Though being a Southerner married to a New Yorker has its share of differences, one thing we do share in common is a great love for our own versions of our native regional comfort soul food. I’ll have to admit that prior to marrying into my wife’s family, I didn’t really know a knish from a latke. Even more, my own father’s crude attempt to make corned beef growing up left quite a bit to be desired. Of course, my wife has shared the culinary adventure enduring my family’s 16 hour slow-smoked pulled pork recipe, iron skillet fried chicken and salt-cured aged country ham.
However, my world of taste changed when I met my wife over six years ago and began to participate in family meals during visits back home. In New York, it’s not that hard to find good quality corned beef, pastrami, knishs, smoked salmon, black-and-white cookies as well as any assortment of authentic corner deli delicacies. However, up until a couple of years ago, you were hard pressed to capture that familiar taste here in the western suburbs. H.P. Schmaltz and Co. changed all of that when their doors opened in Naperville around three or so years ago.
I recall our first visit to the place we simply refer to as Schmaltz. For my wife, it was almost like a new-found alumni club/deli speakeasy for all New Yorkers as we joined many other former Northeasterners who were discovering Schmaltz for the first time as if it were a desert oasis for that old familiar neighborhood deli taste. Since then, Schmaltz has become a regular destination for my wife’s homesick cravings not be speak of hosting family in from out-of-town. I must say, I too have become addicted to the flavor and tradition which Schmaltz effectively has captured here in the Midwest.
Schmaltz features the full line of New York deli traditions all the way down to actual Carnegie Deli cheesecake. Last week, my wife and I had lunch at Carnegie Deli during a trip to NYC and followed it up with a visit to Schmaltz this past weekend with my mother-in-law who was in town for a visit from New York. The taste and quality is highly comparable, minus the airfare and Manhattan crowds of course. I’m pleased to report, Schmaltz keeps getting better. On the service side, the conversation starts up quickly with staff providing a fun neighborhood feel. The food offerings continue to expand providing a multitude of choices, including Mayor Pradels very own signature sandwich which places a strong emphasis on Salami.
Whether you are a former New Yorker homesick for the taste of authentic deli offerings or like me, one of many from the other “fly over” states who might curious about the regional NY deli cuisine, I strongly recommend a visit to Schmaltz… I guarantee it won’t be your last.
H.P. Schmaltz and Co. is located at 1512 North Naper Blvd. in the strip mall just behind McDonalds and TGI Fridays just north of Ogden. It appears they have also opened a second location in Downers Grove at 1416 Butterfield Rd. “Next to Best Buy”.
They also have a website: http://www.schmaltzdeli.com