Mamaleh’s Opens in Cambridge This Week
Boston-area fans of flaky pastrami on rye, smoked lox on hand-rolled bagels, and other deli fare will soon have their prayers answered. Mamaleh’s, a modern take on the Jewish delicatessen, opens in Kendall Square tomorrow morning.
The full-service restaurant, bar and soda fountain, and counter-service market will offer Great Barrington coffee and espresso and quick-service breakfast until 11 a.m., with lunch until 4 p.m. Dinner will start in the coming weeks.
Mamaleh’s takes over the former West Bridge space, at One Kendall Square, next door to the ownership team’s State Park. A classic Jewish deli has been a longtime goal for owners Rachel and Alon Munzer, John Kessen, and chefs Tyler and Rachel Sundet. (The group, along with Barry Maiden, previously owned Hungry Mother, too.)
“From a business perspective, it’s something we feel is lacking in the area,” Rachel Miller Munzer told Boston earlier this year. “For half of our partners, it’s something we grew up knowing and eating, and we’re excited to make this place for us to hang out at.”
On the market side of Mamaleh’s, you can pick up T-shirts and other souvenirs, just like at any good, New York-style deli. Well-lit glass coolers showcase brisket, lox, and other meats and fish by the pound, cream cheese, containers of chopped liver, sweet blocks of halvah, a rotating selection of salads, and more.
“We also really want to have some fresh vegetarian options. Things like carrot lentil salad, or a beautiful chickpea salad with leeks, couscous with summer squash and tomatoes, and a nice beet salad,” Miller Munzer says. “Everybody comes in excited for a huge lunch, but they know they’ll be pretty full after. We want to dispel that. Plus, it gives people options who don’t have an interest in a hot pastrami sandwich.”
Pastry chef Rachel Sundet is creating a large variety of bakery items, which will also rotate. Bagels will be available all day, every day, along with house-baked challah and rye for sandwiches, and sweets like pies, cakes, chocolate babka, raspberry walnut rugelach, black and white cookies, and more. To drink, choose from bottles of requisite Dr. Brown’s sodas, and local bottles like Spindrift seltzers and Tower root beer. The market is open all day, and for dining in, the same menu will be available from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., with dinner specials eventually on the horizon.
There is a large, standing table in the center of the market, and during lunch hours, three high-top tables in the bar area will also open for casual seating, at least to start. Mamaleh’s dining room accommodates about 80 guests on chairs, vintage, pinned stools, and brown vinyl booths, including a giant hightop that seats about 20 in a square. Downstairs is a private dining room with space for 16, and there are five standing tables outside.
The 11-seat, gray polished slate bar is a holdover from West Bridge, which the Mamaleh’s team refaced in homage to the tile flooring you would see in a New York deli. Mojer and Harrison are behind a classic soda fountain program with things like celery soda and egg creams—and spiked versions—plus other deli-inspired cocktails, an Eastern European influenced beer selection, and a unique wine list.
Other aesthetic touches include neon signage, and an original painting of Mamaleh’s mascot, Pickles the Great, by Boston artist Kenji Nakayama.
The Cambridge deli is part of a new wave of this kind of fare in Boston. Moody’s decidedly non-kosher deli in Waltham has been filling the void for a couple years, Steve “Nookie” Postal’s Steinbones Jewish barbecue is in development, the Franklin Restaurant Group is working on Our Father’s Deli, and Exodus Bagels just announced plans for its own diner.
Mamaleh’s opens Tuesday, July 12, at 8 a.m.
Mamaleh’s, One Kendall Square, Building 300, Lower Level, Cambridge, 617-958-DELI, mamalehs.com.