HYDE PARK — Bergstein’s NY Delicatessen is ready to start serving up fresh-cut corned beef to Hyde Parkers.
“We will be opening our doors Monday,” said Billy Davis, who started the deli in south suburban Chicago Heights with his father.
With business license in hand Friday, Davis said the deli at 1160 E. 55th St. will start out slow during its first week, offering a limited menu during shortened hours from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
He said he’s going to spend some time with his staff on the more complicated sandwiches before expanding the menu for an official opening in the coming weeks.
Davis said hiring for the Hyde Park deli was one of the pleasures of opening a business in the city compared to the suburbs. He said he has been able to hire almost exclusively from the neighborhood — some employees live less than a block from the deli — because it was so easy to find good qualified applicants with restaurant experience.
He said one of the downsides to opening a restaurant in the city was the extended process of licensing and permits.
Bergstein’s was originally slated to open in the summer, but the debut was pushed back to January. Davis said as recently as last month he wasn’t sure budgeting nine months to get a license was long enough.
“At the time, I was getting nervous because we were getting close and we still didn’t have a business license,” Davis said.
After some calls, Davis discovered that trying to upgrade the license for the food truck the deli uses on the University of Chicago campus was delaying the license for the brick-and-mortar location. He said he was told that since it was the same business, the first license application would need to be approved first.
Davis said he ended up pulling the application for the food truck license to get the 55th Street location open on time.
When Davis announced the move to Hyde Park in April, he said the success of the food truck was what convinced him to come into the neighborhood. The food truck is now off the road without a license as the deli opens.
Davis said throughout the long process, Hyde Parkers remained supportive and curious about the new deli.
“Lot’s of people popped their heads in the door and asked when we were opening,” Davis said.