Thank you Flip - great find!!!
Great pix, Steve.
I am pretty convinced that this is a Trillionesque thing, that one cannot find great deli' restaurants outside their natural habitats, which seems to be in places other than Chicago.
And as I recall, the owner even made the point that this is not a New York-style, Miami-style or any other place style deli. Just a concept that was scalable, which included high-qulaity deli products. And he did have quite a set of suppliers lined up for each and almost every thing. He is still looking for someone to produce chicken salad to his recipe, which sounded interesting.
I understand your yearning for something that resonates for you, VI, and I also appreciate the charms of real, old school delis which might include all those mentioned, plus Schwartzs in Montreal, for example, though it is not exactly a deli.
I also understand the desire for a truly stuffed sandwich, which has its charms, though it does become obscene at some point.
But my personal take is a lot more like Steve's. Good soup, good meat, and a lot of other interesting items to try, including smoked fish, baked goods, olives, and salads. And it is food of a type that I could not find around here before.
It ain't a destination, but it was uniformly quite good. It ain't traditional in every sense of the word, and does not pretend or aspire to be (thank God). But that does not mean it wasn't quite tasty. Since it is five minutes from my office, I will be having lunch there today again, and probably at least once a week for the foreseeable future.
So I am very happy. I do share Steve's concern that the quality suppliers are not scalable, and at some point the money men will figure out they can substitute certain less expensive suppliers without hurting volume or average ticket, since the point is clearly to make money rather than a love of the food - the owner did not even pretend. But until then I will enjoy, and perhaps we are wrong about the inevitabile decline...
BTW, yesterday was the day for weird suppliers - I stumbled upon an Alabama-style BBQ joint in Aurora that buys its hot links from Alabama (!). More to come, I need to explore it some more.