By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Jan 03, 2013 at 12:41 PM

When I heard that the venerable North Side institution that is Jake's Deli was coming to the Grand Avenue Mall, my first question was "why?"

But, if you stop to think about it, it makes sense. Most of the action in the mall is at the food court, and I've never met a Milwaukeean who doesn't love Jake's – but doesn't always find the time to schlep to 16th and North Ave. to eat there.

Today, I gave the new Jake's a try, and you know what? The tiny storefront below the food court tastes exactly like Jake's. Which is awesome.

I ordered a corned beef sandwich on rye with mustard for $8.24 and attempted to complement that with a bowl of matzo ball soup. Oddly, Jake's was out of matzo ball soup at 11:30 a.m., so I went with chips and an iced tea.

Having grown up on the North Shore, I'm more of a Benji's man when it comes to corned beef and matzo ball soup, but Jake's is a close second – and heads and shoulders above whatever comes in third place in Milwaukee.

To me, Jake's corned beef is a little fattier than Benji's, but there is an option for "extra lean" for a buck more. I might try that next time.

Still, I'm super-excited that Jake's has made its way Downtown. The original location should be on every Milwaukeeans' must eat list. But to know that the food of my people is this close to my office? Oy vey. I'll be back. Often.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.