This regional supermarket chain is a good option for ready-to-go foods, including several dozen kinds of salads, cooked and roasted vegetable dishes, hot chicken entrees and a bakery. The salads are particularly good, with a large choice of them, from ones with cucumber, tomato and onions, to pasta and beans, and chicken and tuna. The deli also runs a "5 on Friday" special, such as eight pieces of fried chicken for $5.
Suggested dish: We dropped in the Shaw's in the shopping plaza on River Street (in Waltham, near Watertown's Pleasant Street) and chose the "Pick 4" special: a sampling of four different salads for $4.99. The portions were generous and it was fun to choose among all the different possibilities. We went for Crunchy Summer Slaw, Greek Tomato and Cucumber, Deviled Egg & Potato and Cape Cod Chicken. (Strictly speaking, the chicken and tuna salads weren't part of the "Pick 4" special, but the server gave us a break.)
The helpful staffer had suggested these four choices and they were all winners. One would expect at least one dish among the prepared foods in a supermarket deli to be too sugary, vinegary or bland. But the cucumbers, red onions, chicken with cranberries and nuts and potato and deviled egg were all fresh-tasting and seasoned well.
The vibe: Friendly and efficient.
Cool factor No. 1: The deli display cases are well-lit, so it's easy to see exactly what a dish looks like.
Cool factor No. 2: Don't hesitate to ask for a sample or a suggestion for a dish that's popular or in-season.