Specialty shoppers say hello to Norridge deli
A variety of prepared foods are available at Deli For You,including smoked fish, stuffed cabbage, lasagna. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Deli For You
4343 N. Harlem Ave. in Norridge
Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Saturday
8 a.m.-9 p.m Friday
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
More information: (708) 457-1700
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:50AM
NORRIDGE — Patrick Filipek is proud of his smoked fish.
“We have the best around at the best prices,” said the owner of Deli For You, at 4343 N. Harlem Ave. in Norridge.
Eastern European specialties share shelf space with everyday ingredients at the store, which celebrated its third anniversary in July.
Though the store caters to ethnic tastes — mostly Eastern European (Polish, Ukrainian, etc.) — the store is expanding its offerings to reach out to more local tastes.
“We’re limited in space, but we’re looking to make room,” Filipek said, especially at the five-year-old Prospect Heights store, which houses the smokehouse and the bakery that also serves the Norridge store.
The smokehouse uses a combination of beech, alder and cherry tree chips to enhance the nuances of the garlic and cumin that season the meats.
“We’re well known for smoked fish,” Filipek noted.
The deli counter also offers a wide array of meats including ham, bacon and sausage.
In addition to the smoked fish, customers also clamor for the store’s homemade pastries, Filipek added.
Deli For You makes its own bread, including gluten-free and whole-grain breads.
The shop’s bakers, who shape the loaves by hand, use non-genetically-modified ingredients to create such offerings as French baguettes, peasant sourdough, Lithuanian dark rye and challah.
Holidays offer the bakers a chance to use their creativity. The store will go through more than 10,000 paczki on Fat Tuesday, which this year falls on Feb. 12. Come St. Patrick’s Day, customers can purchase soda bread, complete with a green surprise inside.
Customers also can request special orders ranging from simple birthday cakes to elaborate wedding cakes.
And while a customer may buy cheesecake, for those who wish to bake their own, the store features a farmer’s cheese that adds a new dimension in flavor.
“I’ve always liked this business,” Filipek said of the grocery industry. “I find it interesting.
“It’s one of those businesses that can survive during a bad economy because people always need to eat.”
And it’s a rewarding business.
“I like talking to the customer,” Filipek said. “I’m happy when they’re happy. And we see more and more repeat business.”
Running the business is hard work, but worth the effort.
“It seems the harder you work, the more rewarding the experience,” Filipek said.