Mel Krupin, owner of Mel Krupin's restaurant, can eat all the pickles, crabcakes, herring in sour cream and chopped liver he wants during the week. But Sundays are his own. That's when he goes out for Chinese.

"My weekend consists of Sunday," he said. "I am a one-day weekender."

Krupin is the former ma.itre d' of Duke Ziebert's, once a well-known meeting place for power-brokers, jocks and journalists. After Ziebert's closed and fell to the wrecking ball, Krupin duplicated the menu and drew the same clientele to his own restaurant around the corner on Connecticut near L, where he continues his command of the names of all the Washington players who come through the door.

On the one day of the week that the restaurant's closed, Krupin gets up at 9 or 10 in the morning, reads the paper, has a cup of coffee. "If it's raining out," he said, "I go back to bed."

If it's not, in the warmer months he sits by the pool. He lives in an apartment, so he has no garden to work on. "I don't play golf," he said. "The one day, I spend home with my wife."

In the autumn, he goes to football games. He sometimes attends dinner parties, weddings, outings at country clubs (though he doesn't belong to one himself) and book parties, but only if they fall on his day off.

Sunday evenings, he and his wife, Gloria, go out for Chinese. It may be the Rickshaw Restaurant in Rockville, or the Imperial Palace in Chevy Chase. He orders spareribs, although he's not supposed to eat them: "I'm supposed to be on a diet," he said. He goes to a diet center during the week, but never on a Sunday: "That's the day to cheat."

Later on Sunday nights, he watches the news and catches a movie on TV. He bought a movie camera to take pictures of the kids: "That's the movie to watch," he said. The 52-year-old restaurateur has two grandchildren and another on the way.

During the week he works long hours, so to relax between lunch and dinner he lies down a little and reads a book. "If I read a chapter, I go to sleep," he said. His recent reading is up to date: Robert Ludlum's The Parsifal Mosaic and Warren Adler's American Quartet: a Novel About the Mortal Link Between Four Marked Presidents of the United States.

He takes his renowned chopped liver home from Mel Krupin's only when Mel Krupin is having a party.

"I am not a sightseer," Krupin said. "I am a relaxer -- sit by the pool, bring in the sunshine, smoke my cigar, that's the best weekend. Don't hear the noises -- the people in the restaurant.

"Life is short. You gotta take every day as it comes and I don't think that you have to take the weekend to do more than you do during the week," he said.

"It's a time for relaxation, to bring your body down from the level it was on. All week you're on a high -- running, moving, talking, overseeing. God said it: You need one day of rest.

"I'm falling asleep right now," he said. "I get relaxed just thinking about it."