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  • Sanabel Bakery

    Post #1 - July 21st, 2008, 10:19 pm
    Post #1 - July 21st, 2008, 10:19 pm Post #1 - July 21st, 2008, 10:19 pm
    A new Middle Eastern bakery opened on Kedzie a week or so ago. We stopped in this afternoon and bought a bag of warm pita, 10 for 99 cents now but probably not for long. I don't think I could tell these pita from the ones from Al Khayam. They also had triangular spinach pies, which appeared to be made using pita dough. Mike Sula had mentioned this in Spotted in Chicago Reader blogs. The other items mentioned on the sign in front and Mike's blog entry did not seem to be available on this Monday afternoon. I have no idea how their pita bread differs from the Lebanese pita, both of which are on the sign and the bag containing the pita.

    This is obviously a wholesale bakery doing a fair volume of business based on trucks parked in front and racks full of pita. Retail seems totally incidental. There isn't even a counter across the front, just some tables near the door including one with a cash register. The whole space is open and industrial with everything painted white. Entering was like walking into a factory. Previously the building was some industrial or warehouse building that had been on the market for a long time. Contrary to the Reader entry, the construction seemed fast because whole building was there and quite visible when the building to the south was torn down for additional parking for Cermak Produce. The only new exterior construction was a new front with a lot of glass.

    The Middle Eastern businesses along Kedzie were receding northward in the last several years with fewer south of Semiramis. One restaurant near Montrose closed and was replaced by another that quickly closed in a storefront now occupied by a Mexican restaurant. Sahar Meats opened a second location north of Lawrence and then closed the original. That storefront remained vacant until recently when the pastry bakery next door opened a grocery store in the space. I have not been in there yet, but a sign in the window advertises South Side pita. Across Kedzie is a storefront with coming soon sign for a restaurant. Sanabel has made the jump enough farther south that it is no longer in Albany Park but is in Irving Park. This is not really surprising given the increasing number of people, mostly women, in Islamic attire shopping in Cermak Produce.


    Sanabel Bakery
    4253 North Kedzie
    Chicago 60618
    773-539-5409
  • Post #2 - September 12th, 2008, 11:20 am
    Post #2 - September 12th, 2008, 11:20 am Post #2 - September 12th, 2008, 11:20 am
    I *love* their pita! Still $1 for a bag of 10. Every time I stop in and want to buy some, they insist that I do not take one of the bags by the door. Rather, someone goes in back and brings me a bag of fresh, warm pita. (I am eating some - with homemade capponata - even as I type.)
    peace,
    Katharine

    "Granddad was superstitious about books. He thought that if you had enough of them around, education leaked out, like radioactivity." (Terry Pratchett, Johnny and the Dead)
  • Post #3 - September 12th, 2008, 11:50 am
    Post #3 - September 12th, 2008, 11:50 am Post #3 - September 12th, 2008, 11:50 am
    If anyone sampled the zaatar bread, and spinach and cheese pies at the picnic, they were from Sanabel.
  • Post #4 - November 2nd, 2008, 8:16 pm
    Post #4 - November 2nd, 2008, 8:16 pm Post #4 - November 2nd, 2008, 8:16 pm
    Stopped by today to get some pita and also got two spinach & cheese pies for dinner. Very good. I also bought some bread with a date filling. Technically, I bought it for work, but I had to taste it tonight to see if it was good enough. Wow! The bread is kind of dense and not too sweet while the date filling is thick and delicious.

    The woman I spoke to today (and when I went to pick up pita for my sister's wedding last weekend) said that Al Khayam is her restaurant, too. I have never been there, but since Science Boy and I both love Sanabel, I would definitely like to make my way to Al Khayam sometime.

    They seemed to have more selection out front than they did in the past. I am not super familiar with Lebanese food (although Middle Eastern food is fast becoming my favorite ethnic cuisine), so I couldn't tell you all of what was offered. Besides the cheese and spinach pies and date bread, there were also smaller pies with spinach *or* cheese and some smaller breads and cookies. Nothing to identify what was what or prices (and I wasn't feeling good, so I only asked a few questions about what I bought and got out of there), but their prices seem exceedingly low to me - I got a bag of 10 pita, 2 spinach & cheese pies, and date bread (which is actually 2 circles of the bread - it resembles coffee cake) for under $7.

    If you're in the neighborhood, it's worth stopping by.
    peace,
    Katharine

    "Granddad was superstitious about books. He thought that if you had enough of them around, education leaked out, like radioactivity." (Terry Pratchett, Johnny and the Dead)
  • Post #5 - November 2nd, 2008, 10:33 pm
    Post #5 - November 2nd, 2008, 10:33 pm Post #5 - November 2nd, 2008, 10:33 pm
    if my memory serves, one of the waitstaff of Al K told me that Sanabel is a result of the split of the brothers that own the Al K bakery (not sure about the restaurant). One kept the bakery next to the restaurant (who also was advertising the .99 pita last time we ate next door), and the other opened up the new shop. haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but glad to hear they're doing well.
  • Post #6 - March 28th, 2009, 4:57 pm
    Post #6 - March 28th, 2009, 4:57 pm Post #6 - March 28th, 2009, 4:57 pm
    ekreider wrote:We stopped in this afternoon and bought a bag of warm pita, 10 for 99 cents now but probably not for long.

    Ekreider,

    Eight months later 10-pita are still .99c, fresh, warm tasty pita, a real bargain. Sanabel now has dry goods, a variety of baked goods and a friendly woman was behind the counter. It's no longer simply an open industrial space.

    I had just come from lunch at Salam and kept my purchases to a minimum, pita and flat bread half/half cheese/za'atar, which was terrific for breakfast the next day.

    Friendly vibe, quality products, inexpensive, too bad it's taken me eight months to check Sanabel out.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - July 21st, 2009, 3:37 pm
    Post #7 - July 21st, 2009, 3:37 pm Post #7 - July 21st, 2009, 3:37 pm
    Just picked up a package of warm ,fresh from the oven pita bread-
    still at .99 cents (a buck w/ tax).
    Had a nice visit with the owner Pierre Mounsef about life & things.
    (interrupting a countertop employee lunch of Chinese Carryout/Fried Rice- guess ya cant eat Spinach Pies all the time!)
    He promised to right the wrong that occurred at his restaurant Al Khaymeih-
    (you can visit my "rant" about the Toum incident on lth....)
    and offered as an excuse that his time spent opening this bakery and another business?
    kept him away from managing things as he'd like.

    very nice little store- closer to Logan Square than Albany Park is- so more convenient for me.

    Sanabel Bakery
    4253 N. Kedzie
    Chicago,IL.60618
    773.539.5409
  • Post #8 - July 23rd, 2009, 9:02 am
    Post #8 - July 23rd, 2009, 9:02 am Post #8 - July 23rd, 2009, 9:02 am
    LTH,

    Just posted about my new crush Sanabel in the Hummus thread, but thought I'd mention Sanabel is moving it's retail operation a half block South and keeping the present location as bakery. No set date for the move, though I'd put it as at least a few months off.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - July 23rd, 2009, 10:29 pm
    Post #9 - July 23rd, 2009, 10:29 pm Post #9 - July 23rd, 2009, 10:29 pm
    They weren't warm from the oven, but I did pick up a 10 pack of pita for .99 at Brookhaven in Mokena. They came from the Sanabel bakery.
  • Post #10 - August 18th, 2009, 5:17 pm
    Post #10 - August 18th, 2009, 5:17 pm Post #10 - August 18th, 2009, 5:17 pm
    Sanabel Bakery

    Image

    Lahmajun

    Image
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #11 - November 11th, 2009, 11:33 am
    Post #11 - November 11th, 2009, 11:33 am Post #11 - November 11th, 2009, 11:33 am
    Sanabel pita= fluffy little pillows of delight. The best pita I've had since NafNaf Grill pita.
  • Post #12 - February 12th, 2010, 6:19 pm
    Post #12 - February 12th, 2010, 6:19 pm Post #12 - February 12th, 2010, 6:19 pm
    Sanabel's move a fraction of a block south is complete. I have not been inside yet, but the space looks a lot larger. Caution: Cermak Produce has hired a booting service and has ominous signs in their parking lot about booting cars if anyone leaves the parking lot. The signs went up about the time Sanabel opened the new storefront.

    Sanabel Bakery
    4213 North Kedzie
  • Post #13 - February 18th, 2010, 6:37 pm
    Post #13 - February 18th, 2010, 6:37 pm Post #13 - February 18th, 2010, 6:37 pm
    A parking spot directly in front of Sanabel beckoned as I was coming north on Kedzie this afternoon, so I parked and went in. They are not fully stocked yet, but what they have looks good. The building has wide open spans from its days as a warehouse. This allows a pretty good layout with long aisles. At the back are minimally stocked meat and deli counters while freezer cases line much of the the south wall. They should give Al-Khayam some strong competition on selection while offering vastly superior store navigation.

    The selection of packaged goods is pretty wide with several brands for many things albeit not necessarily shelved together. Really going though the merchandise would take more time than I had available. Whole wheat bulgur anyone?

    In addition to a package of their whole-wheat pita I bought a bag of frozen baby okra from a choice of three brands.

    It looks as though my initial doubts about the longevity of 99 cent pita have been quite wrong. The presence of at least three pita bakeries on Kedzie plus a new one a bit west of Kimball on Lawrence has created strong competition.
  • Post #14 - February 18th, 2010, 6:42 pm
    Post #14 - February 18th, 2010, 6:42 pm Post #14 - February 18th, 2010, 6:42 pm
    ekreider wrote:The presence of at least three pita bakeries on Kedzie plus a new one a bit west of Kimball on Lawrence has created strong competition.

    Havent visited the new Sanabel yet, sounds like they did a good job with the new space.

    New bakery just west of Kimball on Lawrence, very interesting, going to have to combine a visit there and the new location of Sanabel.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - February 18th, 2010, 7:34 pm
    Post #15 - February 18th, 2010, 7:34 pm Post #15 - February 18th, 2010, 7:34 pm
    New bakery just west of Kimball on Lawrence, very interesting, going to have to combine a visit there and the new location of Sanabel.


    Is that one finally open? I was watching it for a while and it didn't seem to advance much.

    I think Sanabel's pita beat the bakery next to the restaurant in the old al-Mataam space fairly easily. And as noted above, they're really good about making sure you get fresh hot pita.
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  • Post #16 - February 18th, 2010, 8:47 pm
    Post #16 - February 18th, 2010, 8:47 pm Post #16 - February 18th, 2010, 8:47 pm
    Yep. Sanabel Grocery is now open. It is a really nice, small Middle Eastern grocery/bakery/butcher shop. It struck me as a sparkly clean and shiny version of neighbor-to-the-north, Al Khayyam. I'm not sure how long it will last, but it is nice to be able to pick up any item off of the shelf and not have to dust it off to read the label.

    Of course, they feature Sanabel's excellent pita bread, but REB and I also walked out with a sack of excellent spinach, cheese, and meat pies. All highly recommended, especially the tangy spinach pie and spicy cheese pie. (They sell a spicy cheese and a non-spicy cheese. Make sure to ask for the spicy one.)

    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #17 - February 18th, 2010, 9:29 pm
    Post #17 - February 18th, 2010, 9:29 pm Post #17 - February 18th, 2010, 9:29 pm
    I'm sorry, I meant the one that's on Lawrence, a few doors west of Kedzie. I've seen signage but didn't know if it ever opened.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #18 - February 18th, 2010, 9:38 pm
    Post #18 - February 18th, 2010, 9:38 pm Post #18 - February 18th, 2010, 9:38 pm
    The quantity an quality of Chicago Arabic bread far surpasses New York or LA and may be the the best example of simple, genuine Middle Eastern baking anywhere in the US. I for one welcome all the new bakeries.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #19 - February 18th, 2010, 9:45 pm
    Post #19 - February 18th, 2010, 9:45 pm Post #19 - February 18th, 2010, 9:45 pm
    I know it seems to have taken forever, but the bakery on Lawrence appeared to be open when I drove by last Friday. Pita plus Mexican bakery. How well that works remains to be seen, but Markellos did a pretty good job with Greek and Guatemalan when he was in Lincoln Square years ago.
  • Post #20 - March 28th, 2010, 7:04 pm
    Post #20 - March 28th, 2010, 7:04 pm Post #20 - March 28th, 2010, 7:04 pm
    Yep. Sanabel Grocery is now open. It is a really nice, small Middle Eastern grocery/bakery/butcher shop. It struck me as a sparkly clean and shiny version of neighbor-to-the-north, Al Khayyam. I'm not sure how long it will last, but it is nice to be able to pick up any item off of the shelf and not have to dust it off to read the label.

    I visited their new operation for the first time today, its a wonderful change from their previous cramped quarters & I really enjoyed browsing the shelves. The selection is more diverse than I anticipated, & includes items such as halal chapli kababs & samosas in the freezer section, & a decent selection of basmati rices. They seem to serve shoppers seeking a broader variety of halal items, rather than simply middle eastern ingredients. There was a lovely selection of dried fruits (not just Californian dates, but imported dates too, for example) & a larger selection of black teas than I think Al-Khyam carries.

    One nice feature is at the front of the store they have an oven running & are baking various breads, pies etc continuously. That said, the bakery seems to be popular & they were out or almost out of most items I had stopped by for (I like to periodically to restock my freezer with various of their pies.) Apparently calling ahead will be in order in the future.
  • Post #21 - May 8th, 2011, 10:44 am
    Post #21 - May 8th, 2011, 10:44 am Post #21 - May 8th, 2011, 10:44 am
    Early for lunch at Taqueria San Juanito I stopped at Sanabel for pita and spied a box of golf ball size light green fruit near the check out. The woman said unripe cherries and they are eaten out of hand. I thought maybe unripe plum, either way lightly tart clean flavor with a distinct vegetal crunch and sturdy seed. A cross between jicama and unripe papaya both in taste and texture.

    Not all that interesting to eat out of hand, I'm thinking quick pickle, in a braise or component in a salad.

    Sanabel Bakery Mystery Fruit 5.7.11

    Image

    Image
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #22 - May 8th, 2011, 2:41 pm
    Post #22 - May 8th, 2011, 2:41 pm Post #22 - May 8th, 2011, 2:41 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Early for lunch at Taqueria San Juanito I stopped at Sanabel for pita and spied a box of golf ball size light green fruit near the check out. The woman said unripe cherries and they are eaten out of hand.


    I purchased these up the street at the new Sahar, and was told they were indeed unripe plums. Apparently they are "very popular with women."

    They are meant to be dipped in salt before nibbling.

    Aka "genrik," in Arabic and "irik" in Turkish according to the signage.
  • Post #23 - January 26th, 2012, 7:40 pm
    Post #23 - January 26th, 2012, 7:40 pm Post #23 - January 26th, 2012, 7:40 pm
    Sanabel's spinach pies today were simply delicious: just out of the oven, lemony and moist on the inside, with just the perfect simple chewy dough.... Perhaps the best rendition of this kind of pie I have had anywhere here and you cannot beat the price. Pies, pita and Lebanese pita, hummus, and cucumber pickles in hand, I just had one great afternoon :D
    Elie
  • Post #24 - February 24th, 2014, 10:46 pm
    Post #24 - February 24th, 2014, 10:46 pm Post #24 - February 24th, 2014, 10:46 pm
    Sanabel has long been my favorite Arab bakery in Chicago. We almost always have a package of their fantastic pita in our freezer ready to go at a moment's notice. The funny thing is, we rarely buy pitas from the storefront itself. We order delivery from Salam whenever we're running low largely because it always comes with a full package of fresh Sanabel pitas.

    Image

    There are reasons to visit the bakery, though. Admittedly I used to have problems getting the non-pita items freshly baked, but this problem seems to have been corrected. The zaatar has been fresh the past 4-5 times I've visited and it is fantastic. The Sanabel version is particularly tangy and the bread has terrific chewiness.

    Image

    Their lahmajun is the best in town. It's important to eat it with the correct toppings to really appreciate what makes the Sanabel lahmajun so noteworthy. Eaten alone it can be kind of one note, but with the right toppings it's a real winner. Parsely and sumac are the keys and should be applied liberally. The lettuce provides a little crunch and the onions and lemons round it out. I also sprinkled on some Aleppo pepper to give it a little kick, though this is not essential.

    Image

    Once the lahmajun is assembled, roll it up like a burrito and enjoy. If you want to go all the way, pick up a bottle of shanina from the refrigerated section to wash it down.
  • Post #25 - February 25th, 2014, 12:17 am
    Post #25 - February 25th, 2014, 12:17 am Post #25 - February 25th, 2014, 12:17 am
    turkob wrote:The funny thing is, we rarely buy pitas from the storefront itself. We order delivery from Salam whenever we're running low largely because it always comes with a full package of fresh Sanabel pitas.


    That is funny - I do the exact same thing at/from The Nile in Hyde Park when needing to restock (all of the pitas are not always necessarily from Sanabel, but the larger wraps have been Sanabel lavash).

    I do really like Sanabel (Dolinsky says san-ABE-ul), both at the storefront I hadn't realized was as recent as 2009 (ibid.), and on shelves around the city. Their manakish bi zaatar is more savory per surface area than anything flat in the city, if occasionally too oily for my preference.
  • Post #26 - February 25th, 2014, 10:42 pm
    Post #26 - February 25th, 2014, 10:42 pm Post #26 - February 25th, 2014, 10:42 pm
    Dolinsky was a little slow in indicating new in 2009 as this thread started in 2008 based on the original location a few doors north of the current place, which opened in 2010. All of this is earlier in this thread.
  • Post #27 - March 21st, 2014, 2:47 pm
    Post #27 - March 21st, 2014, 2:47 pm Post #27 - March 21st, 2014, 2:47 pm
    Stopped by today & was rewarded with fresh from the oven spinach pies, delicious.

    Nice compact size, excellent amount of spinach filling, great dough.

    Probably blasphemy but I did not pick up a package of the pita bread, gives me an excuse to go again.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #28 - April 15th, 2014, 7:20 am
    Post #28 - April 15th, 2014, 7:20 am Post #28 - April 15th, 2014, 7:20 am
    RAB wrote:All highly recommended, especially the tangy spinach pie and spicy cheese pie. (They sell a spicy cheese and a non-spicy cheese. Make sure to ask for the spicy one.)

    Hmm, I think I missed the spicy ones in my visits to Sanabel. I'm not wild about the regular cheese pies and had pretty much given up on them.

    turkob wrote:Their lahmajun is the best in town. It's important to eat it with the correct toppings to really appreciate what makes the Sanabel lahmajun so noteworthy. Eaten alone it can be kind of one note, but with the right toppings it's a real winner. Parsely and sumac are the keys and should be applied liberally. The lettuce provides a little crunch and the onions and lemons round it out. I also sprinkled on some Aleppo pepper to give it a little kick, though this is not essential.

    Thanks for the lahmajun tutorial. I've been a big fan of Sanabel's lamb flatbread (as well as their spinach pies) but now that I've corrected my technique I like 'em even more (though I can't resist a few big bites unadorned). By the way, Sanabel's scoop-it-yourself sumac isn't very flavorful.

    Image
  • Post #29 - November 1st, 2014, 8:38 am
    Post #29 - November 1st, 2014, 8:38 am Post #29 - November 1st, 2014, 8:38 am
    If you were going to Sanabel to pick up some stuff for a Middle Eastern assemble-yourself-feast-at-home, where would you get Baba Ghannouj, falafel, and maybe some schawarma to round out the meal- closest and tastiest?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #30 - November 1st, 2014, 9:35 am
    Post #30 - November 1st, 2014, 9:35 am Post #30 - November 1st, 2014, 9:35 am
    seebee wrote:If you were going to Sanabel to pick up some stuff for a Middle Eastern assemble-yourself-feast-at-home, where would you get Baba Ghannouj, falafel, and maybe some schawarma to round out the meal- closest and tastiest?

    Salam Restaurant
    4636 N Kedzie Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-583-0776
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow

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