of the opinion that if the restaurant is known mainly for the traif, non-kosher, products it sells, McDonald's, for example, then going into such a place [just to buy a plain coffee] would constitute marris ayin. An establishment like a coffee shop or highway rest stop that sells many kosher and non-kosher items and is not known for a particular traif product would not be problematic.

When people think McDonald's, they think: burgers. (Not kosher.)

When people think 7-11, they think: um, Slurpees, I'd assume? Or a gazillion different things? (Many of which are kosher.)

When people think Starbucks, they think: coffee. (Kosher.)

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3  
7-11 also evokes cigarettes, lottery tickets, and other non-food purchases. –  Isaac Moses Jun 28 '13 at 14:01
    
Like what @IsaacMoses said, 7-11 is also not a restaurant. It's much more like a food store. I can't imagine there'd ever be a problem shopping in a regular super market, even if they have a world-famous deli that is known for it's delicious pork chops. –  Daniel Jun 28 '13 at 19:40
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What about places that are known for...both? Many Orthodox families take their kids to Chuck E. Cheese's to play. It's well-known as an arcade and a (treif) pizza place. –  Seth J Jun 28 '13 at 20:03

I sent an e-mail message to the Institute of Halacha at the Star-K. Here is the response that I received shortly after:

Hello,

Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that there is an issue of maaris ayin if a person goes to a non-kosher restaurant.  McDonalds would certainly classify as a non-Jewish restaurant.  However, even though Starbucks does sell some non-kosher items, it is generally considered by people to be a coffee shop, and I do not think that there is any maaris ayin issue involved in entering a Starbucks and ordering a coffee.

Wishing you a good Shabbos.

 

Rabbi Mordechai Frankel

The Institute of Halacha at the Star-K

halacha@star-k.org

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Thanks for the edit, Chuck! –  Adam Mosheh Jul 2 '13 at 16:39

There is a general prohibition to do things which lead people to think that one is transgressing a prohibition, or which will mislead people to think that something is permitted when it is really prohibited. There are no clear guidelines as to how to apply this prohibition. Therefore, a person should take into consideration these factors as to what effect his actions will have. Thus, if no one will suspect that he is eating not kosher, and no one will be mislead that the restaurant is kosher, it is permitted to eat there kosher food. If this is not the case, then one should refrain. In a case of special need, one may be lenient even though there is a concern someone might see him and suspect him. Please see the following link for sources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rQVMADxKyYWoUyayPeLX134TbPKCnN4w0e5kxEq-dek/edit?usp=sharing

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