The American Dream
June 11, 2021
Mo Mohamed & Paul Kruss: A Success Story
Everybody in the vicinity of Aventura, North Miami Beach, Sunny Isles, Golden Beach, Hallandale, and Hollywood knows Mo Mohamed, the owner of Mo’s Bagels & Deli. His welcoming smile and accommodating manner immediately engage you. And, of course his fabulous menu of delicacies, bagels and bakery items keep bringing customers back to his restaurants (now two!) in droves.
“Meet me at Mo’s” is the mantra of friends and business associates all through the week. Now, at his second location in Hallandale Beach at the site of the former Sage Deli, that slogan is emblazoned on the walls. Here, with his new enlarged wide-mouthed ovens, Mo’s bakers are able to produce hundreds of dozens of bagels a day.
Mo Mohamed exemplifies the American Dream. He arrived from Egypt in 1984 as a young guy in pursuit of opportunity, with not too much more than hope in his pocket, a smile, and a great work ethic. He began working as a dishwasher, then a busboy in Pumpernik’s, then on Hallandale Beach Boulevard. In a short time, he moved up to learning the delicate slicing techniques of lox and deli meats, and within the seven years he was there, acquired skills in cooking, purchasing, and management.
Building a reputation as a man who knows the deli business, which is unlike any other type of restaurant, Mo was approached by Harriet and Marie, owners of Bagel Cove to help them build their business. They offered him a junior partnership and a large increase in salary, plus a percentage of the profits. Mo says he owes a lot to them and is very grateful for the opportunities they offered him.
In 1995, Jay Mazen, a regular at Bagel Cove, who became a dear friend, convinced Mo that with his knowledge and experience and working 12-15 hours a day, he should own his own deli restaurant. At the time, the owners of Delancey Deli, located on NE 187th Street, were looking to sell their restaurant, and with Jay’s encouragement, Mo bought it and renamed it Mo’s Bagels & Deli. With his reputation for delicious quality food, bagels and bakery items, Mo’s popularity grew. Mo credits the quality of his food to the fact that every menu item or bakery treat is made from scratch…. even the corned beef, roast beef, turkey and brisket. “Nothing at Mo’s is processed or pre-packaged,” he says. “Our kitchen and bakery are going full blast from early morning to late evening.”
Mo also credits Paul Kruss, his partner and dear friend of 19 years, as well as his fabulous staff, many of whom have been with him for more than 30 years. ”The loyalty of my team is amazing,” says Mo. ”Between us, there is a partnership mentality in making Mo’s a success” He particularly credits Jean Miller, whom he considers a ‘brother’, Ernzier Previl (known as Mr. P) and Victor St. Pierre (known as Mr. Johnny), all specialists in deli preparation. They have all been with Mo since Pumpernik’s. St. Pierre has been with Mo for almost 37 years. “At that time, I worked for him,” says Mo. “He taught me everything in the kitchen from salads to slicing, and how to prepare good food. He was my teacher then, and is my colleague today.”
In 2020, Sage Deli on Hallandale Beach Boulevard closed and RK, owners of the shopping center, approached Mo and Paul to take over the location. The partners believed it could ‘happen’ in Hallandale and Paul felt it could be ‘another home run for Mo’s.”
Having been a great help from May to December last year, Mo’s 18-year-old son Amir, currently a student at FIU, was also encouraging, since he plans to work and learn the business with his dad as his mentor.
Sage had a 47-year history in the area with many devoted customers, so Mo decided to hire former Sage cooks, employees, and especially Enel Mojean, the renowned bagel maker, who has been crafting specialty bagels for more than 35 years. Keeping a younger market in mind, Mo did a total renovation on the interior in a New York style industrial-chic motif, with a floorplan that allowed for an occupancy of 90 and plenty of outdoor seating.
The large brick ovens in Mo’s Hallandale have been rebuilt and the deli steamers behind the counter have been enlarged. Mo added a refrigerated ‘Grab-n-Go’ case and keeps it stocked with fresh bagel sandwiches, cream cheese and Dr. Brown sodas.
The menu in Hallandale is the same as the one in Aventura, including awesome deli sandwiches and salads. Like Aventura, the deli counter and bakery are a sight to savor. Eat-in or takeout service are equally special, and delivery is available through Uber, Door Dash and most other services.
Looking to the future, Mo says that along with his long-time partner and advisor Paul, he hopes to open other locations. “Today, a great deli with the special staff it requires is more difficult to put together from scratch,” he says, “I’m thinking of smaller operations that focus on presenting great food, Kosher-style with a more limited menu, to attract a younger market that remembers how their “Bubby” used to cook.
Through the years, Mo has watched changing trends, The bottom line of success in the restaurant business, according to Mo, is to give customers great tasting quality food in a location where they feel at home. That’s why in this part of South Florida, you will frequently hear them say “Meet me at Mo’s.”
Mo’s Bagel & Deli
2780 NE 187th Street Aventura, Fl 33160
Mo’s Bagel & Deli
800 E. Hallandale Bch Blvd Hallandale Beach, Fl 33009