City Provisions DelicatessenAddress: 1818 West Wilson
I had the opportunity to participate in one of City Provisions’ farm dinners last year at Rushing Waters trout farm in Wisconsin, so I was happy to see a familiar name on the deli menu when I stopped by for a quick lunch.
Chef/owner Cleetus Friedman had started promoting the deli last summer, and this fall the stars finally aligned, allowing Friedman to open his temple to local, organic and sustainable foods. And a quick tour through the space showed Friedman’s commitment to the cause – all the products I spied were from farms and local producers within 100 miles of Chicago.
The word delicatessen really doesn’t do the space justice. The duplex storefront houses a bakery, produce stand, dry goods market, coffee bar, catering company, butcher shop, cheese case and liquor store under one roof. All of which follow the local/organic/sustainable code.
If you don’t want to do any cooking, the deli offers a range of sandwiches ($8-10), soup, salads ($6-10 per pound) and prepared foods (e.g. crab cakes and mac-n-cheese squares). Seating is limited to one family-sized table and a northwoods counter with stools. Coffee drinks, specialty teas and bottled beverages are also available, but alcohol cannot be consumed on the premises.
Typically sustainable and/or organic foods come with a higher price tag, so quality and taste are high priorities. Except for a couple of minor details that could use tweaking, I’m happy to report that our $45 lunch (for three people) was worth the investment.
The Rushing Waters “TLT” (smoked Trout, Lettuce and Tomato) was a very tasty combo, but it fell apart as soon as I picked it up. A little extra mayo would have held it together better. The Gunthorp Farms chicken salad was a little heavy on the jicama side, but the companion soup (spilt pea with ham) was outstanding. Sandwiches are accompanied by house-made, paper thin potato chips that melt in the mouth.
The house-smoked ham caused some minor confusion – since it wasn’t an unnaturally rosy pink color we thought it was turkey. It looks like City Provisions can add education to its mission statement. Some of us need reminders about what real food looks like!