LINCOLN SQUARE — As Lawrence Avenue prepares to welcome a new Mariano's in March, it bids farewell to George's Deli & Liquor, a neighborhood fixture since 1970.
The store, located at 1964 W. Lawrence Ave., closed Jan. 27. Customers looking to purchase the whole pigs or lambs once sold at the shop will have to search elsewhere.
On Monday, owner Niko Dacic, 63, who bought the business in 2001, was salvaging equipment from the shop, which still bore the unmistakable scent of butchered meats.
"Business has been so-so," said Dacic, a native of Bosnia who moved to the United States in 1994. "It's too much work."
Under Dacic, George's specialized in Eastern European foodstuffs, a little slice of home for his fellow immigrants from the former Yugoslavia.
"People would even come from other states," said Dragon Dacic, the youngest of Niko's three sons.
The shop became known for its meats, particularly its bacon and sausages, which eventually far outpaced the sales of other products, according to the junior Dacic.
"The property is too big to only sell meat," he said.
The Dacics will continue to operate their meat wholesale business — George's Brand Meats — out of its suburban Franklin Park facility.
The processing plant provides markets across the city with items like George's Bosanski Sudzuk, a hickory-smoked dried Bosnian beef sausage.
Next month, the company will add another wholesale account, one that will keep George's presence alive in Lincoln Square.
According to Dragon Dacic, "Mariano's is going to buy stuff from us."
A tenant has been found for the space, with plans to possibly open a restaurant, Dacic said.