photo: Courtesy of Nick Flandro
I've always found something vaguely subversive about the idea of a destination deli. In a city like Chicago, where you have hundreds of options for a decent Polish sausage, why on earth would you hop on a train to find the good stuff? To get to Endy's Deli, I suppose. The Avondale storefront knows its meat, and Endy's regulars line up daily to snatch up fresh kielbasa, smoky sausage links and some inventive meatloaves.
Between the pervasive, savory aroma cutting the air and a meat case brimming over with pork loins, salamis and sausages, carnivores will go into a guaranteed sensory overload upon entering Endy's. Of course, no deli is complete without the requisite assortment of salads, sides and cold goods. Piles of beets and pickles tumble over the cold-case, which is filled with sumptuous accoutrements like krauts, cheeses and herring. The time-tested stars of Endy's selection are certainly the pierogies; regulars stock up on the homemade (and then frozen) dumplings.
Every surface of the immaculately maintained establishment, including the well-trafficked floor and painstakingly arranged display cases, is shining clean. The entire staff is jovial and helpful, but first-timers should be aware that, although some staffers are happy to provide rudimentary translations, English isn't a language often spoken here. If you aren't fluent in Polish, just enthusiastically point to whatever you want, smile at the friendly lady and you'll be on your way in no time. Although the selection here might not be as broad as some of the emporium-sized delis around Chicagoland, the quaint neighborhood spot makes up for it with granny-caliber authenticity, friendly service and dirt-cheap prices.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: K. Tighe