Max’s Deli gets new ownership

Four years after he brought a classic Jewish deli to Birmingham, Steve Dubrinsky has sold Max’s Delicatessen and will step back for a while.

Dubrinsky said he originally planned to have a partner, but that never materialized and the long hours every day were taking too much of a toll on him and his family. After a few weeks of transition, he planned to turn over the restaurant by early February.

The new owner is Kyung Chung, owner of Bellissimo Pizza and Wings and Charley’s Grilled Subs in Brookwood Village.

Dubrinsky anticipates that the sandwiches and meats will stay the same, but some of the classic Jewish items, like blintzes and knishes, will likely be eliminated because they never sold well.

Though originally focused on classic deli sandwiches, Max’s also became known for its burgers, and later its fried chicken, added by popular demand after many in the Jewish community wanted it for shiva trays, a local tradition from when Browdy’s was open.

Dubrinsky unwittingly made headlines in 2011 when he was quoted in a Birmingham News article, concerned about the effect of Alabama’s new immigration law on his kitchen staff, who were Mexicans in the country legally. Nationally, he became a face of the debate, and locally dealt with boycotts and expressions of support. But dealing with all the attention took a lot of his energy.

Dubrinsky noted that it is “only fitting for Max’s Delicatessen to be sold to an immigrant.”

This week, Dubrinsky was presented the Alma Latina Business Award from the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama “for exemplifying outstanding concern and support for the Latino community.”

Max’s has also been known for its local charitable initiatives, including Collat Jewish Family Services, the fight against brain cancer and the Canterbury United Methodist Church’s Brown Bag program.