By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 02, 2022 at 1:01 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

After over 50 years of ownership under Major League Baseball commissioner emeritus and former Brewers' owner Allan H. "Bud" Selig, Milwaukee’s oldest Jewish deli has a new owner.

Wajeeh Alturkman, owner of House of Corned Beef on Silver Spring Drive, has officially taken the helm at Jake’s Deli, 1634 W. North Ave.

Alturkman, who immigrated to Milwaukee from Amman, Jordan in 1992, became a regular customer of Jake’s while working as a cab driver while earning both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

“I would stop by Jake’s whenever I got a craving for their corned beef, which was just about every day,” Alturkman notes “To go from driving a cab to having a chance to own and operate Jake’s is a dream come true. It again proves that in America, if you are dedicated and work hard you can make it.”

Alturkman says he intends to carry on the traditions at the longtime deli, which have attracted customers to the restaurant for generations.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me and we will take great care to follow the recipes and traditions of Jake's,” said Alturkman.

"Many restaurants and delicatessens have come and gone -- there is a reason why Jake's continues to attract customers from all over the Milwaukee area. It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to keep something so special alive to be appreciated by future generations."

Employee cuts corned beef at Jake's DeliX

Despite changes to the neighborhood, which was once a thriving hub for the Jewish community, Jakes’s has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the community, while remaining true to its character. Among the things which have set Jake’s apart is the unique blend of spices and time-honored cooking techniques with which they prepare their signature hand-cut corned beef and pastrami.

"I'm proud to say that generations of our loyal customers have helped keep Jake's going for all these years," notes Selig. "I believe we have found a new owner who is committed to keeping the quality and taste of food at Jake's up to the standards of the past. Taste buds don't change with the generations. You can always find fast food restaurants anywhere, but there is only one Jake's."

Alturkman said he is excited to carry on the legacy of Jake’s Deli, which will offer curbside pick-up, delivery and catering.

“There’s so much history in that building and we’re not going to change much,” he says. “I promise people will notice our excellent customer service and the quality of the food we provide.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.