WESTFIELD, NJ — Michele’s on Prospect, a new delicatessen and gourmet market, held its grand opening Oct. 31 at 760 Prospect Street.
Those who have lived in Westfield for many years are familiar with Prospectors, a tiny shop that catered to the neighborhood crowd with sandwiches, sweets, coffee and newspapers. Recently, new owners Lisa Natale, Raymond Augustus and their children, Terez Natale and Nico Natale, took over with co-owner and executive chef Russell Weiner. The shop is named for Lisa Natale’s late mother, Michele.
“For more than 10 years, Russell and I shared a dream to open our own deli cafe,” said Lisa Natale. “We worked together at Joe’s American Bar and Grill at the Short Hills Mall.”
Born and raised in Union, self-taught, Weiner came from a family of chefs that cooked in restaurants throughout the state."
“I started my career by watching my dad prepare breakfast every Sunday morning. I asked a lot of questions, and followed all of his recipes and ideas,” said Weiner. “While attending high school, I worked at Charlie Brown’s in Millburn. From there, I went to a brick oven pizzeria in Union, where I learned all about sauces and how to build a meal. Not long afterwards, I went to Joe’s American Bar and Grill.”
While there for 14 years, he learned about quality, efficiency and good food, said Weiner. “I discovered how to make people happy, and to prepare meals they especially liked to eat.”
“All of us that work here are really good friends. We all get along, because we put our love and lives into this interesting place. We’ve been busy from the moment we opened our door,” said Weiner.
Ramone Cortes is also a chef at Michele’s on Prospect. Armed with a more extensive culinary background, his favorite dishes are chicken marsala and chicken and shrimp parmigiana.
”We’re home to the Big Boy series of sandwiches,” said Cortes. “Whatever you order from the ‘Big Boy menu’ arrives as a larger than normal sandwich.”
The Flying Forks sandwich contains cheese, steak, crispy chicken, Mozzarella sticks, fries and beer-battered onion rings. Reid’s Stacker features breaded chicken breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mushroom gravy, sautéed peppers and onions. Andrew’s Land, Sea and Air Sandwich arrives with a cheeseburger, beer-battered fish, crispy chicken, French fries and beer-battered onion rings. ($12.50 each).
You’re can also order a hamburger, ($8.99), cheeseburger, ($9.50), hot sub sandwiches like Harry’s Hot Jewish Corned Beef Brisket on Rye, Duncan's Hot Pastrami and Cheese on Rye, Thomas’s Original Triple Decker Club Sandwiches served with lettuce, tomato, bacon and mayo, or Roast Beef, Turkey, Ham or Chicken ($8.50 each).
The staff at Michele’s on Prospect claim they serve the best bread, brownies, cookies, cake and cheesecake.
Call: 908-228-5552. Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Serving breakfast lunch and dinner. Major credit cards accepted. Free delivery. Catering options. Full line of gluten-free food, from appetizers to snacks. Street parking.