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Rachel's Mediterranean hits sweet spot with wraps, sandwiches

I think every sandwich or wrap should have a sweet spot. The perfect explosion of fillings, flavors and textures that just nails it: your perfect bite.

The moment I bit into my first wrap at Rachel’s Mediterranean, I knew I had found that spot. At the Delaware Avenue location that I frequent (and at ones on McKinley and Walden), options are kept to a small though expansive menu of wraps and bowls, with a long list of fillings from which a multitude of combinations will keep you busy.

The original location on Main Street in Williamsville and another at the University at Buffalo’s North Campus offer more selections, including hot and cold subs, spinach pies, dinners and even fish frys during Lent.

My first perfect bite came customized with items offered through that now-ubiquitous fast-food operation wherein you choose a base (white, wheat or Greek pita wrap, white or brown rice bowl, romaine lettuce salad, pita chip bowl), add your protein (chicken or steak souvlaki, chicken shawarma, sliced gyro, falafel, grilled vegetables), toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, various peppers, olives, cucumber), cheese (feta or shredded Monterrey Jack), and sauces (dill dressing, tzatziki, Greek dressing, tahini, garlic or hot sauce).

Customer Stefanie Sterlace picks the toppings on her salad at Rachel's Mediterranean. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

All of the above are included in your base price, which ranges from $7.45 for grilled vegetables to $8.85 for steak souvlaki; all other proteins are $8.95. Hummus and tabouli are available for an extra $1.80 each.

Exhausted yet? The options are overwhelming. Luckily, things move quickly—so know what you want before you order. Here’s what mine included:

A warmed 12-inch white wrap filled with moist grilled chicken breast that had crispy ends and a meaty proof of authenticity.

A pile of almost-caramelized grilled onions that added a punch of sweet and salty umami and my favorite sandwich texture of them all: moistness.

A small scoop of brown rice. You know, to be healthy. On occasion, I opt for a smear of hummus instead of the rice, since the two together is a lot of mouth-feel. I wish their hummus were smoother, but I’m not crying.

Rachel's Mediterranean's falafel bowl. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

A smattering of feta, crumbled small for even distribution. This has a milder impact than the robust cubes and crumbles you’re used to seeing. This also helps ensure more than one perfect bite per wrap.

A pinch of julienned roasted red pepper and Kalamata olives that add piquant zest, and creamy dill dressing that smooths everything out.

This is where my sweet spot comes together. For my taste, this is a perfect Mediterranean wrap. I like their falafel but not enough to clamor for it (this is a common concern with local falafel, I feel awful saying). The chicken shawarma, with roasted potatoes and garlic sauce, is also tasty but indistinguishable from the souvlaki chicken once packed in the pita.

The steak rice bowl from Rachel's Mediterranean. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Salads and rice bowls do the trick, too. The pita chip bowl is a great idea—Mediterranean nachos? I’m in!—but the thick, crispy chips tend to hurt my mouth.

If you have room left over—these wraps are huge—you can also add a side: fresh-cut fries done plain ($3.75) or Greek-style ($6); pita chips ($1.75); or a side of rice ($2.95). A serving of herbaceous tabouli ($2.25) will cleanse your palate nicely.

The Delaware location is not a looker of a place, and the diagonal counter makes forming a line strange and cumbersome at peak hours. (The McKinley location offers spacious seating, in contrast.) But there’s no question that Rachel’s hits the spot.

Rachel’s Mediterranean

235 Delaware Ave. (768.3852)

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays.

Price range: $7.45 to $8.45 for most meals, plus additional charges for premium options

Parking: Small parking lot, street parking, nearby public transportation.

Wheelchair-accessible: Yes

Gluten-free options: Vegetarian and vegan options available

Rachel's Mediterranean is at 235 Delaware Ave. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

*Read last week's Cheap Eats, on Bravo Cucina Italiana:

Family bundle, happy hour specials are great deals at Bravo! Cucina Italiana


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