Full Belly Deli reopens as Rosen’s in Westbrook

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Hot pastrami on rye at Rosen’s Deli

Squeals of delight and mile-high corned beef sandwiches sailed through the air. The holiday weekend was over, but on Tuesday when Rosen’s Deli opened for the first time, the celebration had just begun.

The long-awaited reinvention of Portland’s dearly departed Full Belly Deli opened in its new location by the same owners in downtown Westbrook. “The atmosphere isn’t the same,” said Mary Carol Haggerty, digging into a Reubin on rye. “But the food is,” said the Westbrookian with a knowing wink.

And that is all that matters.

Sandwiches made with locally cured meats served with thick and snappy dill pickles and tasty slaw served on extremely fresh bread (dark rye all the way) is a mirage in Maine. What is this classic Jewish deli doing in Portland’s scrappy sister? Cleaning up.

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Kim Ballard celebrates the opening of Rosen’s Tuesday.

“Downtowns are where it’s at,” said Kim Ballard, who arrived with friend Chris Hourcle and cheered when she walked through the door.

Jewish delis are hard to come by in Maine. The former Full Belly, which closed abruptly in Portland over the winter after a 20-plus year run due to rising rents, has a new look but same MO: great, fresh deli sandwiches and classic accoutrements. Red checker baskets? You know it.

“I am glad they have found a new home,” said Ballard, who waited patiently for her ham on a bulkie.

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Across from a park and the riverwalk, Rosen’s Deli has landed in a nice community zone. Will they draw old fans of the gourmet gobbler and funky chicken? Don’t have to hold the mustard on that one.

Rosen’s Deli, 650 Main Street, Westbrook is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 11 to 4 p.m. See you on the deck!

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.