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Mary Ann's Deli is still in the family; new owner Matthew Berger reopened luncheon eatery June 15

BY BRUCE MILLS bruce@theitem.com
Posted 7/14/20

A popular Sumter eatery has changed hands, but is still in the family and serving up its traditional favorites, such as the Turkey Dip, Club and Roast Beef Au Jus sandwiches.

Matthew Berger, new owner/operator of Mary Ann's Deli restaurant, spoke …

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Mary Ann's Deli is still in the family; new owner Matthew Berger reopened luncheon eatery June 15

Posted

A popular Sumter eatery has changed hands, but is still in the family and serving up its traditional favorites, such as the Turkey Dip, Club and Roast Beef Au Jus sandwiches.

Matthew Berger, new owner/operator of Mary Ann's Deli restaurant, spoke Friday on the recent purchase of the eatery by him and his wife from his aunt, Donna McLean, who ran the deli for the last 25 years.

With the onset of the coronavirus in the U.S. beginning in mid-March, McLean closed the deli on March 21 and decided to retire.

About the same time, Berger turned in his notice at his previous job and decided he wanted to try something different.

"About a week later, this came about," Berger said. "I think my wife and I talked about it for eight hours, and we just couldn't see this place closed."

In mid-April, the purchase was complete and Berger began full-time at Mary Ann's on Bultman Drive.

Having never worked in the restaurant business, he said, he's had a lot to learn quickly and finds the long-time staff to be helpful in the process.

On June 15, Berger reopened Mary Ann's for curbside pickup, given COVID-19. He said he planned to open up the popular dining room area in late June or early July, but then the virus case numbers started to increase.

Given the relatively small operation and that many employees have young kids, Berger said he just felt it wasn't a good idea to try to open up dining to any significant level and for someone to get sick. He does allow four to five tables to be occupied at a time in the deli, but everyone is spread out. So, business is still basically curbside pickup for now.

Given COVID-19, he still doesn't know when he will be able to safely reopen the dining room but hopes to do so as soon as possible, he said.

Berger added he's appreciated the community's support since curbside pickup began last month.

The same favorites are still on the menu, but the look inside is a little different with new paint on the walls, new electronic menu boards, and a couple refrigerators near the counter with salads, wraps and sandwiches for grab-and-go options.