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Oct 22, 2009 08:05 AM

Closing: BJ Pumpernickels in Olney

It was announced that this fixture in the Olney community for 20 years will be closing around Jan 1st. Can't say any of the foodies will miss this place.....

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  1. It certainly wasn't a foodie destination, but considering what passes for a deli in the area, they did deli sandwiches pretty well. Decent bagels and fish, too. Nice pickle selection, and their matzoh ball soup was very good. I don't go more than once a year, but I will fondly remember it.

    8 Replies
    1. re: DanielK

      We've lived in Olney for 15 years and I always wanted to like this place (Im originally from NY so Im somewhat spoiled as far as Deli's go). I always found their food to be pedestrian at best, the restaurant itself always appeared dirty, the waitstaff was usually indifferent, and the owner was a bit obnoxious or over-the-top. The only positive reviews Ive heard over the years were about their soup and pickles....

      1. re: ciaoda

        >> waitstaff was usually indifferent, and the owner was a bit obnoxious or over-the-top

        Well, that should have reminded you a LOT of NY delis!

        I agree that this place doesn't hold a candle to 2nd Ave, my NYC standby, but the other passable deli in the area is Parkway in SS, and BJ's on a good day is it's equal.

        1. re: ciaoda

          I've got double the years as an Olney resident, and my feelings are about the same. I've had some decent corned beef & pastrami sandwiches over the years, but overall everything except the pickle bar was mediocre at bet.
          And the owner! What an arrogent loudmouth slob.
          Good riddance to them.

          Olney is desperately in need of a few decent restaurants IMO. We moved out to Highland about 4 years ago, and we now dine almost exclusively in Clarksville or Columbia. Not great fare here either, but aside from the occasional visit to The Olney Grill, nothing makes me want to return to my long time neighborhood for a meal.

        2. re: DanielK

          My dealings were quite mixed. looking for a caterer for a bar mitzvah dairy lunch, the owner, whose name I now forget, told us to come in to sample his food, which we did. Bagels, smoked fish etc, was good. However, when it came to negotiatig aprice, he was going to charge us china-rental prices for chinet place settings, and would not re-consider. No wonder he's out of business.

          1. re: nickdanger

            You can always get good bagels at the Bagel Bin in Columbia. Whenever I'm up that way I stop in for a couple Black Russian bagels -- something I've never seen at any other bagel shops.

          2. re: DanielK

            No great loss--this restaurant has been on a downward spiral for years. And their prices were way out of line for what you got. If you have a hankering for deli food, Brooklyn's Deli on Travilah in North Potomac may fit the bill. Went there the other day and got a halfway decent pastrami on pretty good rye. To their credit, they did a wonderful smoked fish platter for me about ten years ago.

            1. re: kolomya

              Brooklyn's does have excellent rye bread, but only ok pastrami and corned beef.

              But if you thought BJ's needed a good cleaning, don't even bother with Brooklyn's. No way they could pass a health inspection...

              1. re: DanielK

                I agree with the cleanliness (or lack thereof of Brooklyn's). What's even worse, I caught a glimpse of how they brine or marinate their corned beef's.... in oversized plastic shoeboxes filled with murky water. They probably all do it, but these were in plain view behind the counter.

          3. I also live in olney and have been there since 1987. I agree the food at bj pumpernickles really declined over the years. I never understood why Barry would make his menu more like a diner as opposed to concetrating on Jewish style deli and breakfast food which at one time he did well. It seemed like every time a new restaurant would open in olney he would add the type of food that place was offering to his menu. You cant do everything well! He did an outstanding job catering my sons bar mitzvah which we did with a kosher NY deli theme. He will continue catering. Rumor has it that Harris Teter is going to take over the empty movie theatre slot and perhaps the restaurant. In addition, rumor has it that the brooklyn deli is opening both a jewish deli as well as a steak restaurant in the old stained glass pub property on the corner of GA ave and 108.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dining with doc

              Those are great rumors! My Sis in law worked at Brooklyn Deli for a while shortly after they opened. I had some great sandwiches there during that time.

              I've shopped the last 2 Sundays at the new Harris Teeter in Maple Lawn. Their produce is so much better than Giant or Safeway. The service at the seafood department left something to be desired last Sunday, as opposed to the stellar service for their grand opening weekend. The Red Snapper fillets at $7.99 / lb both weekends were wonderful.
              To see them open a location in Olney would be a treat.
              I'd rather see them in Ashton, but unfortunately that shopping center's plans seem to have died along with the economy.

              Where do you hear about these rumors?

              David in Highland

              1. re: mdfoodlover

                I forget who told me but I think I heard it more than once. Have you hit the new Urban BBQ in Sandy Spring? Love the soul rolls, collard greens and pulled pork plus the draft root beer at the rockville location. hope they have the same menu

                1. re: dining with doc

                  I have not been in yet. The place looked packed yesterday around 5:30 when I passed by on my way home. A good sign!

            2. Last time I was there, I overheard someone related to the ownership (daughter of one of the owners, I think) say that the shopping center was supposed to be torn down and redeveloped some years ago, but the developer ran out of money. I think that helps explain why the place seemed so rundown--why invest money in a facility that will soon feel the kiss of the wrecking ball? That also explains the state of the movie theater. I have to say I will miss the place (although I would miss it a lot more if it were in better shape and had a more focused menu).

              1 Reply
              1. re: pgreen

                I have a friend who lives behind that center, and she confirms that the place will be torn down and rebuilt.

              2. Do you know the owners or how to contact them? One thing they did have was AMAZING triple layer cake and both my dad and sister LOVED... now that they closed, we want to find the recipe or if they didn't make it there, what bakery they got it from!!!!!! HELP PLEASE... if anybody knows the owner... thanks!

                1 Reply
                1. re: NYgiantsfan

                  One of the owners, Barry, is now at the Woodside Deli in Rockville.