If you ask Chick & Ruth’s Delly owner Ted Levitt the key to his restaurant’s success, he’ll tell you: “Friendly service and good food. Keep it old-fashioned. Keep it original.” That philosophy has paid off to the degree that Levitt and his wife, Beth, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the iconic 165 Main Street, Annapolis, restaurant on Aug. 16.

To celebrate, the couple gave away $50 gift certificates to randomly selected tables throughout the day — while matching every dollar donated that day to Faces of Valor USA, a nonprofit organization Ted Levitt established eight years ago to assist wounded police, fire and emergency personnel, as well as members of the military wounded in the line of duty.

Chick & Ruth’s served between 1,200 and 1,500 people on Aug. 16 (a typical Sunday turnout), a testament to the Levitt family’s time-proven belief that good old-fashioned hospitality and a genuine love of people builds loyal customers and friends for life.

Diners at the deli can still order, of course, from a menu featuring more than 120 sandwiches and dishes bearing the names of elected officials past and present — a big jump from the eight or nine items available when Levitt’s parents, Chick and Ruth Levitt, opened the restaurant in August 1965.

As Ted Levitt reflects on his 50 years at Chick & Ruth’s, he’s quick to say he couldn’t have done it without his wife, and he wouldn’t have done it any other way.

“There’s nothing I would have done differently. All I wanted to do when I was growing up was work with my dad and mom,” he said. “Ever since I was 12–13 years old, my dad and I would go out on Tuesday nights, until the day he died. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. The town is great, the people are great. We’re in a living, thriving community that keeps the charm of the old days.”