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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: February 18, 2019

Float on down to River’s Edge Deli for hot meals and hearty sandwiches

Written by: Ray Routhier

River’s Edge Deli on Main Street in Westbrook is located across the street from Riverbank Park.
Photos by Ray Routhier

It was a bone-chillingly cold day, about 5 degrees by noon, when I walked into River’s Edge Deli in Westbrook for lunch.

I strode up to the counter and started perusing the big menu board, with items written in different colors. Suddenly, I noticed to my left a small table with various warmed foods in covered trays. The smell of turkey and gravy was unmistakable.

I asked the woman behind the counter what the deal was, and she told me it was a turkey dinner, ready to eat. I could just help myself, for $4.99 a pound.

Yes, I thought, nice hot comfort food on this terribly cold day, with no waiting. That’s the ticket. And the idea of eating pounds of food seemed decadent.

At River’s Edge Deli on Main Street in Westbrook you can get home-made sweets, a serve-yourself dinner of turkey or meatloaf, plus soups, burgers, among other things.

I was handed a pre-weighed plate and then spooned myself some chunks of turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. It was a pretty good portion for lunch, but not crazy. It came to a little more than $7, which for a turkey dinner of that size, was a bargain.

I found a table in the side room of the place, which by 12:30 p.m. on a Thursday was crowded with people, many of whom the staff knew by name. Several also got the turkey dinner – which I found out is a Thursday-only special. Some got it in containers to go.

The eatery is across Main Street from Riverbank Park, so in nice weather, it would be a great spot to get food for a picnic.

My turkey dinner really hit the spot. The turkey was tender, the gravy was thick enough but not gloppy, and the sides were all great. The sweet potatoes had something sweet in them, perhaps brown sugar. The mashed potatoes were creamy, and the stuffing was better than most I’ve had.

The serve-yourself turkey dinner at River’s Edge Deli in Westbrook.

The turkey dinner is just one of the ready-to-eat meals River’s Edge Deli serves on certain days of the week. There’s usually shepherd’s pie on Monday, a boiled ham meal on Tuesday, meatloaf on Wednesday, American chop suey and macaroni and cheese on Fridays. All are $4.99 a pound. There are fresh soups and chowders each day too. Check the deli’s Facebook page for the daily specials.

Before I was seduced by the hot turkey dinner, I had been captivated by the burger selections, particularly after seeing some photos on Facebook. The menu includes a cheeseburger topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and cooked onions, for $8.50. Another cheeseburger is topped with a chicken breast, lettuce, tomato and mayo on Italian bread for $8.95. There’s also a cheeseburger topped with fried egg. You can get three cheeseburger sliders for $5.95.

There are comfort-food sandwiches, like chicken, meatball or sausage Parmesan, meatloaf, steak and cheese, and pastrami and cheese. Most are about $7 to $8. There are lot of other sandwiches, including a half dozen kinds of Italians. A hot dog is $2.25. There’s also a pretty extensive breakfast menu.

The counter where I ordered had trays of fresh-baked goods, covered with plastic wrap. I ordered an apple turnover for $1.95 and a sugar-topped plain donut for $1.75. The donut was especially good. It was fluffy on the inside and nicely-browned outside.

But I didn’t eat either of the sweets right away. I figured a pound and half of turkey and fixings could hold me until dinner.

It did.

River’s Edge Deli

WHERE: 616 Main St., Westbrook, (207) 854-1113, On Facebook.
HOURS: 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday
WAIT: None, for the serve-yourself daily meal
PARKING: On street
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes, a ramp on side of building.

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