December 16, 2013 at 10:32 PM
WESTFIELD, NJ — Located down the block from Franklin Elementary School at 760 Prospect Street, Michele’s on Prospect has quickly become a neighborhood hangout since opening Oct. 31.
Owner Lisa Natale, who named the shop after her late mother, encourages customers to make Michele’s their home away from home, especially when it comes to families. Parents can set up weekly accounts for children old enough to visit the deli alone, and she began carrying school supplies so kids can get everything they need while they’re there.
“I want this to be their place,” said Natale, herself a mom of two.
When report cards come in, “Every good report card gets a free ice cream and a chance to win a bike at the end of the year.” (Natale defines “good” as Cs or higher—for some children, getting an “A” can be a struggle, she explained. )
“Every kid is important,” Natale said. “We treat every kid like they’re the best thing in the world.”
When it comes to the food here, the focus is on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Baking is done on premises. Homemade ravioli is filled to order by the restaurant’s experienced chefs.
“We use a lot of fresh vegetables,” said Natale. “We get fresh fish daily—nothing frozen. We even have homemade pickles.”
Although some items are ready to grab and go, most of what’s on the gourmet menu is made to order, which means if you’re picking up or in a rush, it’s a good idea to call ahead. It also means the chef can customize your meal and even make something that’s not on the menu, if requested.
“I want to thank everybody for welcoming their new neighborhood deli with open arms and giving us a chance,” said Natale. “Westfield I feel like is the most beautiful, unique town in New Jersey. Westfield is historic. I just love the warmth that’s around here.”
She’s looking forward to partnering with local organizations and charities and becoming a part of the local community. Already, she’s planning a free Christmas party for kids who donate a gift to a child in need through Michele’s.
“I want to promote acts of kindness,” she explained.
Coming up, the restaurant will host brunch with Santa Dec. 21, when kids will eat free with the purchase of an adult meal. On Dec. 22, she’ll host “Santa Paws” for dog owners. Free photos with Santa will be available at both events.
Michele’s on Prospect offers free delivery. In addition to gourmet food, including catering and a full line of gluten-free food, the deli-cafe carries grocery items such as eggs and milk and household supplies, including toilet paper and lightbulbs. Call 908-228-5552.