Rosen’s Full Belly Deli is the kind of place where they make sandwiches that are actually too big to put in your mouth.
With meats piled as high as the Chrysler building on rye bread, you’re forced to take tiny bites around the edges, or pick it apart bit by bit until you whittle it down to manageable size. This is partly why some of their larger sandwiches are more expensive, ranging from $10.99 all the way up to $15.99 for chopped liver, tongue, corned beef and Swiss cheese. (Maybe that last one comes with a side of health insurance?) It’s also why fans from all over the country went apoplectic when the previous incarnation of the Jewish deli closed in January. It re-opened in May in its new spot in Westbrook, in the space that used to house Blue Burrito.
When I went in recently, for the first time since they re-opened, I chose the Gourmet Gobbler for $12.99. It was kind of a cross between a Reuben and a Rachel – turkey and corned beef on marble rye (my choice) with Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing. It came with a half-sour pickle spear and my choice of coleslaw, potato salad or pasta salad. I chose the potato salad, and was glad I did. It’s a small serving, but a nice mix of chunky and creamy potatoes without too much tartness or added ingredients. I like potato salad that actually tastes like potatoes.
There are plenty of other choices that are priced in the same league as other sandwich shops – a simple chicken salad sandwich is $8.49, for example, and burger baskets with hand cut fries start at just $6.99 – but that’s not why you go to Full Belly Deli, is it? You go for the big sandwiches with ingredients that are hard to find elsewhere, and you go for the specials, such as the Supernatural Burger – an Angus burger topped with Swiss cheese, cooked onion and…wait for it…pastrami! Served with those hand-cut fries, of course.
The deli has started serving soups since the weather has cooled off, and I tried their broccoli cheddar. It was fine, but it’s only offered in bowl size and I wished I could have had a smaller cup.
There are about eight tables inside and three picnic tables out on the deck for use when the weather is agreeable. Customers order at the counter and wait for their name to be called. There are refrigerators filled with sodas, but the deli also serves local beers.
Hanging on the wall is an old menu from George’s Deli, the precursor to Rosen’s, which was located in Monument Square. After George’s closed, the owner, George Bress, helped the Rosen family get started in their business. They still have a sandwich named after him – that $15.99 gigantic one with chopped liver, tongue and corned beef.
If you haven’t paid a visit to Westbrook yet, take the drive and let’s ensure that Rosen’s sticks around for another 28 years.
650 Main St., Westbrook | 207-887-9755 | www.facebook.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; closed Sunday
WAIT: 5 minutes
PARKING: On street and in Riverbank Park
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes