It might be easy to drive right past it because Abu Nader Deli isn't big on appearances. The deli and small market is situated on the corner of a somewhat busy intersection, but it keeps a low profile, inside and out.
Everything at Abu Nader Deli, from yogurt to the pocket bread, is made from scratch; even the chickpeas for the hummus are freshly ground.
If there's one reason to stop at Abu Nader Deli, it's the Shawarma. Shawarma is commonly made by placing strips of beef and lamb (or other meats) on a spit. Traditionally, an onion or tomato are placed at the end of the spit.
The rotisserie combination of beef and lamb at Abu Nader is cooked until a slight char forms on the outside, and then shaved off in chunky pieces. They take those tender, charred pieces, stuff a lot of them inside a whole piece of their homemade pocket bread, and then top it off with tomato, onion, and a generous helping of cucumber sauce. They wrap it up in wax paper and foil and send you on your way, with a load of Shawarma under your arm.
The home made pocket bread holds most of the cucumber sauce inside the sandwich, rather than allowing the sauce to spill all over the place. Still, these types of sandwiches are notoriously messy, and Abu Nader's definitely delivers in that department.
The falafel at Abu Nader Deli is different than the falafel at Mim's, just up the road. Abu Nader's falafel is dense with chickpeas and generously seasoned with cumin, parsley, red pepper flakes, and other spices.
The hummus at Abu Nader is available for purchase at their deli. It's made fresh and served topped with a generous amount of virgin olive oil and paprika. The deli also also carries homemade yogurt, tabuleh, spinach pies, and meat pies.
Despite its proximity to the State Fair grounds, business doesn't slow at Abu Nader during the State Fair, it increases, according to their website. I guess that's not surprising. Afterall, isn't tender and juicy charred beef and lamb on a rotisserie just a giant piece of meat on a stick?
Eat Giant Shawarma Sammiches
Abu Nader Deli
2095 Como Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
[where: Minnesota, Food, St Paul, Shawarma, 55406]