Lithuanian goodies? Especially bacon buns??
- Giovanna May 8, 2004 08:24 AM
During my impecunious college years, several friends & I would drive down to Marquette Park for large, wonderful, cheap meals in Lithuanian restaurants. Nida was the favorite. There are many Polish restaurants serving "European" food that fill the large, wonderful, cheap meal slot, but I REALLY miss the Lithuanian baked goods, espcially the bacon-filled yeast buns. And the apricot cream napoleons. Is anyone still making these wonderful things? And are any of them close to the NW side of the city?
And a question that keeps nagging at me....why do so many Polish restaurants/delis bill themselves as "European"? They're clearly Eastern European....and it contrasts oddly with the clear pride that most Poles I know feel about their heritage.
Most of those businesses have of course departed Marquette Park, but as of my last visit Lithuanian Plaza Bakery-Deli, 2616 W. Lithuanian Plaza, was still in business and served up exactly what you're describing.
Lemont is an Lithuanian-American enclave and probably has several places as well.
Every so often, I chain my Irish wife to the counter to make several dozen bacon buns; or, several dozen meat dumplings (which freeze very well, thank you). Since I no longer live in Chicago, I have to resort to extremes. But, when I'm visiting, I try to swing by A & J meats, 99th Street and one block east of Central Park, south side of 99th. Pretty good bacon buns, very good fresh Lithuanian sausage (which goes home with me in a cooler). They also generally have frozen dumplings (meat, possibly cheese and mushroom), although I cannot vouch for the quality of these, as slave labor will top them every time, and I don't think the frozen replicas would remain frozen even in the cooler for the trip home.
(--From one who used to know every bar & restaurant on 69th St., 71st St., and nearby Western Ave.)
Went on a mini South Side tour today with 6 other Chowhounds. First stop Steve's Shish Kabab, where I had never been, then on to Vito and Nick's (Pulaski) where Rob and Dickson had not been. Between Steve's and Vito and Nick's we also hit a few Middle Eastern groceries.
You may ask how this is relevant to bacon buns, after Vito and Nick's, with a quick stop at a Filipino grocery, we went to Chester's deli on W Archer, which had been previously spotted by Eagle Eye Dickson, the special of the day was bacon buns. Unfortunately, when I inquired the very nice counter lady informed me were out, but proceeded to tell me her favorite way to eat them, dunked in eggs. She even pantomimed dunking bacon bun in egg.
After Chester's we stopped at an extremely busy Weber's Bakery, where Mike G, Erik, Dickson and I bought a little of this and a little of that, all of which seemed quite good. Rob, Seth and Kerensa had parted company at Vito and Nick's .
Regarding our two main stops, I found Steve's to be, as advertised, very good Middle Eastern food, I particularly enjoyed the kibbi, falafel and kifta Kabab. Vito and Nick's was, as usual, excellent, possibly (probably) the best thin crust pizza in the area.
A very pleasant day spent in the company of Chowhounds.
Steve's Shish Kabob
3816 W 63rd St
Chicago, IL 60629
Vito and Nick's
8435 S Pulaski Rd
6743 W Archer
7055 W Archer
Cheese and Sausage at Vito & Nick's
Try Racine Bakery on Archer.
They also have a version with chicken filling.
And if you're a fan of serious bread, be sure to pick up a loaf of their pumpernickel. Dark, dense, chewy, full of grains...(keep it in the fridge--there's no preservatives) Hearty doesn't begin to desribe it. Great toasted with peanut butter.
Most grocery stores in neighborhoods with heavy Eastern European populations usually carry breads from Racine Bakery and/or Baltic Bakery.(Baltic's pumpernickel looks similar, but is sour). You can sometimes find half-loaves for around $1.00.
6216 W Archer
Joe & Franks Market on the corner of Harlem & Archer has these daily, but they often run out.
I tend to call a day ahead and preorder the amount that I want, and they'll hold them for me. (Bringing a couple dozen bacon buns to a family function in the burbs is a quick way to bring a smile to the face of Lithuanian relatives.)
Regarding Marquette Park - I was told that Noringa (sp?) is now a rib joint? I remember many lunches there, "in the old neighborhood" in my early youth.
Joe & Franks Market
7147 W Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60638
New Lithuanian bacon bun source: the brunch at Dale Levitski's Sprout. Heavenly. An order is $7, and is comprised of three plump, savory buns, feather-light and full of flavor. This is perhaps the only place on the North Side that serves them, and they are worth every penny. Delicious. Go!
1417 W. Fullerton Ave.