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Openings Thu Sep 02 2010
As Kaitlin reported, City Provisions' delicatessen officially opens tomorrow -- but the deli held a soft launch today. Seeing as my office is a block away, I couldn't help but have a look. (Also, I was hungry.)
The space is clean and inviting, and shows the time and care put into building out the space. The environmentally conscious design was designed to be as energy efficient and carbon neutral as possible, using reclaimed wood (including some from a pre-Chicago fire Lincoln Park home!) and other materials. As you walk in from the corner door, next to the Brown Line tracks, you're greeted by a wall of regionally produced spirits and microbrews, with a view of the meat counter in the back.
City Provisions' meats are all from farms within 200 miles of the store, and are butchered and cured on site, such as wonderfully smoky pastrami (which I had on dark rye with mustard), bacon and lardo.
Turn the corner and you spot the coffee counter. Crop to Cup coffee is getting mentioned in most of the press, but I was more excited about the Dark Matter coffee, the small-batch roaster started up by Jesse Diaz of Star Lounge, Franz Zwergel and Mark Bondies. Beans from both roasters are available by the pound, and the deli also serves teas from Rare Tea Cellar and Ineeka.
Refrigerated cases hold prepackaged sandwiches, salads and other prepared foods, and a freezer displays locally made ice creams and sorbets. I tried a cup of Ruth and Phil's strawberry and beer sorbet, made with Half Acre's Freedom of '78 guava wheat IPA; it was light and refreshing, and probably would have been even better a couple of days ago when the heat was more oppressive.
Another wall and bins throughout the store offer preserves, sauces, spices and baked goods from local and regional makers, such as Rare Bird and Zingerman's.
As one would expect from a soft launch, there was a swarm of City Provisions employees interacting with customers, vendors on hand for the event, and each other as they opened the doors for the first time. No doubt it'll be similar for their official grand opening Friday.