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28th Jun 2024

10 types of people you’ll see in Irish delis

Tara Catlett

Several jobs are essential for societies to continue functioning – doctors, teachers, and farmers to name but a few. One of those necessary jobs among them, of course, is deli worker. The birthplace of our iconic chicken fillet rolls (although their rep has gone downhill after all the Irish red carpet interviews), strangely great deals on sausage rolls and the unbeatable hangover cure; the breakfast roll, they have been providing Ireland with some of the best carb-heavy meals for many years.

Before I was interning at Lovin, I’d been working full-time in a deli for several months. Though all under the same company, I have worked in 4 separate deli locations, and have curated more combinations of sandwiches, wraps and rolls before graduating uni than some may ever curate in their life (I see this as a privilege, as you can tell)

During my time in one of the most patriotic occupations on this island, I’ve noticed a few trends in orders – and the people that generally go with it.

10. The Adventurer

Randomised orders; different every time

The adventurer might frequent the same deli, but this person is unpredictable, ordering something different every time. While you may be on a first-name basis with this person, which is quite normal in environments like this, you’re never able to start working on their order when you spot them walking in. Sometimes, the adventurer won’t even stick to the same form of carbohydrate, jumping from wrap to roll to sandwich – maybe even panini – if they’re feeling particularly risky that day. Often, they’re not one to shy away from one of the ready-made sandwiches either, as long as they look fresh (maybe not even, you never know with these guys).

9. The Gym Bro

Protein, protein, protein

The gym bro is a simple guy. Protein is at the heart of his order, with chicken and egg most definitely making an appearance. In my experience, it’s usually a roll, although a spinach wrap is common too. For the condiment, it’s usually gonna be mayo or taco, followed by some lettuce, cold chicken, and boiled egg. Those most dedicated may opt for more protein, adding an egg mayo level. For the bulking gym bro, you can usually expect bacon or cheese to be included too. Paired with a protein shake, only the most steel-gutted bro can handle this stomach ache waiting to happen.

8. The Yummy Mummy

Just a sprinkle of cheese

The yummy mummy believes you are what you eat, which is why she’ll opt for a salad bowl most days. If she’s treating herself, she wants a scraping of butter on a brown roll or a tomato wrap. For fillings, some variation of veg like lettuce, onion, cucumber, or peppers can be expected, and for meat it’s gonna be a turkey or a tuna moment. Wild mummies might go for a “sprinkle of cheese, just a sprinkle – no that’s too much – can you take some of that off?”

7. The 10-Year-Old

Cheap and easy

The 10-year-old wants a plain chicken fillet on a roll, no butter, no mayo, no nothing. And they’re going to ask how much it costs before ordering. A variation of this may be a plain chicken fillet with loads and loads and loads of taco sauce.

6. The Construction Worker

Two sides of the same coin

The construction worker character is a particularly interesting phenomenon in the deli world. This comes partly because they make up about 70% of the demographic we serve, as delis outside the city centre almost always find themselves situated near a factory or construction site. It’s also interesting because despite working the same job, each worker finds themselves on an opposing point of the construction worker spectrum. In my experience, construction workers are either the soundest customers ever or they are the rudest – no in between. It’s a complex relationship, between deli and construction.

Similar to their personalities, their orders often differ completely too. The construction customer might get a plain chicken fillet or plain roll with no butter or anything. Or, they’ll do the complete opposite and construct the strangest order ever, combining fillings that should never go together, piling anything and everything that can fit onto it.

5. The Ol’ Reliable

Back to the basics

The ol’ reliable is a bit of a plain Jane, and to be clear there is no shame in the game for I’ve had my fair share too. The demographic for this is broad, but in my experience, it’s usually college students or young adults around 16-25 who go for this. Lettuce, chicken fillet and cheese, usually either taco or mayo for the spread. It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s good. If it’s not broken why fix it?

4. The 60’s Special

Soft and chewy

For the 60+ special, there’s a lot of mush involved. They don’t want to hurt their teeth with anything too hard or rough, so a sliced pan sandwich or a soft roll is in order. Older folks don’t seem to care too much about what their breath might smell like after their lunch, so they often opt for the more fragrant fillings. Tuna, egg, and onion are all favourites, the bottom line is the more pungent the filling, the more likely it’ll be added.

3. The Business Man

He’s got it all together

The businessman needs something satiating and fast to get him through his busy work schedule. He’s mastered his order and hates any deli worker who can’t keep up. He prioritises nutrition, making sure he hits each food group with his meal. A brown roll or wrap (carbs), tuna/turkey (protein) lettuce and onion (fibre), and cheese (fats), and make it snappy.

2. The Late Riser

The early bird got the worm and it’s your fault

We’ve all had it happen to us, we rolled out of bed later than usual and the only thing that can save the day is a breakfast roll. Mouth watering as you leave the house, imagining the warm, orange lighting of the hot deli counter, the grease glistening on the sausages. Then you show up, and there are two measly pieces of bacon left and a dried-up hashbrown. It’s depressing but true, the early bird does get the worm, and when you’re up against characters like the yummy mummy and the businessman, you have to beat the morning rush if you want a proper breakfast roll – if you don’t, that’s on you!

The late riser has a sad fate, they’ll either cut their losses with a chicken fillet roll, or will attempt to work with what’s left, making themselves the world’s most miserable breakfast roll. This will consist of whatever’s left after 12 (which is not much).

1. The Fire Breather

Some like it hot

Our final character is surprisingly, one of the most common. Like an ol’ reliable, the fire breather’s demographic reaches far and wide. People of all ages, genders, and ethnicities find themselves in this category and it’s both shocking and comforting that a spicy chicken fillet from the deli could become such an inclusive and non-discriminatory item. The fire breather likes it hot, and while their sandwich might vary these three things are a must – spicy fillet, chipotle sauce, and loads of jalapenos. I’m glad there are no bathrooms in delis because God bless the cleaners.

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READ ON: The best 5 chicken fillet rolls in Dublin, as the delicacy takes over London