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City Provisions Unexpectedly Closes Its Doors in Ravenswood

By Patty Wetli | January 29, 2013 8:19am
 Cleetus Friedman (r), chef and owner of City Provisions, greeting customers in happier times.
Cleetus Friedman (r), chef and owner of City Provisions, greeting customers in happier times.
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Facebook/City Provisions

RAVENSWOOD — The "big news" promised via Twitter and email to fans of City Provisions turned out to be sad news: Chef and owner Cleetus Friedman announced that as of Monday, he's closing the Wilson Avenue delicatessen.

Friedman had earned a loyal following among Chicago's locavores, serving up fare made from sustainable ingredients and promoting area growers through City Provisions' popular series of farm dinners. But in the end, his standards proved difficult to support.

In a statement, Friedman said: "I could have used an inferior product. I could have had a Sysco truck deliver my food and have one person work a deep fryer and microwave. I consciously chose to do things one way. Maybe I was stubborn. I was committed to doing what I believed to be the right thing."

The cost of ingredients and labor translated into higher prices than competitors, he noted, which ultimately turned customers away.

"Perhaps we, as a community, are not prepared to take on the challenge of a $15 - $20 lunch ticket."

He also cited City Provisions' location at 1818 W. Wilson Ave. as another reason the business failed.

"I love and have been embraced by the Ravenswood community but this location simply does not produce the type of foot traffic a business like City Provisions needs to be financially viable."

The statement concluded:

"As the future unfolds, I plan to keep pushing the boundaries of the local food movement and keeping you excited about the the world I am living in...so stay tuned."