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B.J. Pumpernickels, Olney - Closed


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A NY style deli in Olney. They have been there forever and are very much a mainstay in the community. The menu is huge with breakfast served all day, lots of jewish Deli type items (Fish platters, kugels, etc) chicken, sandwiches (love the Rachel), wraps, soups, salads, etc. Their motto is "Have a pickle." They invite you to visit the pickle bar while you wait for your meal (which will come out quickly) It consists of about 6 barrels of pickled items that you can load onto a small plate. Once they get to know you, you will be insulted, teased, and treated just like family. Very much a family restaurant, they have half price night every Monday and Tuesday from 3-9 pm. They are very involved in the community and often donate food to worthwile fundraisers. Good place to go when everyone wants something different.

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I have fond memories of B.J. Pumpernickels - I was last there in December, 1994, and the reason I know that is because it was the last meal I had in a restaurant with my dad.

On the surface, not much has changed. Jerry Gurewitz (the "J" in B.J.) retired and moved to Florida in 2002, but the place looks exactly like I remember it from fourteen years ago.

My young dining companion (who was there with his dad), got a Southwestern Griddle ($7.99), a three-egg omelet made with impossibly overcooked scrambled eggs, slathered with potatoes, chorizo, tomatoes, onions, peppers, salsa, and cheese. It came with all-u-can-eat pancakes, and was a huge amount of very mediocre food for the money.

I'm not sure what I should have expected when I got the Bagel Combo ($10.99) with belly lox. It was a supermarket-quality bagel, a tiny foil-wrapped container of cream cheese, and a plate with hard, pink tomato, two wilted olives, three slices of cucumber, a slice of red onion, and a small amount of belly lox, all sitting on a lettuce leaf. Knowing it might not be enough food, I asked for a plain bagel on the side, and they had the chutzpah to charge me $2.89 for it - that's almost $14 total! Sometimes, when you're writing, you think of THE ONE perfect adjective to describe something, and I indeed found that one, perfect descriptor for my breakfast: lousy.

It was nice to be back at B.J. Pumpernickels, but sometimes memories are best left alone. I should have followed the lead of Newland Archer - walked up to the door, hesitated, turned away, and slowly, mournfully, headed down to Yogiberry for a green tea smoothie.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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It was nice to be back at B.J. Pumpernickels, but sometimes memories are best left alone.

I grew up in Olney and have been to BJ's probably a hundred times in past few decades and it has had its good and bad days - but always managed to stick to this same general assessment: it can be pretty good (not great) or it can be bad. How do you know the good from the bad - it can be a crap shoot with their huge menu, but generally I'd say stick to the deli basics or breakfast - don't expect too much and avoid anything that you wouldn't typically find in a deli or diner. I typically get the It's A Meal sandwich of corned beef, coleslaw, and russian dressing on rye - not the best meat, but decent and I do like their coleslaw a lot. I also like the lox, eggs, and onions and a lot of my family like the big omelets. The large cakes used to also be pretty good - but I haven't had a slice in a year or so.

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We had dinner there tonight after Scott and the kids picked me up from work. The girl requested "diner food" for dinner, and BJP is just about your only option in Olney. It was exactly what we needed: lots of choices, good service, kid friendly, and willing to do the dishes for us. The roast turkey wasn't half bad, either.

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I just paid $14 for a turkey and swiss on rye with coleslaw and russian dressing, french fries, and a Dr. Brown's soda. There is nothing worse than old turkey, and the smell has permeated the entire container. The only palatable part of my lunch is the soda. Won't be going a second time...

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I was just there for a weekday lunch a couple of weeks ago.

Ordered my usual - "The Sandy Spring" — Steamed corned beef, pastrami and tongue on triple-decker rye w/Russian dressing and coleslaw. Certainly not the greatest deli sandwich ever, but one of the better in the DC area, and I'm happy to return.

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Reports on Chowhound indicate that B.J. Pumpernickel's is closing at the end of the year.

It wasn't exactly a foodie destination, but given what passes for a deli in the DC area, they did fine by corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. Good matzoh ball soup, too. I'll probably try to go once or twice more before the end.

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Not our favorite place, but it was a pretty good choice to take my parents there when they have been in town. I hate to see it go--we shared at least one gigantic piece of cake there that my parents are still talking about. I was never too impressed with the pickles, but I have enjoyed the meatloaf sandwich (or sub).

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