Wan’s Deli Shutters in Allston
Al Niles accidentally developed a mass following among college kids in the Mission Hill area at Wan’s Deli & Convenience store, with his gigantic Deathwich, Witch Doctor, and other signature sandwiches. When he had to leave the rent-controlled space in 2013, he returned six months later and did it again in Allston.
But today, two years after the Brighton Ave. deli opened, Wan’s Deli has abruptly closed. Niles promises a return, though:
In an interview with Boston in 2014, Niles said launching a deli menu was “more of a survival thing than anything else… I just got tired of working for a big company and wanted to test my ability to do something on my own. At the time I had some money I had put away, so I took a chance on running my own store. The whole sandwich thing came about a year into it because college students were always coming in asking for something to eat. I had a little background mixing and matching and putting things together, so I started blending my own spice mixtures and sauces and making sandwiches for them. I didn’t even have a menu for the first couple of years, but they loved it and it just kept progressing until it became this full-fledged deli.”
Earlier this year, Niles denied a rumor that the Brighton Ave. Wan’s Deli might be in danger of closing. He said he planned to adjust the shop’s hours in February. That month, he also reintroduced Caribbean and West Indies specialities, like braised oxtail, goat curry, fried plantains, and other plates.
Boston has reached out to Niles for more on the future of Wan’s Deli.
Wan’s Deli, 172 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-783-8787, Facebook.