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Bergstein's Deli To Open 55th Street Location

By Sam Cholke | April 20, 2013 8:36am

HYDE PARK — Bergstein’s N.Y. Delicatessen signed a lease Friday to serve fresh-cut corned beef and authentic New York smoked fish on 55th Street.

The Chicago Heights deli has served sandwiches to Hyde Parkers from its food truck on South University Avenue for the past two summers.

The menu includes the Rachel, turkey, swiss, 1,000 Island dressing and coleslaw on a pretzel roll; the Smokey Joe, nova lox, whitefish salad, tomato and chive cream cheese on challah; and other sandwiches.

After every trip to the University of Chicago campus, the truck would come back empty, and that convinced Billy Davis that the deli should trek north.

“We went there and everyone really loved it, we did great,” said Davis, who opened the Chicago Heights location with his father and a family friend five years ago.

Davis expects to be serving Hyde Parkers authentic New York-style deli fare by the end of the summer at a store located at 1170 E. 55th St.

Davis is devoted to the serving the food his father grew up with in New York. He and his partner apprenticed at Kaufman’s Delicatessen and Bakery in Skokie, Ill., to learn the ropes.

“We worked there for about six months while we were thinking about opening the place,” Davis said.

He traveled to all his father’s favorite New York delis to make sure he got the menu just right.

“My dad is from New York and all his family still lives out there,” Davis said. “Every time we drove to New York, we would fill a cooler with smoked fish and salads and such, things you can’t get in Chicago.”

He came away with an appreciation for authenticity and freshness. The roast beef and turkey is roasted in house. The corned beef is sliced fresh for each sandwich. The smoked fish is brought in straight from Brooklyn, New York.

Davis is looking for regular customers and said he thinks they'll come by virute of the restaurant being part of the community. He said the deli will host open mic nights and trivia contests.

“We’re excited to be part of the community, not just open our doors,” Davis said.