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Legendary Deli David’s Brings Its Brisket and Pastrami to Williamsburg

An owner of David’s Brisket House took over Wafa’s Express and is serving Jewish deli classics alongside Middle Eastern food

Two halves of a brisket sandwich on a club roll with gravy, accompanied by four pickle spears
David’s brisket sandwich
Robert Sietsema/Eater

The famed brisket and pastrami of Bed-Stuy institution David’s Brisket House has been low-key available in a new location in Williamsburg for weeks. Bklyner reports that the owners of the popular Jewish deli took over Lebanese fixture Wafa’s Express at 812 Grand Street, between Bushwick Avenue and Humboldt Street — and they’re serving pastrami alongside shawarma.

Co-owner Fuad Hassan confirms to Eater that the same meaty Jewish deli items from David’s is available at the new Williamsburg restaurant. He decided to keep the well-liked Middle Eastern items at Wafa’s. The team has rebranded the restaurant as Pastrami Masters, though a line at the bottom of the new sign reads “Wafa’s authentic Lebanese/Middle Eastern food.”

Wafa’s owners Wafa Chami and her son Youssef Salameh decided to shut shop in the summer of 2019 when business plummeted following the L train slowdown in April 2019, and the loss of several parking spots for protected bikes lanes in November 2018, Salameh tells Eater.

The mother-son duo started looking for businesses to take over their lease, and that’s where David’s came into the picture. David’s officially took over the lease in November last year.

David’s Brisket House has been around for more than 50 years, and though a Jewish man opened it, it’s famously been owned and run by Muslims since the ’60s. It’s best known for the roast brisket on a roll with gravy, which has fatty caramelized edges, and its pastrami and corned beef.

Wafa’s hasn’t been around for as long, but gained recognition for offering some of the city’s top affordable Middle Eastern food. It opened on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills in 2008 and stayed there until 2016. Issues with the lease prompted the owners to move to East Williamsburg in the summer of 2016, and Wafa’s stayed there until the closure. Chami and Salameh have no plans of opening a new restaurant anytime soon. That lamb shawarma, though, is staying on the menu at Pastrami Masters.

Update (1/9/20): This post has been updated to reflect the fact that Wafa’s Express closed after 11 years of business in November 2019.

Wafa's Express

812 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 576-3547 Visit Website