Hector’s Deli might be the most over-qualified sandwich shop in Melbourne.
Owners Dom Wilton, Jason Barratt, Edward Ring and their staff have worked in some of Melbourne’s most iconic venues. They’ve channelled those experiences into their new sandwich shop and deli. Wilton and Barratt first worked together as chefs at Stokehouse, while Barratt – a former chef de partie at Attica – met head barista Zac Kelly when they were both at LB2 Specialty Coffee.
It’s a heady set of credentials, but Hector’s Deli keeps things uncomplicated. The guys are drawing from their experiences, not recreating them.
“We’re trying to keep it super simple and steer away from the sort of place that Melbourne seems to produce four of a day,” says Wilton. “We’re not really doing smashed avocado or putting flowers on anything – just sandwiches”.
The six varieties are mostly corner-store standards, but with elevated ingredients. Meat for the Wagyu pastrami sandwich comes from Meatsmith, while the ham, cheese and tomato uses mortadella, mozzarella and provolone. “It’s not a normal ham, cheese and tomato – it’s on steroids,” says Wilton.
Sliced meats and other more typical deli fare will be introduced soon. For the time being, visitors can help themselves to the generous – and free – fruit bowl on the counter while they have a chat.
Hector’s is located on the corner of a quiet suburban block in Richmond. Tall windows let in plenty of morning light. It’s small, with only eight seats inside, and a pared back fit-out with clean white brickwork and white tiles. Retro-tinged graphics on uniforms and elsewhere by Never Now design studio add just the right amount of character and colour.
“It all feels a bit old school, it’s quite minimal and we like a bit of that … but it also feels a bit like nana’s house in the ’70s,” says Wilton.
Mindful of its place on a residential strip, Hector’s is deliberately understated in both scope and fit-out. “We don’t want to come in and bring a super trendy place to the middle of all these people’s homes – we want it to feel like everyone’s home,” Wilton says.
“We want it to stay as a friendly neighbourhood spot, and it’s not going to become anything other than that. Regardless of how busy we become, or don’t become, I want people to feel the same any time they come in here.”
94 Buckingham Street, Richmond