It’s been about a year since Cambridge restaurant Hungry Mother closed last July, but many members of the team have been busy building another dining spot: Mamaleh’s Delicatessen, a Jewish-style deli and sit-down restaurant, which officially opened Tuesday at 1 Kendall Square.
Mamaleh’s owner Rachel Miller Munzer, previously of Hungry Mother and currently of State Park, said she was inspired to open a deli in part by a book called Save the Deli.
“There’s a whole, sort of, movement across the country: the idea that delis are dying, and being people that grew up with Jewish delis, [our team recognizes] that and always felt the void,” Miller Munzer said. “We wanted to bring back the whole culture of ‘made in-house’ and just bring delis back to life.”
Mamaleh’s deli case features salads, smoked fish and meat, and halvah. Hand-rolled bagels, chocolate babka, raspberry walnut rugelach, and black and white cookies are served fresh from the oven. The restaurant has a bar and soda fountain to serve up egg creams, house-made sodas, milkshakes, Eastern European-influenced beers, and deli-inspired cocktails.
Yes, deli-inspired cocktails. What does that mean, exactly? Evan Harrison, also of State Park, mans the drinks at Mamaleh’s and explained that the cocktails are designed to pair well with deli offerings and also hark back to traditional deli ingredients—but with a twist.
“For instance, a lot of delis sell Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda, but we’re making our own celery soda and doing a Pimm’s Cup variation of that,” Harrison said.
Mamaleh’s offers a seeded rye variation on a Manhattan with caraway seeds and rye whiskey, and a spin on a New York Sour that incorporates Manischewitz wine.
And those aforementioned egg creams and milkshakes can be made to be either nonalcoholic or boozy.
“[Egg creams] were one of the first things that came to mind in the last year or two when we were going down to New York and checking out delis,” Harrison said. “It’s a light-hearted, nostalgic drink, dear to the hearts of people who grew up with Jewish delis.”
Plus, Mamaleh’s houses a gift shop full of books, games, candy, T-shirts, and locally-made tchotchkes.
Mamaleh’s operates from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with coffee, espresso drinks, and counter breakfast like hand-rolled bagels offered until 11 a.m. The full menu, which includes deli staples like pastrami and matzo ball soup, is available for the rest of the day. You can dine in or take out, with online ordering available; the same menu will be available for dinner soon.