UPTOWN — Chicago’s first all-vegan Jewish deli opened in Uptown Friday to great fanfare. Word of the intriguing concept, possibly the world’s first, quickly spread.
Sam & Gertie’s proved so popular that, by Saturday, it had sold out of all of its menu items. The overwhelming support caused Sam & Gertie’s to close on Sunday, which would have been its third day in business.
From meatless to foodless in two days.
“The crowd today was amazing and we’ve sold out of everything,” the restaurant wrote Saturday on Facebook. “We’ll make more and be back next weekend.”
Sam & Gertie’s is the latest restaurant from Uptown chef Andy Kalish, who has turned the 1300 block of West Wilson Avenue into “vegan row.” The vegan Jewish deli is next door to his vegan fast-casual eatery Ka’lish, and the new deli is in the Kalish’s former pizza spot, Pizza Squared by Longacre.
Sam & Gertie’s serves the mainstays of Jewish delicatessens, but with a vegan twist — “eggless” egg salad, a smoked “whitefish” salad as well as a number of “chik’n” salads.
Plant-based pastrami and corned beef sandwiches will be available, as will schnitzel and chopped “livah.” All of their offerings are prepared without using any animal products.
Kalish hosted a preview of Sam & Gertie’s around Hanukkah, where at least 400 customers were served.
Despite the early interest, Sam & Gertie’s could not stock enough food for the crowds on opening weekend.
The restaurant, at 1309 W. Wilson Ave., will be closed until Friday, when it will resume normal business hours. Sam & Gertie’s winter hours are 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.