Bergstein’s NY Deli & Sandwich Shop, a family owned, New York-style Jewish deli serving sandwiches, soups, salads and other delicacies on the northern end of Chicago Heights, will move to downtown Homewood, likely sometime in September or October.
Bergstein’s Deli will be at 18064 Martin Avenue, the former location of Homewood Florist.
“We had an opportunity to be in a larger kitchen, be in a location where we could get more foot traffic and be near the train station,” said co-owner Bill Davis.
With the catering side of the business growing, Davis said Bergstein’s Deli needed more kitchen space, adding that the new location will be about a thousand square feet larger. The Homewood location also will have a patio with outdoor seating that the business doesn’t currently have, Davis added.
Davis, a Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate, owns Bergstein’s Deli with his sister and parents.
“My sister (Rachel) and I pretty much run the day-to-day. She’s the chef. She went to culinary school. So, she does a lot of the kitchen stuff and I handle more of the business side,” Davis said.
When Davis was growing up, he said his family would go on road trips to New York. He said they’d “pack up a cooler” and bring home corn beef, pastrami and smoked fish.
Harris Davis, Bill Davis’s father, grew up in Brooklyn, New York. On Bergstein’s Deli’s website, he wrote about how in the mid-1960s, it seemed like there were Jewish delis on every block in his neighborhood. He said it’s what he missed most about New York City.
These fond memories inspired the Davis family to open Bergstein’s Deli in 2008.
“Between the smoked fish and the matzo ball soup, a lot of the New York deli delicacies come from the eastern European Jews who moved to New York,” Bill Davis said. “Sometimes the ‘New York deli’ and ‘the Jewish deli’ are a little interchangeable.”
Bergstein’s Deli serves black and white cookies, a traditional Jewish pastry that can be hard to find outside of New York. Their smoked fish is shipped in from Brooklyn, Davis said.
“We also cater to Jewish holidays,” Davis said. “We do a lot of trays for the Yom Kippur holiday. They’re supposed to fast all day, and they usually order deli trays for what’s called ‘break the fast.’”
Over the years, Davis said Bergstein’s Deli has built a loyal customer base, including Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld and many other Homewood and Flossmoor residents. He said he hopes that those who live father south will continue to support Bergstein’s Deli.
“I timed it to about a six- or seven-minute drive down Dixie Highway,” Davis said, describing the proximity between the current location near the intersection of Dixie and Vollmer Road in Chicago Heights and the future Homewood location.
Bergstein’s is looking forward to being an active participant of the Homewood community.
“We want to be a part of the community – not just serving sandwiches,” Davis said. “We want to work with the high school. When I went to H-F, Great American Bagel used to have student paintings on the wall. We used to do an open mic night at the Chicago Heights location that we’d like to bring back.”