Mike’s Deli at Lazy Sunday, better known as Mike’s Deli, has been the go-to spot for Mason student to hang out and eat good food for years. If you walk into the small restaurant on any given day after school, you’re bound to see at least a few Mason students cutting loose and enjoying a delicious meal.
However, pending the construction of “Mason Row,” Mike’s Deli moved from its long time location of 112 North West Street to 7049 Leesburg Pike, right across from George Mason High School, on October 2. When one visits the new location, it is surprising that such a small move of under a mile can bring so many big changes, from the name to the style of the restaurant.
For years, Mike’s Deli has been officially called Mike’s Deli at Lazy Sundae. The restaurant has shared a building with an ice cream shop (Lazy Sundae) for years, and the duo has been remarkably successful in the past. The restaurants have combined their name to get the new one, Lazy Mike’s.
But after speaking to students about the transition from the old building to the new after their first visit to the new location, the question arises as to whether this transition will bring more or less business from the student body to the renowned restaurant.
“I think it’s a lot worse than the old one,” said junior Brian Murphy. “They ‘seated’ me and took my order. It was a little weird.”
Mike’s location was 112 North West Street for many years and people have grown accustomed to the building where it was set. With a faded sign hanging above the entrance, scuffed and stained floors, and worn furniture, the old location may not seem like much to miss, but the contrary was evident.
“I miss the old one. It’s the classic FC Mike’s. It’s too nice here. I love Mike’s, don’t get me wrong, but the polished tables? I miss the old tables with all of our names carved into it,” junior Maria Morris said.
Most of the students agree that the relaxed setting of the old Mike’s was a comfortable place to enjoy a meal.
The table that Morris was referring to with ‘names carved into it’ was the outdoor seating area that existed at the old location. It was a large table with plenty of room for a large group to eat a meal together. The new location’s outdoor seating area consists of a few two-seat tables, making it harder for a group to eat comfortably there.
Murphy also commented on the convenience of the old location. “You can go to 7-11 to get your drink before you can order your food,” Murphy said. This opinion was shared between most of the Mason students in Lazy Mike’s that day.
It’s easy to see why the owners of the restaurant would want to eliminate this option and encourage customers to purchase a drink from them, but it will be disappointing to many customers nonetheless.
The general increase in ‘formality’ was the main concern from student customers.
“It was always casual and a good place to go to relax and hang out. Now they’re serving more [people] and it’s too formal,” sophomore Victor Gedeck said.
One positive is that the new location has far more parking, and will no longer have to share spaces with 7-11, but the increase in spaces comes with a cost.
“It’s a difficult place to drive to because it’s so chaotic around here. I don’t really know where to park,” junior Brendan Fletchall said.
The restaurant lies next to a very large intersection on Leesburg Pike. Not only that, but it sits near George Mason, the Giant that always has a steady flow of traffic coming through it, and other small business that attract attention.
Fletchall also mentioned that he could walk to the old location from his own home, as the old location was centered in a popular West Falls Church neighborhood. Walking to the new location would be far more inconvenient with the increase in traffic since the location lies next to a popular intersection. It is not near any houses or apartments, so the building is now out of walking distance for many people.
Though like other aspects of the restaurant’s change, opinions on the location are varied. “I like it because it’s close to the school,” junior Jack Felgar said. Its proximity to the school makes it a viable dining option for students before, after, and even during the school day, for seniors with off-campus privileges.
Despite the arise complaints from the student body, Mike’s Deli’s food seemed just as pleasing as ever.
“It’s still super delicious,” Fletchall said when asked about the food.
It’s possible that Lazy Mike’s location and the food itself could maintain the steady stream of student customers, but only time will tell. Whether or not this changes people’s opinions on the restaurant, one thing for sure is that Mike’s will always be a Falls Church classic.