D.Z. Akins

Review by: Michael Stern

Any devoted eater who has spent time in Chicago gets happy to see a hot dog stand or deli that sports a bright red and yellow sign advertising Vienna Beef. Vienna Beef is good, especially the company’s taut hot dogs and garlicky salami; so we were thrilled to find such a sign not far from the KPBS studio at San Diego State University. When we walked inside the immense deli known as D.Z. Akins, we were nothing short of flabbergasted. The air was perfumed with spiced beef and the bakery shelves up front held a spectacular array of ryes, pumpernickels, bagels, hard rolls, and challahs, plus countless macaroons and cookies, all baked right here.

Sandwiches are grand, including hot, fat-striated corned beef radiant with flavor, cut thick and piled between two slices of rye that is soft inside with a nice sour smack and a hard savory crust. Roast beef – soft and luxurious – is best in a poppy-seed spangled hard roll. And the kosher salami (Vienna brand, of course) packs a garlic wallop.

In true urban-deli fashion, the menu is vast: Beyond its 134 sandwiches are pierogi, stuffed cabbage, knishes, steaks, stuffed kishka, matzoh ball soup, blintzes, kasha varnishkes, and fried kreplach.

Breakfast is especially wonderful, featuring a bevy of cold fish platters, omelets, corned beef hash, blintzes, and potato pancakes. Matzoh brei — billed as “Grandma Fay’s Matzoh Brei” and served pancake-style (as opposed to jumbled up) — is nearly as good as the brei I make (and I make the best).

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Thursday: 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Friday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM

What To Eat

Corned Beef Sandwich

Matzoh Brei


Rye Bread

Challah Bread


D.Z. Akins Recipes


What do you think of D.Z. Akins?

3 Responses to “D.Z. Akins”

Andrew Wyatt

June 14th, 2007

Of all the Roadfood-approved establishments in the San Diego area, D.Z. Akins is my favorite, and the most pleasant surprise. I went in search of DZ the night I arrived in San Diego on business, and tired though I was, it was well worth the drive of twenty minutes or so from my hotel.

It’s tucked into a strip mall, and would be easy to miss if not for the large sign visible from the interstate. Once you walk in, however, you realize how huge it is, with a full bakery and dining space that goes on and on. The atmosphere is an odd gestalt of southern California diner and New York City deli, but the combination is pleasing. The place was clean–by Roadfood standards–and the waitstaff cheerful and helpful.

The menu is huge, but somewhat limited for a lacto-ovo vegetarian such as myself. My waitress helped me pick something out, and I settled on a half order of blintzes (blueberry) and a thick Swiss cheese sandwich. Very tasty, and I especially appreciated the extra helping of cold, crisp romaine lettuce on the sandwich. I was too full to pick up some dessert to go from the bakery, but the available cookies looked very tempting. I’ll definitely return when I’m in the San Diego region again.


Martin Kane

January 14th, 2005

Another great establishment we would never have found without Roadfood. This is a very authentic New York City-style delicatessan in the eastern part of San Diego (very easy on and off the 70th Street exit of I-8). The menu is enormous so you may want to take a quick look at their web site before you arrive. The soups are excellent. Strongly recommend the “Mish Mash” soup which includes a kreplach, matzo ball, noodles and carrots. The kreplach and matzo ball compare very favorably with anything back east. While they do not cure their own meats, the pastrami was acceptable. Potato pierogies were nicely cooked and had an excellent taste. The potato knish is a home made variety and tasty. The breads and pastries are all homemade and excellent. A large bakery is attached to the restaurant for all your take-home needs.


Jerry Selleck

April 12th, 2004

We didn’t mind the $30 cab ride from the airport. DZ was an awesome display of deli delight. We decided to catch breakfast and brown bag some pastrami and swiss on rye sandwiches for lunch. The cherry blintzes were delightful. Corned beef omelet and potatoes the best. Bucket of pickles on each table. The bakery made it hard to choose, so we ordered more than we could eat.
However, when we sat down at lunch to enjoy the sandwiches, the pastrami was so stringy we couldn’t finish them. I heard someone write that good pastrami was akin to a batch of smoked rubber bands. If that’s the case, you can have mine. It was a sore disappointment, and a stark contrast to a mighty breakfast that left us wanting more.
Our tip: go for breakfast, go for the deli, skip the pastrami.


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