Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zaleski and Horvath Market Cafe

posted by Elizabeth Fama

It's not every day that bright, young, enterprising people open a totally hip, yet essentially retro, business in Hyde Park/Kenwood. But by some miracle it has happened, and on 47th Street no less, at the Z&H Market Cafe (named for the owners' grandparents). How to conjure an image? Think of an old-world neighborhood grocer, with a mix of fresh and canned goods -- except add refrigeration and a high-tech espresso machine. Think of a diminutive Dean and Deluca, only 785 miles closer. Think of a scaled-down version of Chicago's Fox and Obel, but with customers who've had no cosmetic surgery. The new Z&H Market Cafe has a bit of everything you need: high-end goods, a deli, superb coffee and tea, bread that's to die for, and even a little nook where you can sit and watch the world go by while you sip hot chocolate from a bowl.

The two business partners, Tim and Sam, who man the store themselves with a frugal amount of staff, are so passionate about their new place it's both fierce and heartwarming.

"Do you want to try a cup of coffee made in our new Clover single-cup commercial-grade coffee brewer? It's a patented Vacuum-Press system, and there are only 2,400 of them in the country!"

"Well," I say, "can it be an iced coffee?"

"Sure, we'll make you a single-brew iced latte, and from now on we'll call it The Elizabeth!" (super delicious, and highly recommended).



If you live nearby, one of the neat things about Z&H is that it's not just fancy dried and canned goods: you could pop in there at the last minute to buy dinner. There's a small supply of fresh Amish chicken (breasts and whole fryers) in the back fridge, and they soon hope to have fish from a local (sustainable) fish farm. There's a limited but fresh selection of produce, lots of dried pastas, and perfect, chewy baguettes from La Briola. They even have a handful of pre-roasted Amish chickens available for purchase. If you can't make ten easy gourmet dinners from what you find in this store, I'll eat my hat.


My mom, my daughter, and I, always hungry for imported Italian foods, traded canned-tomato expertise with Tim, purchased many items including raw honey and chocolate hazelnut gelato (I know, staples, right?), and ordered a sandwich, soup, and two panini from the deli. The soup was amazing: coconut lime chicken curry, made from one of the Amish chickens that they had roasted on site. The panini ($7.50) and sandwich ($7) were good (the sliced prosciutto was like butter) but the dainty side of potato salad needed a little lift (balsamic or rice vinegar would do no harm, plus some ground pepper). We bumped into a dear friend of ours, chatted for ten minutes, as you do in a real old-fashioned neighborhood, and went home with our loot...


The owners admit they need a little time to work out the kinks. For example, it's not that easy to stock just a few heads of fresh unwilted lettuce, but they're getting the hang of that sort of inventory problem as every day goes by.

Go to Z&H Market Cafe as soon as you can. And don't forget to ask for a fresh-brewed Elizabeth!

Zaleski and Horvath Market Cafe
1126 East 47th StreetChicago IL 60615
ph: 773.538.7372
fax: 773.538.8151
daily 7 AM - 7 PM
(Two other local blog reviews of Z&H are here: http://reallyboring.net/ and http://sulali.blogspot.com/)

12 comments:

chicago pop said...

At long last.

Congratulations to all at Z&H, and to long-time HPP reader Z&L especially.

And especial thanks for locating so close to Chicago Pop's stomping grounds! We'll see you on 47th Street.

Eric Allix Rogers said...

I'm not sure my blog post counts as a review. I'm so excited about having good food so close to where I live, I can't think straight. But thanks for the link!

Greg said...

I'll definitely stop in this weekend. That chicken looks really good. :-D

Miles said...

nice, but that's kenwood, not HP :p

Urban Domestic Goddess said...

Heh--most of my northsider friends think that HP encompasses all of the south side. Anyway, I've been to Z&H a couple of times now and am just thrilled with the selection. I've wandered in a food desert for too long, and Z&H is my oasis. Kudos, gentlemen!

ScottM said...

The parking issue there could be a problem. I tried to stop Sun evening fairly late for milk and there wasn't a spot on either side of 47th within a few blocks. I like the store though except the Mrs. (the architect) couldn't understand why the back area of the store seemed so cut off. Great deli though. Great addition to the neighborhood to.

Elizabeth Fama said...

My mistake, Miles. I meant to say Hyde Park/Kenwood. I've corrected the post.

chicago pop said...

Urban Domestic Goddess: Does this mean you won't be leaving Hyde Park-Kenwood/South Side of Chicago after all?

Urban Domestic Goddess said...

Chicago Pop: I'm kinda stuck for the moment anyway because of the soft housing market. I'd take a bath if I tried to sell my place right now. But, yes, having a grocery store nearby does make the neighborhood more attractive and livable.

chicago pop said...

UDG: It's all about the little things that make life easier.

So I got my first-ever cup of coffee from the "clover" device, which operates like something from Star Trek, but more hydraulic, less molecular, and it delivered one flippin' fine cup o' joe. Half the fun is just watching it.

Didn't even get around to trying a sandwich or sampling the dry goods. You can't do everything at once, eh?

HistPresD said...

I know it has taken me a while to get there, but I can heartily recommend the Blue Moo. Wow, one of the best sandwiches I have had in a long time.

Congrats!

Antoine said...

I have been a couple of times @ this place, asking for a small coffee in a medium cup...sometimes they were charging me the price of the small, other times the price of the large...

This morning, (10.12.10) I asked before ordering what the price will be, and it turned out it was the owner who was serving me, and he told me I would be charged for a large..

I told him that they should me more clear about prices...well, it seems that he did not appreciate my suggestion, and he refused to serve me the coffee...under the pretense that I was arguing with him...and told me that I could go to "Medici" next door...

Well, be sure Mr. "owner" (he insisted on this title a couple of times...) I will never come back to Zaleski, and it is sad, because this place, the food, the coffee, and the people are great...but it seems that someone is still not happy there...