Photo of Bub courtesy Arlene Wagner
Photo of Bub courtesy Arlene Wagner
Photo of “Bub” courtesy Arlene Wagner

Bub & Pop’s will be closed today. Co-owner Arlene Wagner shared this morning that her mother Mae Aronow Wagner died last night at the age of 92. Mae was the “bub” who inspired the sandwich shop’s name.

“My niece was the first grandchild, and my sister that I lost in March decided that they should call her ‘Bub’ and my dad ‘Pop,’” Arlene says.

Not only that, but Mae and her husband operated a grocery with a deli in West Philadelphia, so the deli business was in the family’s blood. Arlene operates Bub & Pop’s with her son Jonathan Taub.

“It’s really unbelievable, isn’t it, losing four family members in just over a year,” Wagner says. This is the second time in a matter of weeks the shop has closed because Dec. 21 marked the one-year anniversary of when Wagner’s 30-year-old son, Staff Sgt. Peter Taub, was killed in Afghanistan.

In addition to her son, her sister, and her mother, Wagner also lost a young girl that she considered a niece. She was hit and killed by a car the night before she was leaving for college.

We spoke with Arlene about how she’s handled a year of hardship while maintaining her signature welcoming spirit in this year’s People Issue

Arlene says she hopes to reopen tomorrow. “I think what I’m going to do is just plan a memorial at a later date. Not very Jewish, huh?” she says, maintaining her sense of humor. 

Bub & Pops, 1815 M St. NW; (202) 457-1111;