After four years in downtown Bethesda, Heckman’s Delicatessen closed quietly this week as the owners sold the space to an upcoming Eritrean and Ethiopian restaurant.

Heckman’s closed at 4914 Cordell Ave. on Monday and Delina Eritrean Urban Kitchen plans to open there next week. Deli owners Ronnie and Eric Heckman, who also own the nearby Caddies, said Thursday they sold the restaurant to Abraham Melles, who wants to have a quick turnaround in opening his new restaurant.

Eric Heckman said Thursday the pair have many happy memories of Heckman’s, which opened in May 2014, but Melles’ offer was “an offer we couldn’t refuse.” One determining factor was a decision to focus on Caddies, which at 4922 Cordell Ave. is just a few doors away from the deli. The Heckmans bought Caddies from its longtime former owners in 2016.

“A lot of the thinking in this was we have a restaurant three times the size 50 feet down the street that’s a lot bigger operation,” he said. “Caddies has just been growing, and we want to continue making that happen.”

Ronnie Heckman said Caddie’s will absorb much of Heckman’s and has already begun including soups and sandwiches from the deli in its menu. Kitchen staff from Heckman’s also has been moved over to Caddies. The food will still be available for delivery and through a combined catering company Heckman’s/Caddies Catering.

Melles said his restaurant will serve tapas-style Eritrean and Ethiopian food.


Delina will be the third Ethiopian restaurant to open in Bethesda this past year, after Chercher Ethiopian at 4921 Bethesda Ave. and Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant at 4865 Cordell Ave.

This story will be updated.