Fresh and homemade describe the fare at downtown spot
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough—When a regular customer comes in for a container of chicken salad, Yassine Ouarab does not pull a plastic tub of salad from his deli case.
Instead, he takes a handful of marinated, roasted chicken breast strips, dices them, adds chopped celery, fresh parsley, two or three dabs of mayo, and, because he knows what that customer wants, a bit of diced onion, mixes it all together and hands the container of fresh chicken salad over the counter.
That attention to personal service and fresh, homemade food are hallmarks of the Westboro Deli, a friendly storefront on the rotary downtown.
“I could buy chicken salad from my supplier, but some people don’t like a lot of mayo, some people want more mayo,” he explained.
Ouarab bought the store from his uncle about a year ago after working in another sandwich shop for several years, and is gradually converting it from a basic convenience store to a shop concentrating on take-out food, Dietz & Watson deli meats and cheeses, and beverages, with just a few convenience grocery items such as milk, juices and eggs.
“It’s good to run your own business, and my uncle was ready to retire,” he said. “But he still gives me advice all the time.”
There are three tables if you want to eat your sandwich right there, and Ouarab plans to add a few more. And if you eat in, your sandwich will be served on a real plate, not a paper plate or sheet of foil.
While a variety of traditional sandwiches and subs are available, the Westboro Deli specialties are paninis for $5.99, wraps for $6.49 and gourmet sandwiches for $6.79. Each one is made to order.
“I make my sandwiches really full, not like the controlled portions you get in chain shops. It makes me feel good when I serve something nice,” said Ouarab, whose customers frequently call him “Jason.”
He has personally created the sandwich menu, which includes chicken cordon bleu, vegetable, and raging bull (roast beef) paninis; Mediterranean, chicken Caesar, tuna melt and smoky Joe (smoked turkey and ham) wraps; and grilled chicken with caramelized onion, smoked salmon, and French ham gourmet sandwiches. The paninis, he said, are the most popular.
The options also include fresh green salads, and deli salads such as pasta or potato salad.
Westboro Deli is open for breakfast as well, with a variety of breakfast sandwiches and wraps, bagels, and eggs cooked to order.
Ouarab, who is originally from Morocco, also offers two or three homemade soups every day from his own recipes. A couple of Moroccan specialties are frequently available, including tagine, a slow-cooked stew prepared in a special clay pot, and shawarma, lamb or chicken roasted on a spit and served in pita bread with hummus and garlic sauce, similar to a Greek gyro.
His cooking draws from a variety of cuisines, however, including homemade meatballs and marinara sauce.
“People who try my food come back,” he said with a smile.
The Westboro Deli can provide catering for office lunches, parties or a platter of sandwiches, cold cuts or such for an event. Deli platters and smaller orders are available with just a few hours’ notice. For hot foods, customers should call at least a day in advance.
“I’ll make whatever you want,” Ouarab promised.
The Westboro Deli is located at 10 East Main St. in Westborough, right on the rotary where routes 30 and 135 intersect. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. To place a takeout order, call 508-870-3125.
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