MLK Deli owner Tyrone White looks forward to setting up his second carryout, Scales, on Sheriff Road NE in D.C.'s Ward 7. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
MLK Deli owner Tyrone White looks forward to setting up his second carryout, Scales, on Sheriff Road NE in D.C.'s Ward 7. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

It has long been an example of a thriving enterprise when a business decides to expand and Tyrone White, a successful carryout owner in Ward 8, will be doing so soon.

White, owner of the popular MLK Deli on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, will open up another carryout on Sheriff Road NE in the summer. With the continued success of the MLK Deli, White wanted to branch out in a different direction, not only in another part of the city but with a new cuisine.

“I wanted to go to Ward 7 with a new business and a different concept,” he said. “I wanted to try a seafood carryout that catered to customers who wanted their food fast but in a casual type of setting.”

The MLK Deli, founded approximately three decades ago, has received widespread praise for its soul and deli food types of offerings such as wings, crab cakes, freshly baked cakes, burgers and sandwiches that includes the famous Marion Barry Salmon Cakes, named after the late D.C. political icon.

White took control of MLK Deli a few years ago.

People have been known to line up through the front door to taste MLK Deli’s cuisine and its customer base represents regulars and newcomers, both in large numbers.

With such a consistent and strong customer base, White felt comfortable moving forward with his business enterprise.

“The MLK Deli has its own legs,” he said.

MLK Deli has gotten a lot of publicity for its food offering, with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) trying a crab cake in November 2017 as a part of its #ShopSmallDC initiative designed to bring attention to the District’s bustling small business owners. The MLK Deli also has a spot in the Entertainment & Sports Arena located on the grounds of St. Elizabeth East in Congress Heights.

Opening a seafood establishment seem to be a good direction for White to go for his second carryout given that Blacks in the District love that type of fare and waterways such as the Potomac, Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and in some places, the Anacostia River, are good for fishing and close to the city. Plus, the District has received rave reviews from residents and tourists for its stellar seafood restaurants that include Legal Sea Foods, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place and the Sequoia.

White contemplated opening his seafood carryout in Ward 8 but ultimately looked at Ward 7.

“I live in Ward 8 but I was raised in Ward 7,” White said. “I wanted to bring something back to home. There are Chinese carryouts in Ward 7 and while I don’t have a problem with that, I think the people in Ward 7 need more options.

“Besides, I want the people of Ward 7 to be able to get good seafood close to home without going downtown,” he said. “You have to dress up to go to the downtown seafood restaurants and sometimes people don’t want to do that.”

White signed the deal to acquire Jumpin Out of the Pan, located at 4505 Sheriff Road NE in the Deanwood section of Ward 7, from the owner. He plans to call the new carryout Scales and early July will be its opening.

Anthony Lorenzo Green, who represents single-member district 7C04 on the 7C advisory neighborhood commission that encompasses White’s new carryout, expressed satisfaction at White’s move.

“When I saw that Tyrone took over the Jumpin Pan on Instagram last month, I was very happy,” he said. “That means that I can go get my crab cakes with my slippers on.”

Green said White’s actions are a part of neighborhood leaders’ efforts to bring more amenities to Deanwood.

“I’m excited about more retail being located on Sheriff Road,” he said. “The more retail offerings that come to Sheriff Road, the more attractive Deanwood becomes.”

White, who graduated from H.D. Woodson High School and received assistance in purchasing the MLK Deli from the Congress Heights Community Development and Training Program led by Executive Director Monica Ray, said he seeks to uplift Ward 7.

“I want to create more jobs in Ward 7 and 8,” White said. “There are a lot of areas in Ward 7 that are poverty-stricken and this is my way of giving back.”

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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