After weeks of following a meat and dairy-free Lent, thousands of Chicagoans are in the market for plum-flavored brandy and spit-roasted lamb. Thankfully, a city as ethnically diverse as Chicago offers up a variety of markets stocked with imported goods.
“I wouldn’t serve anything to my customers that I wouldn’t serve to my family,” said Danny Kovacevic, Serbian-born owner of City Fresh Market, the international grocery retailer offering up ready-to-serve lamb, goats and specialty cakes and pastries for the holiday. “Our staff speaks many Eastern European languages, so customers feel comfortable telling us what they want for Lent and Easter. We try to make shopping for these occasions easy for everyone.”
With more than 15,000 food and beverage items, City Fresh specializes in Serb, Russian, Greek, Bosnian, Slovenian and Romanian delicacies, where fresh meats, fish, produce, housemade baked goods, cheeses, wine and honeys abound. Relishing the challenge of finding hard-to-source products, Kovacevic also carries Asian, Hispanic and Middle Eastern specialties, while tracking down Kosher and Passover orders of whole fish for Jewish customers.
In addition to City Fresh, there a several other Eastern European markets doing brisk business this time of year: Devon Market, Lincolnwood Produce & Grocery, Village Market and Hungarian Kosher - the Midwest’s largest Kosher market - can be found featuring varieties of organic fresh produce and beverage products at much better prices than your larger retail-chain grocery stores.
“When Lent is over, we offer everything needed to celebrate any culture,” adds Kovacevic. “Some products might be found at other retailers, but not the variety or at the value we deliver.”
City Fresh Market is open Mon-Sat 7 a.m.-10 p.m./ Sun 8 a.m. -9 p.m., with locations at 3201 W. Devon Ave and at the Chicago French Market. For more information, visit www.cityfreshmarket.com.