Mamaleh’s Brings Noshing Home to Weston This Month

One of the things that native New Yorkers miss most about “the city” (and no, Boston is not “the city”) is the food. Now, I admit my foundation as a native New Yorker is a bit wobbly–while I was born at NYU Hospital, and lived in Riverdale for three fantastic but not highly memorable years (I was a bit wee), we soon moved out to Somers, home of a large elephant statue, and then on to New Canaan, the home of nothing except short-lived fame as the birthplace of preppies. Or so we believed. Well, onwards, you digress-aholic, where are you going? Well, I would go to Zabars, the upper west side ground zero of bagelry and nova lox, and rugelach and things I cannot pronounce. And pickles. Good pickles.

So last week, when the Owl received an email from Weston resident Rachel Sundet about a place called Mamaleh’s, a Cambridge-based delicatessen claiming nova lox and great bagels and reubens…which I am very judge-y about as well…I said “bring it on” and she took it literally. Sometimes I super love the perks of my job especially when it involves cake, taco trucks and nova.

Yesterday Rachel and I met on the Weston beach for a fun conversation about Boston area bagels. For the record, and while ducking from some New York friends, we have a “contendah.” And you will be able to try them yourselves, at your own home with a special suburban semi-rural delivery from Mamaleh’s on June 29…but I get ahead of myself.

So, if you don’t speak Yiddish, and I don’t except for some choice words taught to me by my college roommate who never ever sweated but sometimes “shvitzed”, you may not know that Mamaleh literally means “little mama” but is a term of endearment for kids. If you feel you need to learn Yiddish, and I do, there is a Learn Yiddish words feature on their site and you are a nudnik if you don’t test it out.

Mamaleh’s, which is billed as a delicatessen-restaurant is now six years old. Rachel (and six business partners) started it when she moved back to Weston (yes, she is a ‘cat–only through 8th grade, but it counts) with the idea that it would be a place where people would pick up breakfast on the way to work in Cambridge or noshes on the way home. But then, pandemic, and closure from March-May 2020. Following that, there was the “pivot” which is a word that I tire of so please someone tell me the Yiddish for it–and a move towards takeout and delivery, using the giant retail fridges and freezers to stock take-and-bake knishes, and frozen blintzes and rugelach.

Talking about food, the idea behind Mamaleh’s is not to be the least expensive, but to be the best. And as part of that, they try to use exceptional local vendors when possible (such as rye bread from Salem. Yes, Salem.) Many of their items are very labor-intensive including a three day process to make bagels. Many items are family recipes, and many of them will give the customer such an intense jolt of happy nostalgia, it is almost physical. Yes, I had that reaction to the best nova lox and bagel sandwich on the planet, including capers, onion and tomato. If you do not know the difference between nova and any other type of lox, you will not know what I am talking about. The only help for you is an immediate order from Mamaleh’s.

The seven partners of Mamaleh’s, including the self-proclaimed handsome one from South Dakota (their website is quite entertaining, I must say) are also involved in two other “concept” restaurants in Cambridge: State Park and Vincent’s. If I actually ever left the Wa-Lin-We-Wa-We polygon, I would check out State Park in a heartbeat–a lovely tree on its logo. These things are important. In August 2020, they opened a Mamaleh’s in Washington Square, Brookline and since March 2022 they have had a mini-food court type location at High Street Place.

I asked Rachel which was her favorite of all the items they make. And immediately regretted it because then it was time to salivate (again, there must be a better Yiddish word) hearing all about rainbox bagels (Pride month), challah, 5-layer chocolate cake– a cake Rachel said she hadn’t grown up eating but wanted to make for customers as the “cake she always imagined other people had”, and onwards to chicken salad sandwiches made from scratch, pressed sandwiches, and even a dorm fridge deli package which I need to send to my college roommate Robin for old time’s sake. I would never have made it through Wellesley without Robin’s study break bagel and cheeses warmed up in the fire hazard toaster ovens.

Rachel said that she loved everything they make, and is most proud of the “whole bakery thing” and I love this because she is the pastry chef as well as an owner. Me, I am going through their pick-up menu and dropping whitefish salad and challah in, but have a question on what exactly is a 1/2 pint of “schmaltz”, a word I have only heard used to describe Air Supply’s music.

The most exciting news for Weston and those of us who haaaaatttee going into the not-the-“city”, is that you can place an order on Mamaleh’s site for free delivery TO WESTON on June 29. Sorry, got a bit excited there. Mamaleh’s refrigerated van will bring you all the fish platters and lox and bagels and reubens you can order in time for July 4 weekend fun–or let’s be honest, the Owl’s bag of goodies lasted about 23 minutes at our backyard picnic table yesterday. Just a huge shout-out not only for the bagels which are indeed delicious but for the Reuben which was definitely the best I have had. And nova. And rugelach which someday I hope to pronounce properly.

Hold.the.phone. Now that is a REUBEN.

“Our learning from the pandemic was how there is a big demand in the suburbs for great food coming to your door,” said Rachel. “We set up [the van] in temple and local business parking lots during the pandemic and we had at least 50 orders a day come in for local van deliveries.”

No, the van does not come to your door but it does come to the Center Street parking lot and that’s close enough. The vans deliver to different towns on different days–they’ve already come through Lexington, Newton, Wellesley, Wayland, Marblehead and even Sharon. Why not Weston? Yes, Weston. Celebrate Weston. Celebrate it with a nova lox and bagel. Order now while I’ve made you hungry.

Pre-orders for June 29 are accepted until noon on that day. The van parks at Center Street Weston from 4-6 pm for pickup.

For more information, and an entertaining read, head over to Mamaleh’s web page and get hungry.

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