Life has been a rollercoaster for Ollie’s Deli in the past few years.
But they’re keeping on keeping on.
And, after watching their story unfold from afar, I’m very happy to be stepping inside the sanger shop – located in the what was once the Royal Hotel – for my first taste.
The mostly white-and-bright and tile-heavy interior is a surprise, conjouring up images of fast food and blandness.
But those impressions are swiftly, handily swept aside by the cheerful staff and the quality of the food.
I’m in for a mid-week lunch, so am unable to secure one of the weekend specials.
Normally, in this sort of setting, I’d hone in on anything pastrami/reuben on the menu (see below).
Today though I go for the Italian Deli Bagel ($15), even though it’s the kind of thing I’d create out of the fridge.
And maybe I go for it because it kinda seems like a New Orleans-style muffaletta.
It is, too – though a lot less pungent and garlicky.
It is very, very good.
Piled high are mortadella, salami, ham, roast capsicum, spinach, provolone and mayo.
The bagel itself is equally excellent – both fresh and chewy.
And because I’m in the mood for a meal rather than a snack, I get extras – potato crisps and pickles for $3 each.
This, of course, nudges the bill upwards quite a bit.
But happily the serves of both are also generous and crunchy, making for a fine repast.
I like Ollie’s Deli a lot – they’re offering a yummy point of difference in Footscray Central.
And judging by the number of orders going out the door, it’s working.