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Mavens' Deli Shuts Its Doors

Heavy Financial Losses May Force Owners To Sell

By Madhavi Sunder

Maven's Kosher Court, 95 Winthrop St., is closed until further notice because of its substantial financial losses, part-owner and operator Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz said yesterday.

The Jewish deli, which opened last May, closed late in December. The restaurant may be sold, may relocate outside of Harvard Square or the owners may hire new management, Dershowitz said.

"We have been losing money on every sandwich we sell," said Dershowitz. Dershowitz said the partners of the deli had anticipated that Maven's would lose money shortly after opening, but they had not expected the restaurant to remain in the red for as long as it has.

Some of Maven's problems stem from its attempt to serve the Orthodox Jewish community. When it first opened last spring, Maven's did not serve on Friday nights and Saturdays in order to earn strict kosher certification. Maven's also hired a cook who had worked at Harvard Hillel.

But the restaurant lost so much money that the owners decided in November to open on weekend nights even though it meant losing customers from the Orthodox Jewish community.

Dershowitz explained that the owners opened Maven's "to provide a service to the [Jewish] community." but found that there just was not a large enough market in the area for the business to produce profits.

Maven's co-owner Marcus S. Weiss, a Cambridge lawyer, said the partners were "still great believers in the Maven's concept" of providing kosher deli food, but he added that the owners were having trouble finding experienced deli operators.

Weiss said he and the approximately 24 other shareholders in the restaurant have been involved in a series of negotiations with potential purchasers and operators in recent weeks. He said they "expect to move aggressively on one of those proposals" in the next couple of weeks, adding that the plans were "very close to resolution."

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