How far are you willing to drive to get breakfast? Mursaleen Ahmed (’19) drives across six towns every weekend from Union, New Jersey to get his favorite breakfast from Mimi’s Delicatessen in Madison, N.J. According to Ahmed, “Mimi’s has the best home fries on the east coast.”
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With Yankees memorabilia lining the walls, the sounds of sizzling bacon and the cracking of eggs, the constant hum of customers chatting, this small space leaves a big impact.
Located on Park Avenue in Madison, a father and sons team greet you on your way in, making you feel welcomed whether it’s your first visit or if you’re a Mimi’s regular. “It makes me feel like I’m at home,” said Ahmed.
After buying the business in August of 2014, Paul Rybkin and his sons, Paul and Christopher, kept Mimi’s name up on the sign but added their own flavor. Rybkin said they offer classic options that are hard to come by in the area, like hot pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, potato knishes and Dr. Brown’s sodas.
Rybkin said he worked in delis most of his life and his son Paul owned a food truck stationed at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. Both with backgrounds in the food service industry, they decided it was time to venture off on their own. “This space was perfect. It was exactly what we were looking for to start off and we don’t need to manage a lot of employees,” said Rybkin.
The Rybkin family is there six days a week cooking up everything from breakfast platters, triple-decker turkey clubs, generously-filled omelets, juicy hamburgers, fluffy chocolate chip pancakes and their famous home fries. Ask for practically anything and they’ll make it for you.
“People know about Mimi’s from the website, social media, Yelp, things like that,” said Christopher Rybkin. But his father said, “It’s mostly word of mouth that brings in the most business.” “It’s true,” said Ahmed. “All my friends come here for breakfast and lunch during the week. And I started bringing my girlfriend here too, and she really looks forward to our trip out here every weekend.” Ahmed’s top recommendations were the breakfast platter, the tuna melt and the cheesesteak.
Although Rybkin said their biggest challenge is staying in business, his son Paul was able to open a second store this past summer in Whippany, N.J. “Opening the other store really split our business. People who used to drive here might live or work closer to the other store, so they go there now,” said Rybkin. “We’re not gaining business yet, but sharing it between the two stores right now.”
Rybkin got his strong work ethic from his parents who emigrated from Russia with his three older siblings. They came to America through Ellis Island and, “worked on a farm in Virginia, making a nickel a day,” said Rybkin. Today, he has instilled the same principles in his own children. His son Paul is the owner of both stores, and they have built a successful business together. “Working with family is the best thing. No one gets insulted and we’re all working for the same reason—to make a living.”