When A.J.’s Deli opens in Mount Vernon Marketplace this month, the pastrami on its sandwiches won’t just be New York-style; it will be straight from the source.
Alan Morstein is eyeing a late October opening for the deli, where he plans to blend deli staples from New York with local favorites from Regi’s American Bistro, his longtime restaurant in Federal Hill.
A.J.’s Deli will take over a space in the back of the market previously occupied by Edible Favors, which relocated to another stall, Morstein said. The space was redesigned to resemble an industrial warehouse with elements including wood, brick and exposed pipes. A bar at the stall will seat eight people, Morstein said.
When A.J.’s opens for business, the deli will dole out sandwiches in “stuffed” (5-ounce) and “over-stuffed” (10-ounce) sizes, layered between bread from Rosendorff’s Artisan Bakery in Baltimore. The deli will also offer bagels from Davidovich Bakery in New York, as well as meats like pastrami sourced from New York.
“I wanted to do things there that you can’t get locally,” Morstein said.
The deli will offer sandwiches stuffed with meats like turkey breast, corned beef and brisket ($7.99-$14.99); hot dogs wrapped in bologna ($5.79); and salads with light twists — tuna salad made with avocado instead of mayonnaise, and cole slaw dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
Instead of fries, the stall will dish out potato latkes, served traditionally with sour cream and applesauce.
Some favorites from Regi’s will make their way onto the menu at A.J.’s, too. The deli will use the same brisket recipe as the restaurant did, carry Regi’s popular Thanksgiving sandwich and serve the Regi’s Thai salad made with mixed greens, pulled chicken, mandarin oranges, sesame ginger dressing.
By the end of the month, Morstein expects to offer beer and wine on tap.
The stall will also sell grab-and-go sandwiches and salads for customers in a hurry, offer catering services, and deliver to customers through Grubhub.
Inspections are scheduled for next week, and Morstein hopes to begin welcoming customers the following week.
Morstein owned Regi’s American Bistro in Federal Hill for 15 years until it closed in April. He said he’s returning to his roots with the opening of the deli.
“This type of venue is what I really cut my teeth in,” Morstein said. “This is just taking the food court thing from the ‘90s and early 2000s and tweaking it and making it more in keeping with the demographics and eating habits.”