Each month, the Greater Ravenswood Chamber highlights a different business from our neighborhood. This month we caught up with Aaron Steingold, owner of Steingold’s of Chicago! Located at 1840 W Irving Park Rd, Steingold’s is a delicatessen and cafe build by a husband and wife team with a lifelong passion for food.
Hey Aaron! To start, can you tell us how long Steingold’s has been in the neighborhood?
It’s been just over 10 months now. Our opening day was August 29th, 2017.
What inspired you to start your own business? What were you doing before the deli?
I was inspired by several of the amazing people I have been fortunate enough to work with throughout the years. Before opening Steingold’s, I was the general manager of Trenchermen restaurant in Wicker Park.
Is there something you’re most known for at Steingold’s? What sets you apart from your competition?
We are most known for our Reuben Sandwich. What sets us apart is our commitment to the use of traceable, premium, and often local ingredients.
Is that your favorite item on the menu?
My favorite is “The Steingold’s Classic.” Max Stern’s hand-rolled, boiled and baked bagel with house-whipped chive cream cheese, house-cured pastrami-cured lox, heirloom tomatoes, lightly-pickled cucumbers, red onions, and capers.
Wow, that sounds amazing! Your menu is loaded with dishes that seem totally unique and still somehow classic. What’s something I can find at Steingold’s that I won’t find anywhere else?
The Sister-in-Law sandwich. It’s made with 14-hour smoked Wagyu pastrami, dill kimchi and anchovy mustard on a PQB baguette.
What’s something people find surprising about your business?
I think people are often surprised at the Scandinavian influenced design of the space. The two “fish men” on the wall also get a lot of attention. We had a naming contest for a free lunch, and they were named Irv and Lil Abe (for intersection of Irving Park and Lincoln). Irv smokes a cigarette in a holder and wears a top hat. Lil Abe smokes a vaporizer and wears a ball cap and a hoodie. The idea here is the two salmon in our label coming to life as “smoking fish.” One is new school and one is old school. It speaks to our cuisine and our space.
One of the thing’s we love most about Ravenswood’s businesses is how eager they are to collaborate. Have you been working with anyone else in the ‘hood since opening?
We’ve partnered with both Begyle and Dovetail breweries for several events. At Begyle, we’ve served sandwiches for their Sunday yoga sessions. At Dovetail we’ve been serving sandwiches on a few “Funday Monday” nights.
What do you imagine the neighborhood will look like in 10 years?
I don’t think it will look that different. Hopefully there’ll be some additions to our local dining and nightlife scene.
Where are some of your places to spend time in Ravenswood when you make it out of the cafe?
Roots Pizza for lunch, and Band of Bohemia for a cup of coffee. For an after work drink, I’m partial to The Victor Bar.
What’s your favorite quote, and who originally said it?
“To invite people to dine with us is to make ourselves responsible for their well-being for as long as they are under our roofs.” That’s Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, from The Physiology of Taste: Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy
Last question- what’s your go-to karaoke song?
That’d be “Gin & Juice.”
Steingold’s of Chicago
1840 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613