Awesome sauce: Milford deli owner’s creation popular on palate

MILFORD — Sometimes the most significant things come in small packages, and sometimes it even tastes good.

Ismael Alkabani, owner of Post Road News & Deli, said he made his sauce, now called Ish’s Delicious Sauce, in 2009 as a simple sauce to add to some of his food at the deli.

“I made the sauce to go on sandwiches, but I also made the sauce as a way to share my culture with those who came to the deli,” said Alkabani. “People liked it so much, they were asking if they could take some home, and that’s when the idea came to bottle it.”

At first, Alkabani said he would make eight pounds of the sauce to go on sandwiches, which would last two weeks. However, people started requesting it more and more, and the eight pounds grew to 90 pounds of sauce that would be finished in three weeks.

Wanvisa McGinnis, a sauce team member along with Kobina Intsiful, said the Deli is a popular spot in the community, and many locals have gone to the deli throughout the years —and most, if not all, ask for Ish’s special sauce.

“Ish is plugged into the community, and he loves Milford,” she said.

When the Ish’s Delicious Sauce team was ready to make the product commercially available, they knew they wanted everyone to have a sauce bottle. Still, they didn’t want to sacrifice the homemade taste of the sauce during commercial production.

“We had to make sure the sauce was ready for commercial production, but we made sure it was still the same sauce and flavor people could get at the Deli,” said McGinnis.

Intsiful said Alkabani wanted to make sure they were bottling and producing the same sauce people came to love when they visited the Deli.

“From the flavor profile to the way it looked, we wanted to keep it to the original,” he said.

Currently, Ish’s Delicious Sauce team is all employed, but they make time in their busy schedule to make sure the sauce succeeds.

“I came to the Deli in 2019. I ordered an omelet with the special sauce on the side because I didn’t know what it was,” said McGinnis. “When I tasted it, I loved it so much, but it was also something else. It made me nostalgic because it reminded me of my culture.”

“We pull together to work making sure the sauce is successful,” said Intsiful. “When you work with people that you love to be around, it makes working fun, and since we are all employed, this really is a labor of love because we all love the sauce.”

Alkabani said back in 2008, when he was first starting to develop the sauce, it took him about four months to get the ingredients just right for the homemade sauce.

“When I created the first batch, I liked it, but I knew that I could do better,” he said.

Alkabani went back to the drawing board, and in another four months, he had the second batch of his homemade sauce.

The homemade sauce couldn’t have come at a better time in 2008 because Alkabani said the sauce saved his business.

“We had the biggest recession in 2008, and if it weren’t for the sauce, the Deli would have closed,” he said. “The sauce helped a lot because customers would come back to eat at the Deli, and they would always get the sauce with their food. So I can say for a fact, the sauce saved my business.”

Recently in 2020, Ish’s Delicious Sauce played a critical role in keeping the business busy while other businesses were shutting down because of the pandemic.

“We actually tripled our business during COVID because people always came to eat and get the homemade sauce on their food,” he said.

Alkabani said it took one year for the team to make Ish’s Delicious Sauce a product that could be commercially produced without sacrificing quality or taste.

“This journey has made me greater appreciate the proceeds of food to table,” said Intsiful. “Because going through this process, we had to make sure the sauce had a shelf life, the best way to ship it and more. So dealing with the supply chain made me have a greater appreciation of the food industry.”

A goal for the team is to have Ish’s Delicious Sauce in every house in America so they can also enjoy the homemade sauce.

“The sauce goes on anything from sandwiches to eating with chips and even using it as a dressing,” said Alkabani. “We know everyone will love it.”

Ish’s Delicious Sauce is currently available in two brick and mortar locations in Fort Collins, Colo., and at the Post Road News & Deli, 902 Boston Post Road, Milford. The sauce is also available at https://www.ishs-delicious.com/ and on Amazon.