An Ellicott City man with a history running liquor stores has purchased the recently shuttered 71-year-old Mueller’s Delicatessen on Harford Road—and he’s planning to keep the deli in place, according to a neighborhood group leader who met with him this week.
Mayur Sevalia, 53, bought the family business, long known for its selection of German meats, deli foods and beer, for $442,500, according to documents on file with the Baltimore City Liquor Board. Sevalia, who owns 100 percent of the store, and a partner, Thomas Long, have applied to transfer the store’s Class A beer, wine and liquor license into their name. Their hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.
Documents state they plan to use the business as a deli and liquor store, and crudely drawn floor plans included with their application indicate as much, showing space for a deli counter, kitchen and storage.
Sevalia said on a phone call Saturday that they have some renovations planned. “We’re gonna make it a good-looking store,” he said.
And the plan is to keep it as a business that caters to neighbors. He said he’ll continue serving hot and cold foods using recipes from the Mueller family, while also adding some American fare to the menu. He’s also open to taking requests from customers on what items to stock.
“We’ve got to listen to the neighborhood,” he said.
He’s unsure of what to call the business as present, but said the Mueller family wants him to rename it.
Lisa Daniels, president of the North Harford Road Community Association, said she met with him and Long on Wednesday night. Sevalia told her he will be making some of the original Mueller’s recipes, and also plans to expand the sales area, add more coolers and sell lottery tickets, along with offering a Keno gambling machine.
Daniels arranged the meeting to ask the new owners to sign a memorandum of understanding with her association, a practice she said the NHRCA has made commonplace for all new liquor license applicants and holders since about 2010. The terms reflect basic city zoning and liquor license requirements, and include contact information for community reps and licensees, which she said serves to forge a relationship between neighbors and the businesses as soon as they arrive.
“We need businesses. We need the businesses to be robust, we need the businesses to be part of the community,” Daniels said this week, explaining why the NHRCA requires such agreements. “We need to establish this right up front that the community really does care, and also that the community matters.”
Long and Sevalia agreed to the terms, she said.
“It makes sense,” Sevalia said of the MOU policy. “You live in the community so you’ve got to respect the community.”
NHRCA and another nearby association, Harbel, had originally submitted letters opposing the liquor license transfer due to the absence of an MOU; Daniels said they had had no contact with Long and Sevalia before Wednesday’s meeting. But they will back the project once the liquor board has added the community agreement into their liquor license. They’ve already sent letters to the liquor board saying as much, Daniels said.
Sevalia has decades of experience running liquor stores or restaurants that sell booze, having operated six businesses in all in Aberdeen, Glen Burnie, Hagerstown, Odenton and Parkville—including Maria’s Restaurant from 2008 to 2013—according to his application. The one he ran most recently was Terrace Liquor in Hagerstown, from December 2016 to June 2017, documents said.
Mueller’s closed down in September after seven decades at 7207 Harford Road, near the city-county line. The owners of the German deli thanked their loyal clientele in a brief announcement on Facebook, which drew more than 100 responses from neighbors and customers, most of them expressing sadness about the closure.
Daniels called the business “an institution.”
The fact that Sevalia and Long plan to keep it as a deli is a positive sign, she said. “It will be a great relief to a lot of the people in the neighborhood. It was quite beloved. It’s the kind of thing where you don’t appreciate it until it’s gone.”
Sevalia said he recognizes the business’ importance to neighbors along the Harford Road corridor.
“We’re going to find something good that works with the community,” he said.
This story has been updated.