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Melbourne lockdown: Richmond sandwich shop Hector’s Deli attracts crowds every weekend

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Why hundreds of people queue every morning on this quiet suburban side street in the midst of lockdown

  • A residential street in suburban Melbourne is full of queues every weekend
  • Customers wait for sandwiches from the famous Hector’s Deli
  • The hole-in-the-wall cafe has become a cult favorite during the city’s lockdown
  • It recently advertised the position of a chef with a salary up to $145,000
  • That figure is more than the average income of dentists, lawyers and teachers










Every weekend morning, a winding row winds its way along a quiet side street in the Melbourne suburbs.

Those blessed with patience await sandwiches from Hector’s Deli, a hole-in-the-wall Richmond that has become a cult favorite over the course of six Covid lockdowns.

Since opening in 2017, the tucked-away café has become famous for its experimental creations brimming with quality ingredients, cementing its reputation as one of the city’s best spots for freshly made sanga.

Demand rose so much at the start of Melbourne’s current closure that the cafe scrapped roasted options altogether and switched to only freshly made in an effort to reduce the huge number of customers blocking the street.

A winding line winds its way down a quiet side street in Melbourne’s suburbs on weekend mornings as dozens of locals wait for sandwiches from Hector’s Deli in Richmond

The hole-in-the-wall haunt has become a cult favorite over the course of six Covid lockdowns

Since opening in 2017, the tucked away café has become famous for its experimental creations brimming with quality ingredients, cementing its reputation as one of the city's best spots for freshly made sanga.

The hole-in-the-wall haunt has become a cult favorite over the course of six Covid lockdowns

Demand rose so much at the start of Melbourne's current shutdown that the cafe scrapped roasted options altogether and switched to only freshly made in an effort to reduce the massive number of customers blocking the street

Demand rose so much at the start of Melbourne’s current shutdown that the cafe scrapped roasted options altogether and switched to only freshly made in an effort to reduce the massive number of customers blocking the street

The deli’s extraordinary success is best illustrated by the recent ad for a new “Head of Food and Beverage,” with salary offerings ranging from $110,000 to $149,000, depending on experience.

The top of the pay scale is more than the average income of dentists, teachers and lawyers – some of the highest paying professions in Australia.

Hector’s is perhaps all the more enchanting because on paper it should never have taken off.

As co-founder Dom Wilton told Urban List: ‘Hector’s Deli is an anomaly in itself. It shouldn’t work, there is no foot traffic, there is no public transport. It’s in the backstreets of Richmond, it shouldn’t work.’

The menu features five long-standing favorites, including a chicken schnitzel in a steamed potato bun with tarragon butter, iceberg lettuce, and house-made pickle mayo, and a delicious rare roast beef laced with horseradish sauce.

The deli's extraordinary success is best illustrated by the recent ad for a new

The deli’s extraordinary success is best illustrated by the recent ad for a new “Head of Food and Beverage,” with a salary offer of up to $149,000, depending on experience

The menu features five long-standing favorites, including a chicken schnitzel in a steamed potato bun (pictured) with tarragon butter, iceberg lettuce, and house-made pickle mayo

There is also a delicious rare roast beef laced with horseradish sauce (photo)

The menu features five long-standing favorites, including a chicken schnitzel in a steamed potato bun (left) with tarragon butter, iceberg lettuce and house-made pickle mayo, and a delicious rare roast beef laced with horseradish sauce (right)

The deli’s official Instagram account has attracted a loyal audience of 37,700 followers, who stay up to date with news about new flavors and post rave reviews about its ‘unmatched’ excellence.

“Hector’s is Melbourne,” one person wrote, while others called the sandwiches the best they’ve ever eaten.

In August, the much-loved landmark opened new doors with the launch of a second store in South Melbourne, which will have more space for customers to dine in once restrictions are lifted.

It also has a pop-up in the pipeline for Sydney by the end of 2021, as well as plans for a third store somewhere in Melbourne’s north that could rival Fitzroy’s iconic Nico’s sandwich joint.

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