D.Z. Akins

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LA MESA — To most San Diego diners, the name D.Z. Akin’s is synonymous with authentic New York-style deli.
People come from all over the county to experience the delicatessen meats, home-made soups, fresh salads, mouth-watering baked goods and typical breakfast items (served all day in true deli style).

Fortunately, East County aficionados can find these tempting delights right in our own backyard.

LA MESA — To most San Diego diners, the name D.Z. Akin’s is synonymous with authentic New York-style deli.
People come from all over the county to experience the delicatessen meats, home-made soups, fresh salads, mouth-watering baked goods and typical breakfast items (served all day in true deli style).

Fortunately, East County aficionados can find these tempting delights right in our own backyard.

The restaurant has been serving great ethnic food from its Alvarado Road location since 1980 — and has undergone several expansions since the early days. Nevertheless, the family-owned business has never opted to skimp on the old family recipes — even in light of rising prices.

As co-founder Debi Akin explained, “We refurbished the outside a few years ago, but we were in the middle of a recession so we couldn’t get to the inside. We wanted to keep the prices down and the quality up — even though our costs were increasing.

“We couldn’t pass the increases on to our customers when everyone was feeling the recession.”

As a result, you can still get a soup or salad and mini sandwich for $11.95. That means a full-sized bowl of your favorite soup (including matzoh ball, mushroom barley, or sweet ‘n’ sour cabbage) with a large sandwich that only D.Z. Akin’s would call “mini.”

Sandwich fillings range from an assortment of cold cuts to turkey, chicken, tuna, egg salad, or that old-fashioned Jewish delicacy, chopped liver.
D.Z.’s features so many cold sandwich combos, hot sandwich selections, and salad offerings, you’ll need plenty of time to check them all out on the menu.

One of our favorites is a Dagwood-style hot corned beef, Swiss cheese, and cole slaw creation -— served open-faced on an onion roll, with Russian dressing ($12.95). It takes a very hungry diner to finish that one off without any help. All sandwiches come with potato salad, cole slaw, macaroni salad or three-bean salad.


Changing tastes and eating habits were not lost on the Akins, and as son Elan Akin pointed out, “We added six new salads (in addition to the many traditional salads on the huge menu). Among them are a Mediterranean salad ($10.95), Santa Fe chopped chicken ($13.95), and Thai steak and noodle salad ($14.95).

Veggie and turkey burgers ($8.95 and $9.50, respectively), provide healthy alternatives, and “lite eaters” can request cottage cheese with a platter, instead of the potato, macaroni, or three bean salad.

Of course, old favorites like the Reuben sandwich ($13.95, made with corned beef, pastrami, or smoked turkey) and Philadelphia-style steak and onion sandwich ($13.95) never seem to go out of style.

The reason D.Z. Akin’s has become a local landmark is the consistency and quality of the cuisine. The matzoh balls are as light as a feather, the chopped liver is like your Jewish grandmother’s, and the dinner items are outstanding — everything from roasted brisket of beef ($14.95 a la carte) to stuffed cabbage ($13.95 a la carte).

Early bird diners can enjoy most of the entrees, with soup or salad, for just $11.95, seven nights a week (holidays excluded). Wednesday wine specials feature half-price on bottles.

Breakfast is also a major meal at D.Z. Akin’s, and if you come between 7 and 11 a.m. on weekdays, you can get a full breakfast (with eggs, sausage or bacon and pancakes) for just $3.99. It’s hard to beat that for a value meal.

No matter what time of day you come to D.Z.’s, you’ll experience great service. Most of the staff has been there for years, and you’ll always find one of the family keeping a close eye on everything out front.

Desserts run the gamut -— from the large assortment of bakery items available from the take-out counter to sundaes, shakes, and waffles a la mode. Shakes run $6.95, sundaes start at $7.95 and the waffle a la mode is $11.95 — but they’re all big enough for sharing.

You can take home just about anything on the menu, and the assortment of breads, rolls, deli items, and pastries is endless.

D.Z. Akin’s is located at 6930 Alvarado Road off 70th Street. You can call them at (619) 265-0218 for reservations or to place a to-go order.

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