Situated 7,000 feet above sea level, Flagstaff, Ariz. – one of the gateways to the Grand Canyon – has become a prime summer vacation spot for tourists around the world. But until the establishment of Grand Canyon Kosher Catering, religiously observant Jewish visitors either had to pack their own food, or make do with what the local grocery stores could provide.

According to Rabbi Dovie Shapiro, the co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Flagstaff who opened the catering service two years ago, at one time the nearest place to grab a prepared kosher meal was Phoenix, some three-and-a-half hours away. Since adding catering to the menu of services provided by himself and his wife Chaya, said Shapiro, guests in about 50 hotels throughout Flagstaff and its environs request their cuisine.

Chaya Shapiro said that guests from all over the United States and as far as Israel and France utilize the service, logging in 48 hours ahead of time on the Chabad House’s Web site to place their orders.

“We saw the need and the demand, so we decided to offer this service,” said the rabbi, who also noted that they still host visitors every Shabbat for free meals at their home. “It makes it much easier for people who keep kosher to have a nice meal when they travel. They can have a nice vacation and have food too.”

Most recently, the couple catered meals for a 40-person tour group from Israel.

“I think they’re great,” said Irma Belovaite, the employee of Magic Tours and Travel who organized the trip. “There’s no kosher restaurant in the area, and they helped us.”

Grand Canyon Kosher Catering offers both lunch and dinner options for weekdays or Shabbat. A typical lunch includes two tuna sandwiches, fresh fruit, bottled water and a bag of chips. Dinner is more formal, with such offerings as chicken, rice, vegetable quiche, salad and dessert.

Marcia Schwartz from Teaneck, N.J., traveled with her husband last summer and used the service for their Shabbat meals. They picked up the meals as they drove through Flagstaff on the way to Scottsdale.

“They helped us have a wonderful, full Shabbat meal without having to have T.V. trays,” she said. “It was very tasty, and I was really quite impressed.”