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Is there a problem with maris ayin to enter a non-kosher restaurant and order just a drink?

Let's say that in the first case the restaurant in question is a fast-food place and the second case is a "sit-down" place. The differences between these two cases would be:

  1. In a fast-food restaurant, the cups are disposable and are not reused, whereas in a sit-down restaurant the cups are non-disposable and are reused after being washed.

  2. In a fast-food restaurant, you don't have to sit at a table; you could order your drink and promptly walk out afterwards, whereas in a sit-down restaurant you would have to get a table, order through a waiter, etc.

Would any of these points make a difference in the din?

Note: I've asked this question to dinonline also, for real Rabbinic advice, as this site is not intended for genuine psak halacha. When the question is, b'ezras Hashem, answered, I will post a link here.

  • Using glassware at the sit-down restaurant would probably be a kashrut problem. Washing may not necessarily resolve this problem. By comparison, see star-k.org/articles/kosher-lists/1709/starbucks regarding having coffee in a Starbucks. He addresses the possible problems of the espresso shot glasses. BTW, you might be able to extract ideas from that article to answer Q1. Starbucks may be a non-kosher restaurant, depending on what they serve besides coffee, and coffee is a drink. – DanF Feb 12 '18 at 21:06
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R Chaim Cohen here and dinonline here both understand R Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:96) as allowing one to have a drink in a coffee shop that sells non-Kosher food, as others will assume that they are only consuming Kosher food, but NOT to eat (kosher food) there. dinonline sees the case of a fast-food restaurant where you buy and leave as making it even easier to permit.

For a much more detailed review, see here, which is chapter 4 of R Ari Wasserman's very good book Making It Work - A Practical Guide to Halacha in the Workplace.

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In an OU webcast this was discussed with Rav Belsky and Rav Shachter regarding a cup of coffee. One of them said (and the other agreed) that in the NY area, the onlookker understands that one is just walking in for a cup of coffee. They did not explain why it was limited to the NY area, but one can infer that the halacha would change on how the onlooker in that particular area would think. (Perhaps in the hustle of a city, it is understood that one would just go to a resturaunt for a cup of coffee?)

They did add that going into a restaurant with an unreliable hechser would be maris ayin.

Unfortuantely, this was a few years ago and I cannot find a link to that webinar.

I wonder if "Ed Echad" applies in this situaion....(meaning my testimony that they said this).

  • The interesting thing regarding Mar'it Ayin is that there is a general rule that anything prohibited because of Mar'it Ayin is prohibited even in an inner room where no one will see. So, I'm surprised that they limit this to NYC where there is a high volume of "kashrut fights" where Va'adei Rabbanim prohibit people from entering even a kosher restaurant that's not a "good enough" hechser for them. Kal Vachomer, it should be a more serious problem entering a non-kosher place. – DanF Feb 11 '18 at 17:39

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