- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 13, 2005

Patrick Jones and Helen Elias sat at a booth waiting for their food to arrive at K’s New York Deli one evening last week.

Mr. Jones, 61, of Chevy Chase ordered a bowl of pea soup, a chicken salad sandwich on challah bread, a baked potato and rice pudding. Ms. Elias, 82, of Northwest ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato on the side, french fries and chocolate rugelach.

The two friends have been frequenting the restaurant regularly for the past six years.

The Wisconsin Avenue restaurant was known as Krupin’s Deli until two months ago, when restaurateurs Bricha Abdel and Adil Alaoui bought it from James Polsky. Mr. Polsky had bought the restaurant in 1999 from Mel Krupin, who gave the establishment his name in 1993.

The new owners have experience in the restaurant industry. Mr. Alaoui co-owned a deli in New York City for two years. Mr. Abdel worked in management at an American bistro and seafood restaurant in New York City, and worked as a waiter at Kinkead’s restaurant in the District.

Mr. Polsky said he sold the restaurant to devote more time to his catering business and his family. Mr. Krupin is the maitre d’ at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant on K Street NW.

Despite the deli’s new name and ownership changes, its concept is still the same.

Hungry customers still can get a hot corned beef sandwich or bowl of matzo ball soup for which the restaurant is well-known. The deli is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Washingtonian magazine has recognized Krupin’s Deli for being one of the District’s best bargains.

Sandwiches range between $6 and $10, and dinner entrees such as stuffed cabbage, braised brisket and broiled salmon cost between $10 and $15.

The deli caters to families who want to have a sit-down meal together as well as people who want to buy a sandwich on the run. The open dining room in the back has several tables and booths. The clear case in the front displays the deli offerings.

Customers can sit in a green-and-pink booth and gaze at the framed photographs of past customers.

Mr. Alaoui said he and his business partner could not afford to lease the license to the Krupin name, which is owned by Mr. Krupin. Neither the new owners nor Mr. Polsky would disclose the selling price or the restaurant’s financial standing.

Business began to dwindle after Mr. Krupin sold the deli in 1999. Mr. Alaoui, 36, said he and Mr. Abdel, 40, want to get the restaurant back “on track” and regain lost customers.

Business in the past two months “was OK. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good,” Mr. Abdel said.

Mr. Polsky said the business had declined during his ownership, but he attributed that to an industrywide trend.

“I think it’s everybody in the food industry,” he said.

Mr. Jones said he has noticed an improvement in the food quality.

“It’s back to where it used to be,” he said.

Many of the employees have been with the restaurant for several years. Morty Krupin, general manager and Mel Krupin’s brother, has worked at the restaurant since 1992.

The restaurant plans to add pasta dishes, salads and other items to its dinner specials, Mr. Alaoui said. The restaurant also offers catering and is known for its baked goods.

“I’d come just for the chocolate rugelach,” Ms. Elias said, referring to the popular Jewish cookie that resembles a small croissant.

The restaurant started under the name Wolf’s in 1987, said Cyrus Katzen, who built the four-story building. Mr. Katzen is president of Culmore Realty Co. in Baileys Crossroads.

It later became a TooJays Deli, a Florida-based chain. Mel Krupin took control in 1991 and changed the name to Krupin’s Deli in 1993 after TooJays’ contract ended. He owned the deli until 1999, when he sold it to Mr. Polsky.

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