Our Busy Summer and Changes to Our Saturdays

Breakfast sandwiches served on an English muffin and samosas

Breakfast sandwiches served on an English muffin (from Canada Day, 2010)

It has been almost five years that we have been serving up breakfast at the Urban Deli.

Effective June 21st, this will change as we line up our hours with the rest of the week. We’ll be opening the Deli at 11:30am on Saturdays. This means that the 9am mornings are behind us.

The great news is that we will still offer a BIG BLT and a Monte Cristo breakfast sandwich on our lunch menu for those of you with a breakfast craving.

The decision is made with mixed emotions because we will miss our regular breakfast goers who at first may have not known each other but over time built Saturday morning friendships.

Saturdays sitting with our regular customers always felt like we were solving the world’s problems. We talked about our week, latest travels, family, food and everything in between. When you got up to leave, you just felt good by talking and sharing stories. And for those great conversations and time spent, we sincerely thank you!

The opportunity that unfolds for us is to focus on a very busy summer of caterings. We are blessed and excited to have weddings and other caterings booked for nearly every weekend starting mid-July. We look forward to introducing both our Deli & Italian food to new customers, through those caterings.

I would like to thank our breakfast teams in the kitchen and in the front of house for doing a great, great job over the past five years! I also want to thank all those customers that enjoyed a Saturday breakfast at the Deli. It has been a wonderful five years of breakfasts!

Our updated hours:

  • Urban Deli: Monday – Saturday 11:30 – 3pm
  • Italian by Night: Wednesday – Saturday starting at 5pm
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Connection Re-connection

The Urban Deli as seen by photographer Beaver Smith. At Urban Deli / Italian by Night we’ve been blessed with being part of the lives of our clientele… birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, marriage proposals. We’re privileged to see life’s gamut of significant occasions celebrated here.

Recently, we bore witness to the truly intimate rebirth and expansion of a family. We observed the reunion of two families, one from B.C. and one from here in Saint John.

Some thirty some odd years ago a new Mom, out of love and unselfishness, gave her son up for adoption so that he might have a better life with a loving family.

Through love, strength and a desire to complete the circle, the two families were reunited and came together to share a meal and toast to the future – truly a celebration that we were honoured to be a part of and the kind of moment that makes our life here absolutely wonderful.


Emmy Winning Off the Beaten Palate

Michael-Ann’s Emmy award is for Off the Beaten Palate, a three part food and travel documentary that aired on PBS Detroit last year. It began right here at home in New Brunswick. It then moved on to Ontario and the third episode was out in Alberta. Here’s the series trailer, Off the Beaten Palate (OTBP) Canadian Trilogy Trailer:

You can find all three of the episodes on Michael-Ann’s Off the Beaten Palate web site under videos. Scroll down and you’ll quickly find them. Here’s MA’s brief description of the episodes:

In Episode 1, I travel back to my home province of New Brunswick, Canada, and explore a vast Seafood Culture. Some of the best seafood in the world awaits every visit!

Episode 2 takes us to the Province of Ontario, Canada, where I explored the Greater Golden Horseshoe!

Episode 3 was an all-out adventure of one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces; Alberta, Canada. An unforgettable adventure!

Put the three of them together, and you have an Emmy award winning show – Off the Beaten Palate. Congratulations Mickey!


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And the Winner Is …

Woo-hoo! Michael-ann picked up an Emmy! Congratulations Mickey!

Michael-Ann Rowe with her Emmy Award in Detroit, June 14, 2014.

Michael-Ann Rowe with her Emmy Award.

Our Emmy-award winning Michael-Ann Rowe received her award for her three-part food and travel documentary series that aired on PBS Detroit (back in June of last year).

The Emmy comes from NATAS, Michigan Chapter, and her category was Documentary – Topical. (NATAS is the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.)

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Mickey Gets an Emmy Nomination

If you haven’t heard already (and you probably have – it’s all we can talk about) Liz’s sister MA (aka Mickey, aka Michael-Ann) has been nominated for an Emmy! Woo-hoo! We’re still pinching ourselves!

Born and raised right here in New Brunswick, Michael-Ann’s nomination is for her three-part food & travel documentary series that aired on PBS Detroit in June of 2013. The Emmy nom comes from NATAS, National Academy of Television, Arts & Science, and is an incredible honour.

Keep in mind, Mickey started this project of love with her first documentary, which was all about us, New Brunswick, and our incredible food. She’s as NB as fiddleheads (which, by the way, are prepared best by you know who – Michaell-Ann.)

Just add this up as one more NBer kicking ass on the food scene. There is also Saint John’s own Jesse Vergen on Top Chef Canada (Food Network Canada).

Emmy Award nomination for Off the Beaten Palate - Michael-Ann Rowe. Goes to Off the Beaten Palate for info on the nomination.

Michael-Ann’s nomination is from NATAS, Michigan Chapter, and the category is Documentary – Topical (PDF file).

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Interview: Urban Deli owner Liz Rowe

In today’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ Blog, we interview Urban Deli’s owner Liz Rowe.

Q. Liz, you’re certainly no stranger at filling in on the line, plus prep. A few very busy days saw you on the line for Urban Deli, straight on into Italian at Night. How well did you feel prepared to do this?

Our staff at work and smiling!

Dale and Diem at work wearing big smiles!

A. I feel prepared for two reasons. First, I know our Italian menu, the ingredients and the basics for most our recipes. When we are building our Italian menus each season, it is very collaborative. Second, because there is a ‘list’ I feel prepared. Kim is great at leaving a good list.

It’s like a Seinfeld episode – there’s always a list and you follow the list. For me it’s about staying focused on the list. I’m like a squirrel at times…When I see a shiny object I want to go investigate and I tend to get distracted for brief moments. The ‘list’ takes me longer than most but it does get done.

Q. What are the differences between prep and line from the Urban Deli shift to the Italian at Night shift?

A. Other than being done in the same work space they are different outputs with the same love.

Urban Deli is go, go, go! Fast paced. The production and outputs are greater by volume for the deli and over shorter periods of time. The atmosphere is electric, including fun music, the ‘lunch hurried’ guests, plus our teams are all moving at a faster pace. That’s because we are serving our clients’ needs by way of time restrictions.

Our price point is different; therefore, it is important for us to serve a high volume of guests.

On the deli line we use the grill all day and the deep fryer for our best ever frites (fries). Working around those two pieces of equipment is completely different than for Italian — where we will slowly sauté risotto in a pan on the gas stove. By the time that’s done we would have had 10 dishes done for Deli.

The Italian by Night prep and line is all about slowing things down and offering customers the same guest experience without the fast pace.

For Italian, we turn it up a notch by turning it down.

The lights are dimmed, the music is Italian or more relaxed / flowing, candles are lit and there is a longer interaction with customers to discuss food and wine choices / recommendations.

Ingredients, while excellent for both, are completely different from deli to Italian. We source ingredients directly from Italy and the ‘love’ is different…so is the skill set for cooking.

Q. As experienced as you are, what kinds of feelings do you have, dropping into the line at the last minute?

A. My feeling about dropping into the line is always the same. I don’t mind a bit. Of course, everything you planned to do that day gets bumped. But there are nights for that.
I get to keep my finger on the pulse. Interact with the team on the line and the wait staff who pick up the food to deliver to our customers.

I get to complement and to improve things or ensure we are doing things consistently. Even to the point where the pickle and coleslaw need to be a particular way on the plate. I am there with a critical eye for the sake of consistency of product and service. Bottom line.

The wait staff are excellent at giving us feedback from our customers. We adjust quickly when needed. The customer pays our bills and we are never to forget it – we are there to appreciate and love our customers, which we do.

Q. What, if any, considerations do you even have a chance to think about, when it comes to front of the house, customers being seated, customers waiting, etc when you are on the line, or prepping?

A. I always make my way to the front of house to say hello, seat a customer, deliver food or freshen up their coffee or water. Our strength is acknowledging our customers and anticipating their needs.

I hate it when I go into retail of any sort and they don’t acknowledge me. Because of that experience, we work hard to treat customers the way we want to be treated when we go out.

Q. Does working on the line keep you ‘fresh’ so to speak?

A. I love the experience. I either work the line or prep on average of once per week.

Working line / prep gives me an opportunity to see how the teams engage with one another.

We’re always reminding each other about why we’re here– for our customers. With so many different personalities we remember to be kind to one another. Life is short.

On the food side, I have fun tasting or testing new things with the prep team and kitchen teams. The goal is to keep the teams engaged to want to try new things or bring new ideas to the table.

To be able to watch everyone do their job well and to have our customers top of mind is more than a business owner could ask for.
It’s a gift, an art or a science or a hybrid of them all. It also keeps me current, informed and ready to ‘adjust’ things quickly if indeed they need to be adjusted.

Q. It must give you renewed appreciation for your teams.

A. I love our teams; the people, their individual quirks, their enthusiasm for doing a great job and they genuinely care about our customers. Do they have bad days? They sure do. They are human and we work around it. Laughter is the best medicine.

When customers stop and thank the teams for doing a great job or if they had a good experience, the team talks about that feedback often. We really do have an ‘A’ Team.

Diem at work at the Deli..

Yup. We love food!

Be sure to follow our blog as we introduce you to the team, to our regulars, to our most favourite deli foods and more! If you’d like a topic covered, just drop us a line!