Squares Deli is story of the American dream in Lake Forest, CA

Ali and Mina Neaimi-Pour lived in London, United Kingdom and came to Lake Forest, CA to visit family. They fell in love with California’s weather and the friendly city of Lake Forest. They were restaurateurs by trade having successful pizza restaurants in London and decided to open up a pizza place as their first venture. It didn’t do so well since SoCal has so much competition with chains and local pizza parlors who had already established a following. Ali and Mina decided to look into franchising. Schlotzsky’s, an up and coming chain from Texas, seemed like the best fit for them. The location, at the time, was situated in a busy shopping center with a Diedrich’s Coffee on the corner and Staples as the main anchor for the center. But due to lull in the economy, businesses started closing up shop. Diedrich’s started closing their retail locations across the country. Staples started downsizing their locations as well. In 2013, Schlotzsky’s decided not to renew their franchise license unless they moved to another location. The new location was not favorable so they decided to open their own deli shop. In July 2013, the location became Squares Deli. It is a place where Ali and Mina know everybody by name. They treat their customers like family and they feed their family the freshest ingredients possible. Ali even makes bread daily with a strict 36 hour rule of freshness. If there is any bread past 36 hours old, it is donated to a local food bank. With this new venture, he needed to source all new vendors for his meats and vegetables. The difference is in the taste with organic meats and fresh vegetables that Ali personally picks out.

Beef & Provolone is thinly sliced London broil, provolone, mushrooms, caramelized onions and horseradish. Similar to one of my favorites from Schlotzsky’s menu, it tasted even better with sliced rare beef and an ample horseradish kick. The squaw bread, shaped into a square, was amazingly chewy with a chocolate-like finish. Thumbs up, way up!


OC Food Diva

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