Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Minute Holiday Platters

The answer is YES and they are fantastic.

Sam just finished one and it is beautiful. We are wishing we had a camera in the MarketCafe right now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


A cold, cold day.

But the good news is that we will be featured on the 'Hungry Hound' on channel 7 at 10:30AM on January 16th. They will also rebroadcast the piece and it will be available online as well.

If you need holiday Apple or Pumpkin Pies please let us know by Tuesday morning. With regard to your Holiday and New Years party platter needs, please let us know as early as possible, we have some ideas we would love to try out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ahhhh, December

Nearly all of our holiday items are in the MarketCafe, including a tasty 'lump of coal'.

We had a nice mention in Chicago Magazine and are hosting ABC7 on Friday afternoon for some sort of filming here in the MarketCafe.

Think Warm. Or at least think Sun.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Our weekend hours of 8AM-6PM seem to be the right fit for these Winter months. We have seen the arrival of the Keen's Cheddar. Yes, it is delicious. We also have a new wonderful disc of goat cheese from France that is my new favorite goat cheese, it is a short run cheese so alas, it will be gone soon.

Our soup of the day is Jess's Caribbean Wonder Soup.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We had visitors from CBS2 last night, Sam was interviewed and showed up on th 10PM news. Take a look at the story on the CBS website. It is nice coverage for the neighborhood and Z&H. We continue to build our inventory mix, it is challenging and fun to investigate all of your suggestions and to discover the wide variety of delicious, high-quality items that are available.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturdays are fun

We had a great day today, lots of new and old friends in and out of the MarketCafe all day.  Lots of cheese tasted, lots of new fans of Clover style coffee. All in all, a great day. What could be better, great deli fare, great cheese and great coffee? 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The wonderful world of food.

Having just finished our first full week of business we are amazed and very happy with the grea reception we have had. After a couple of days of quiet discovery we have have a series of days that have been excellent. We continue to refine our practices and hope that everyone continues to step up and offer suggestions and comment. It really is the most important thing we could hope for as we continue to refine our product mix. Thanks. Also, if you have not tried one of Sam' s cookies you should, right away.

And stop by and sample some cheese.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tired and excited

This has been a great week!  The community excitement has been fantastic.  It's great to finally show people what we have instead of talking about it... Stop in and say hello, grab a Clover Coffee, and taste some cheese.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We have an active website.

If you are here you probable know that.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday update

It has been a great week, being open, meeting new friends, and finally sharing what we have been talking about for such a long time. Our hours are 7-7 Monday through Saturday and 11-7 on Sundays. We continue to have new products arrive and are excited by the excellent recomendation we have received so far, we have even brought in more than a handful of the great items that our customers have shared with us. Please keep letting us know your thoughts. We can only be as good as you all allow to be. We continue to refine our processes and the Z&H experience will only get better. We have a terrific staff that understands the idea of true service and will grow as a team before your eyes. We are very happy with our cheese selection. We have over 70 cheeses now and invite you to taste them with us. We have many outstanding items, but please make sure you take a look a our packaged, bulk line of nuts and dried fruits, they are top-notch. We hope to see everyone at the MarketCafe.

Don't forget, the last 45th & Cottage Gove community market is next Sunday, we hope to see you at our stall there as well (Myra and Adam will take good care of you). Thanks and have a great day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We still have items arriving, but the wait was long enough....OPEN. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Yes, we are still waiting for the City to issue a business license so we can open our doors. On a more upbeat note, we had a great training for our staff conducted by the fine people at Intelligentsia, and more of our product mix arrives each day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


We are working in the MarketCafe today, putting together last minute details and placing orders rounding out our opening product mix. The inventory will be a living thing apparently. We will continue to bring in new items even after our doors open to round out our mix, and after that we will keep our mix fresh by always working to discover new and excellent products. That is where our customers become even more improtant. We need input on a regular and ongoing basis. It really is as much your Market as it is ours. It llok s great in here and we think you will be pleased.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Light, we see light

We had and passed our health inspection today. Whew. We also continue to receive our products in wave at this point. Wonderful, hectic days. We are within a week at this point, actual light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Some of our favorite things...

Some of our favorite things....Harvest Song Preserves are made with ingredients grown in the valley of Mount Ararat, Armenia, a region rich in natural resources, bubbling springs and a very, very old history. These preserves are some of the best tasting foods that you will ever eat. We like to pair a few of them with cheese. But you will taste for yourself when you visit us. Our product range grows daily as we wait for the health inspector...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Check that box complete

Odd and successful plumbing re-inspection today. Yes. We then proceeded to CITY HALL and met with a terrific representative in the business office, submitted $660 and were told that the health inspector will be out in 3-10 business days and then our business license will be mailed to us by first-class U.S. mail 3-5 days after that. Then we are open for business. Finally.

Quick note, bite-sized, organic, coconut date rolls are as delicious as they are addictive.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Monday, Monday, daa daa, daa daa daa daa.

Monday between 8AM-3PM is the window for the follow-up inspection for the plumbing inspector. We were required to place a backflow device on our RO water filter (yes, in case there is a loss of water pressure the City does not want our perfectly filtered water to flow back into the general water supply, hmmmm). So it has been installed by a plumber with a special backflow license (yes, that does exist in the City). Once we pass this inspection we can go to City Hall and submit for a Health inspection. Hoop, many many hoops. And product continues to flow into the store. And the Clover machine is a dream, the coffee is incredible.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And the Plumbing Man Cometh

The very short list of plumbing adjustments that the plumbing inspector asked for have been made, now we wait for him to come and sign-off on the changes so we can apply for the business license which triggers the health and fire inspections, which after we pass, allow us to pay for the business license and then we are allowed to open. Easy.

Many orders placed today. Our product mix (as I have written before) is thoughtful with a broad mix or items that reflex the delicious, the highest quality, and the unique and hard to find. No Raisin Bran here (although Raisin Bran may in fact be delicious, it just is not what we choose to eat or offer).

Monday, September 22, 2008

I digress

DeHavilland Maeve Matilda.

The name of the newest addition to the Z&H "family" that was born this morning at 3:33AM. She is actually the only genetically factual Zaleski AND Horvath running around (not so much running on day one, more of resting comfortably) on earth. She is a lovely girl and in the coming months she will be making appearances at the MarketCafe. Look for the orange pram. 

Lots of MarketCafe information to pass a long, but we will leave that for tomorrow. Raise your hand if you are ready to taste the best small batch goat cheese that is wrapped in bourbon-soaked chestnut leaves and allowed to mellow into what is now a MarketCafe favorite in the soft cheese category.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


So, after nine months, and strange unexplained delay from the City, we had and passed our City electrical inspection. It was anti-climatic. We had thought of a balloon drop, or perhaps a marching band, but no, a simple and quick walk-through and a signature on the permit with the note, "Final OK". Tomorrow, the plumbing inspection.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rain, Rain go away....

With common sense being our guide a weather report that reads, "Rains increase again with strong northeast winds gusting at times in excess of 30 m.p.h. Highs in the lower 70s, but turning markedly cooler during the afternoon" (thanks Tom Skilling), will keep us working in the MarketCafe on Sunday. The following Sunday looks good and our cheese will taste even better. Stay dry everyone.

Friday, September 12, 2008


We have ice. And all our equipment is humming. We are happy. Intelligentsia is coming next Tuesday to fine tune the La Marzocco, the Clover and the Fetco. They are a great group of folks and we are pleased to be able to work with them. Best of all we are just days away from fantastic coffee. We have also called for our final electrical and plumbing inspections, these will allow us to have our health and other last inspections. light at the end of our tunnel. We have our first employee orientation on Monday as well, if you know anyone who loves food and the idea of providing great service please steer them our way, we are still looking for a couple of people we would like to spend our days with surrounded by glorious food.

We are going to have a few new items with us at this weeks Community Market (Sundays, 45th and Cottage Grove, 10AM-3PM), including a couple of new cheeses, featuring a regional, bourbon-soaked leaf-wrapped goat cheese that is delicious. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A simple Thursday in September on 47th Street

Some days are better than other, even if every day is a fantastic day. Think how lucky each of us is in our own way (go on, think about it). Today we had a great day. ComEd arrived unannounced at about 9:30AM with hard-hats in hand (lift truck as well) to connect our lines to the pole. Yes there is a Santa and a tooth fairy and a small man no bigger than 3 inches tall that lives in your top drawer. Our electrician will come on Friday to switch our electric from the puny service we now have to the robust service our equipment requires. Tomorrow we make ice (as a famous person once said, "the man who invented ice just left the building"). In a timing miracle, our plumbing was also finished today. 

Lots of work on our product mix in recent days. We continue to fine tune. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by in reent days, we want to emphasis that your continued input now and as we move forward is a valuable resource for us. Please continue to let us know what you are seeking for your community market.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

signs signs everywhere.....

We now have our faux-frosted glass window signs installed. Nine signs that say a little bit about us and what we do. Even one featuring 'Wine', just positive thinking at this point, but a half full glass is always better than a half empty one. T-minus two days on the current ComEd promise for a line installation from the pole to our meter.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Wow! What a fun day at the market!  We told many new people about the market, and sampled delicious local cheese.  We had our phone expert (my wife) in the store working on getting our phones set up.  All in all, it was a great day, although I can't wait until we have to worry about business at the farmer's market AND at the store at the same time.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


CHEESE! Yes, we have cheese. We will feature an edited selection of our cut-to-order cheese at the 45th and Cottage Grove Community Market this Sunday (think Sun, the rain today was crazy). This will be a preview of the large and varied cheese selection we will have in the MarketCafe.

The MarketCafe is shaping up nicely. If you are in the neighborhood feel free to stick your head in the door and say hello. Our 16 feet of deli case is now in place, and the entire working counter area is set. There is some final detail work from the electrician and plumber to be completed, but we are already setting the store. The delays have been crazy but in some cases the time has allowed us to tighten the concept. Glass half full.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Another day in the sun

Sunday was beautiful. We had our second Sunday at the 45th and Cottage market and met even more new folks that we hope to see again in the MarketCafe. We had a great time sampling some of our items and next Sunday we are going to be offering a selection of the cheeses as well.

We have now moved all of our equipment into the MarketCafe, it is great to see the slicers in place and the coffee equipment positioned...the MarketCafe is shaping up to be a temple to food, and we we surprised that what we have envisioned in our heads for so long is taking shape and seems to be better than we had imagined. Many phone calls tomorrow, with a call to ComEd at 9AM on the dot, to try and learn when they will be out to connect our power lines to the pole.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Counter Tops

Most of the counter tops were laid today, and we are expecting to see the ComEd inspector tomorrow (this will be the fourth visit, if you are counting), each time they have come they have commented how nice our work is but, really, but, they are not the right person to sign off on the work (why come at all, right?). SO we hoe it is the right person tomorrow, and that we can schedule a connection for our line to be connected to the pole.

The Market at 45th and Cottage was a nice way to spend a beautiful afternoon. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. We will be sampling this Sunday, hopefully we will be able to bring even more items and we will keep fine tuning our stand over the coming weeks. And, we are hopeful to have the MarketCafe open while we are still young.

Friday, August 22, 2008

45th and Cottage Grove Community Market

Z&H MarketCafe will be setting up a tent and tables at the 45th and Cottage Grove Bronzeville Community Market this Sunday. We will feature the fantastic produce of Heritage Prairie Farm, who we will also feature in our MarketCafe space at 1126 East 47th. We are pleased that we have been able to work out this arrangement with Heritage Prairie Farm, they are terrific people with terrific products. As residents of the community and business owners here, we have an acute understanding of what it means to support our neighbors and the community at large, and it is fun to sell great produce at a Community Market. Over the next few weeks, as we get closer to opening the doors of the MarketCafe, we will be adding more interesting and delicious items to our offering at the Community Market. We hope to see everyone Sunday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The march of progress

Everyday bring surprises. We are completing much of the less obvious work (cleanable walls in the prep room and cleaning closet, those sorts of things), the ceiling fans are in, and much of the electrical work is complete (we still wait on a magical call from ComEd). In addition to the La Marzocco being on the counter, the Clover machine has now made the trip into the MarketCafe. We can't help but smile, now with some help from ComEd (that would entail showing up and connecting us to the pole) and the City (inspectors giving us the thumbs up [this will occur after ComEd's work]).

Watch this space tomorrow for some interesting news about this weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2008


We met with our cheese rep today, and I must say, I am excited.  We have been looking at those deli cases for months, and we can't wait to fill them.  The espresso machine is now in the space... I'll tell you what, kids... this place is going to look terrific.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


We spend a lot of time on ladders these days. It is like exercise, only with a paint brush in hand. The frame and core of the counter run was installed today, it looks fantastic. Tomorrow the guys will dry wall it and begin tiling (yes, more tile). We have also begun to erect our shelving. There are only a handful of items left to complete; now the pressure is on our electrician, plumber, ComEd, and the City inspectors.

Monday, August 11, 2008

it looks like a store!

this is my first post, and I have to say, it feels good to see Z&H come together.  To all of you that have stopped to ask about our progress, I want to thank you.  It feels great to know that others are as excited about the store as we are.  I drew the design for the counter today, and we are so glad that we have a custom designed counter, as the Clover machine that has been a very expensive paper weight for 3 months requires a special counter height.  We can't wait to start cranking out made to order drip coffee.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Funny how a mish-mash of oddness can make you happy. We were putting ceiling time in place today, the crew was finishing-up the fabrication of the hand-crafted front window/entryway trim and casing (they do beautiful work and I can recommend our GC for any work a home owner could imagine), the nearly all of the final tiling was completed today, and we made headway with ComEd, they need to visit us and install a meter head and connect our overhead power lines to the pole (this seems like dangerous work best left to professionals). If the stars align we are looking at a end of August opening. Wow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


It appears that we will be offering a lovingly edited selection of vegetables, more so than we ever imagined. We will not be HPP, but what you see in our store will be beautiful, fresh, local (when possible), and you will not find cactus leaves (ever) or strawberries in January.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Details, and more details

Two of the doors went up today, more of our marble front window ledge was installed (a nice detail that was a late addition, but will make a nice impact to the storefront), and more finish work on the front window wall was under way today. We ware please that our crew is so detailed focused, but it would be great to be open. We move forward in all areas of the finish work these days. The thousand details (literally thousands of details) are an interesting challenge to juggle among the four of us, but after we open the doors we will laugh, right? Oh, and we replaced two of the old front windows, they each had cracks and one of them had been patched (yes, apparently you can patch a plate glass window. It does not not look so great but...) the new windows looks much better and give the store a more professional look. The electrician was in today.... could keep going but I will stop. Wait until you taste our new recipe for orzo salad.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Down on the Farm.

Spent a beautiful morning at an incredible farm (only 60 miles from the Z&H front door) this morning. Sometimes the planets align and they did this morning. We will be working with this farm, and other nearby growers and producers they have the their network, to bring some of the best produce and other specialty items from the area, state, and region to Z&H and you. We will post more details as we nail down the specifics. We are excited about this, this is the kind of working relationship that we envisioned when we went down this path.

Also, the tiling will be completed on Wednesday, we are told. The tile that is on the walls at this point is better than we imagined.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beautiful, beautiful wall tile

Sam and I spent this past Sunday priming the walls, eight hours. They look great. Today our trusty tilers arrived and had a dynamic 20 minute debate about how to proceed and then they plunged in. The results look great, we actually have at least two more days of wall tiling, this is going to be a fantastic space. On Tuesday Sam and I head out to a farm to work out terms and delivery timing for some terrific local products and produce. 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mudding and Taping

Yes, I know, this might be the most boring and/or absurd post to date, but mudding and taping of the drywall is what happened today in the space. Multiple fans working to dry out the walls, it is like a sauna right now. On a significantly more interesting tangent, we began to place our stocking orders today and we had a few surprise items rise to the surface. We will be carrying 'dorset cereals', it was a long search but we believe we have found a delicious line of "cereal cereals" (as Karen maintains). I would tend to agree with the statement on the package that these cereals are a "unadulterated breakfast pleasure". Full disclosure, I have been munching on a box this afternoon and it makes a tasty snack as well. More new product information in the coming days.

Friday, July 18, 2008

when drywall makes a man weep

The drywall hangers were like angry beavers (in a good way) today, and they will finish taping and 'mudding' the walls tomorrow. After our long journey in the darkness of permit limbo we have emerged into the brilliant light of whiplash fast progress. We will install the tile baseboards and wall tile this coming week, and I am shocked to say, I believe we will be painting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plum, Plum, Plum, Plum, Plumbing Inspector.......

Weird department of plumbing AM hijinks then, as if by magic, an inspector called my phone at 10AM and told me he would be at the space in an hour. And he was. The inspection took twenty minutes (we have beautiful 'rough-in' plumbing). He signed the permit and life continues. Drywall arrives tomorrow at 9AM. After we hang the drywall it is all "finish" work. Closer and closer.

Wait until you see our deli menu.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The City. Just what you expect.

So the City department of plumbing scheduled an inspection appointment today between 8:30AM and 3PM, (just like the cable company) and -I am shocked, shocked (not really) they did not show, or call to indicate they would not fulfill the appointment they had scheduled. An entire day of waiting for a city inspector (with the door propped open, so they don't even have to knock). No show. Just what you expect from the City. A nice ending to this story, there is a number to call but when you call it after 3PM you get dumped into a voice mail system that tells you that the department voice mail is full. So, another email is sent requesting an inspection visit from a plumbing inspector, and time to wait for an email reply scheduling another inspection visit...hello Mr. Kafka. Time for a cold beverage.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Put a checkmark in the box

We had the rough-in electrical inspection on Friday. No worries. It went well. The inspector was impressed by the quality of the work. Now we have the rough-in plumbing inspection next Tuesday. When that goes as we expect, we can begin closing the walls up next wednesday. Happy days.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

nail biting time, but not really

We have our rough-in electrical inspection scheduled on Friday between 8:30-3 (yes, the City is just like the cable company in some ways). Our electrical work is a thing of beauty, and this should be no big deal. We are expecting an email from the city tomorrow about the plumbing rough-in inspection. The only thing more beautiful than our electrical work is our plumbing work. We should really give tours. closer and closer...

Also, watch this space for the first post from our Z&H Dietitian soon. Rebecca Stevens is a food and nutrition expert who has always surprised us with her practical insight into a healthy diet and how food can be a fun and sensible part of all of our lives. I learn something from Rebecca each time I talk with her, which cannot be said for most conversations. We are excited for everyone to meet Rebecca once we are open. We think she is cool, and know you will as well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Anticipating Inspections

The saga is hopefully winding down, we are now happily official with the city, as our PERMIT is hanging in the front window (a silent cheer has been ongoing since last Thursday at 11:35AM). We are anticipating our first inspections next Monday or Tuesday, at which point we can hang the remaining drywall, close-up the walls and complete the finish work. Then we can get down to the business of what we love.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New York, New Ideas

Two members of our team just returned from the recent NY food show with some interesting finds and confirmation that what we have in our current product mix to open is truly 'best in class'.  We are also always interested in new ideas, so if you have particular favorites, or if there is a hard-to-find item that you love, please share it with us. We plan to groom the product mix continually, so every visit to the MarketCafe will be an opportunity for discovery.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Website update

A quick point, we have seen our new website and it is good. Our fantastic website builder is incorporating some photographs we have provided her (some of these same photographs will also appear in the MarketCafe). We should have a core new site up and running in the next couple weeks. If you have any suggestions as to functionality for our new site, things you like, things you don't like from your web experience, please pass you ideas along.

Z&H Shopping Bags

Sure we have made plenty of (belated, if you want to know my feelings, but that is a different post) of progress this week. As of this writing the entire front portion of the floor is in, the floor directly in front of our 16 feet of deli cases is in, and the nicest bathroom floor in Kenwood has also been laid.

But the real story is that our Z&H reusable shopping bags arrived. They are red (we think they actually lean towards color of the finest Hungarian paprika ever grown, which is unfortunately no longer cultivated - another interesting story to touch on later), and they are very cool. As cool as a very nice fabric shopping bag can be. We donated a case of them to the QCDC for use in relation to the new Farmers Market on Cottage at 45th (10AM-3PM on Sundays), not sure how they will deploy them but keep a weather eye out for them. They will also be available in the MarketCafe once we are open. It is easy to be Green (and Red).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Funny and Sad

OK, This made me laugh. As mentioned earlier, we had an entire pallet of Z&H label water stolen. I received a phone call today asking me details about Z&H2O bottled water. It turns out that this man had purchased some of our bottled water from a guy in the BP parking lot sometime last weekend and wanted to know more details about the water. Huh.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Terrazzo & Porcelain

The floors are about 30% complete at the point, with more getting done each day.We got a great deal on our floor tile, and as a result the floor behind the deli and coffee counter is a very cool terrazzo. The rest of the floor space is an interesting combination of a dark and light porcelain tile. We are expecting to have the floors finished this week, or early next week.

If we can get the City to cooperate at this point....

Friday, June 20, 2008

What a week

There is now a ceiling, with HVAC, and lights...and (gasp) tile is being laid, we even have tile guys working on Saturday. Oh, and the plumber are the most incredible plumbers in the world (MIPITW), There will be no PVC in our plumbing. only copper and cast iron.

All of this progress was not crushed by the fact that we had an entire pallet of Z& logo bottled water stole from our location. Weird. If you happen to see bottles of water labeled "Z&H2O" they are stolen merchandise. Our glass being half full (pun inevitable) we needed to tweek the label color for our next pallet of water anyway. Like I wrote, what a week. In a great way.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Aziz, LIGHT!

Not only do we have much of the ceiling in place, we also have light fixtures in the ceiling. Every day, we grow closer and closer to opening. The pace is slower than we like, but it teaches us patience, right? Nice words, but the waiting is slowly killing us.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Yes, nerts.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A bridge from east to west

Lots of activity today. Some movement from the City. We are hoping for the good news we have been patiently waiting for for 16 weeks from the City this week. But, time does not stop, and in fact it seems to move faster each day. We actually put up a bridge today in the space. Let me explain, there is a point in the space where the east and west wall close together to about 12 feet. This is where we had to build a bridge from the east side of the space to the west side of the space, in order to support the ceiling across that expanse. It is also where the ceiling drops from 13 feet to 10 feet in height. Additionally, we 'turned' some water pipes today; we a have very nice window on the west wall, strangely it is about ten feet off the ground, and we did not want to bury behind drywall (as it was when we took over the space). It will add some very good natural light. So, as you see, there was a flury of activity today, now to keep up the pace moving forward.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Food for thought. Literally.

So, I posted over on the 'Hyde Park Progress' blog, and in the post was this comment, "Eating quality food is not a function of income, it is a function of food education. Also, many people do not know how to cook from ingredients (or don't think they have the time), or understand how delicious food prepared from scratch actually is."

I did not see this as a hot-button comment, only a topic that is dear to our hearts at Z&H, and an area where we think we can make a difference locally. Food education is a topic that is among the core of our mission. We have a project (that we may actually move up in our time-line, now that we see how important this topic is) that we are committed to fulfilling. As we get closer to our opening date, and getting more of the mundane opening work behind us, we will share more details. More on the build-out status by midweek.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ceiling. I have nothing clever to say about our ceiling

With the City not cooperating at this point we are doing what we can, without breaking any rules. The natural order of a traditional build-out has been interrupted. So....the installation of the ceiling grid will begin this week. As we are in a very old retail space, we have 13 foot ceilings (even accounting for the mechanicals of the apartment above our space), to permit access to the mechanicals, we are going to use the newest generation of ceiling. Interestingly, even as it is a new form of an established technology, the appearance of the ceiling will be traditional. The entire space will be a mix of the modern and the traditional. Also, Sam was bravely installing insulation today over the old clerestory panels above the window runs. It would be nice to restore those clerestory panels back to windows when we replace the windows down the road. As it is now, the light in the space is great. Staying positive, progress, is in fact, progress.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dealing with the City is like living a Kafka novel

The City. The City. I can't say more now, bad karma, but once we are open and operating, the stories.....

In addition to the new front door, we also have a new rear security door. Ahhhh, security. We will be painting the front door and window frames soon, the window frames will be a color to match the window frames of the window of the apartments above us, and the door will be a shade lighter. Subtle. More interesting additions and refinements to our product mix this past week (we are seeing these late product discoveries as a silver lining in our delay cloud).

Oh, and I broke a long bone in my right foot Crutches for six weeks. Funny thing is, this is going to be a great specialty market and cafe. We have be fine-tuning the deli menu, and the sandwiches are going to be mind-blowing, the salads delicious, fresh, and unique. I could go on, but the bottom line is that the broken foot is no fun, the delays are crazy and irritating, but Z&H is going to fantastic. I think there is some sort of lesson here...

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Ugliest Door in the World...is gone.

Today 'The Ugliest Door in the World' was consigned to the big dumpster in the sky.  We will post some before and after photos of the doors, old (read ugly) and new (read bright and inviting). It is amazing that it takes five men nearly eight hours to install a commercial door set, but the results are excellent. Next up, the ceiling.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

And about the website...

Our fantastic website developer has assured me that we will have the first phase of our website up and running soon. It will not having movies or dancing bears, but it will be informative and functional (with a strong design sense).

Nicoise, Picholine, Lucque.....

Mmmmmm. We have formalized our deli offerings over the past couple of weeks. It is an interesting and delicious mix (with some unusual and unique offerings). Work continues in the store, and with each day the progress is more tangible. Also, as a reminder, if there are any suggestions for products we are very interested in hearing new ideas. Finally, we have been invited to attend the 53rd Street TIF meeting this coming Monday, I think that we are going to be introduced as a new, local-resident owned and operated business in our community. If you can make the meeting we would happy to talk food.

Friday, May 2, 2008

HVAC and Duct Work

An interesting piece of trivia, one of the few things duct tape is not good for is taping and sealing duct work. We have been graced by the presence of our HVAC guy, and we will be moving forward on that important work this coming Tuesday. We have to rotate the entire HVAC unit (oddly, the people who originally installed it have it in such a way as not to be accessible for service. Strange.) and we will install actual fixed duck work (as opposed to what was in the space, that horrible flexible duct). It is clear to us now that our goal of opening in May will be foiled. The City has conspired to delay us with the many layer of bureaucracy that are seemingly impossible to move through in an efficiant manner. These delay snowball into affecting the scheduling of contractors and then the timeline is shot. We are targeting sometime in June now, the planning that has gone into Z&H will be reflected by the MarketCafe you will experience. It will exceed your expectations. You have our pledge.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A flour superior to King Arthur?

One of the interesting discoveries at the Specialty Food show was a excellent new line of flour. We will be test baking this new flour against King Arthur to see each flour properties and how the new flour works in the kitchen. If we find that this new flour is a better product we will be carrying it in the MarketCafe and it will be incorporated into Sam's signature cookies. You have not heard about Sam's cookies? You will love these cookies.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

conduit, glorious conduit

If we were to take a step back, and just watch ourselves doing a little jig as we watch the electrician installing conduit, we would laugh, but we would keep on doing our jig. Progress is a good thing. A weekend of menu development is planned as well as prep work for the Specialty Food Show that is coming up. Finally, we have forged a relationship with the Spice House, and will be offering a range of their products as well as our own spice blends using their spice as our raw material. The Z&H crouton mix is incredible (I find myself using for other purposes).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Team Tati

Had a nice exchange with the fine folks over at Tati Cycles. They have a new space and are developing a new Team and we are going to try and work with them however we can. Hyde Park is a small town that happens to be located in a big city, and we need to be supportive of the quality that we have in our midst. And who doesn't love a fine bike?

Z&H website..."Coming Soon"

We had an excellent meeting last night with our website developer and were able to refine our ideas into practical concepts that will be reality on our site. Functional, infomative, clean, and attractive. So, another coming soon, www.zhmarketcafe.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Electricity...a fine thing

Such a simple thing, such a good thing. Our electrician was in today; we have many electrical needs. I can't really believe I use the term "three-phase" conversationally. I much prefer to talk coffee, cheese, or even Parma ham. We have begun interviewing for our staff positions and welcome applications if you know of anyone with a love of food, beverage, service, and hard work.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Zoning, and why it is important in everyday life

Today, Monday, was a break-through day. We have been fencing with The City of Chicago Department of Zoning for a few week. It is a medium-long, incredibly crazy (seemingly typical) story of how Chicago works. The sort of it is that we were able to finally get zoning stamps on our plans so that we can move forward. The core of the issue was that the City did not understand that retail commerce had been occurring for more than 80 years in a retail storefront
at 1126 East 47th Street. Hmmmm. Well, at about 10:50AM this morning something happened in the Zoning office and our (need I say fantastic) architecture plans were given the red stamp of approval. On an even more positive note is that our major equipment was delivered this past week and it is terrific to see the equipment in the space. 16 feet of deli case, multiple refrigeration and freezer units, sandwich table, and all the rest. Additionally, we presented at a community meeting about our plans and concerning our seeking a license to sell wine. The meeting went very well and we are excited about the interest in the MarketCafe and the relationship we are developing with our neighborhood. What a great day.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bread glorious Bread

Bread is important. Our search for a terrific to offer in our MarketCafe has led us in some interesting directions. The search continues. One interesting issue is that very few bakeries on the north side of Chicago deliver down to the wilds of Kenwood/Hyde Park. The search continues.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


A nice surprise today, the framing of Z&H has begun. It is great to smell new lumber. The rep from the company that our front door will come from was also in the space today, measuring. The new front door set will redefine the appearance of the store. An actual retail 'face lift'.We also met with our coffee roaster Intelligentsia today, they are excellent people with an excellent product. 

Saturday, March 8, 2008

An easy decision.....Intelligentsia Coffee

We will be featuring Intelligentsia Coffee at Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe. This is perhaps the easiest decision we will make for Z&H. With the experience we gained from our previous business, Intelligentsia is a perfect fit for us. They roast the best coffee available (Direct Trade trumps 'fair trade' every time), they roast every day in Chicago in vintage German machines, and the coffee taste spectacular. Can you tell we love Intelligentsia Coffee. We will be offering Intelligentsia at our espresso and coffee bar as well as on the shelf in the Market. We won't be offering any other brands. Since we know they are the best why would we offer something not as good?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Demo Done

Today the last piles of plaster dust were consigned to the dumpsters of time....melodramatic? Yes. The naked space looks fantastic. As fantastic as a 1750 square foot, backward C shaped space with 15 foot high ceilings can look (photos will be posted once we download them out of the camera). The next step is to get the city permit posted in the front window so construction work can begin. The architect (who is great) and Ziggy, our contractor (who has always been great, and is nearly like family) are hard at work acquiring the permit. So at this stage everything is falling into place. We have found an excellent solution for the ceiling. We have decided on the floor, we just need to select the tile colors. The aesthetics of our MarketCafe are fixed and will be a departure for Hyde Park. I think our customers and neighbors will be happily shocked as how nice the space is going to turn out.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

And then the ceilings came down...

Wow, 80-plus years of debris piling up on top of a ceiling that was dropped 6 feet (the Z&H space has original ceilings 15 feet high, due to the addition of plumbing for the apartments located above the MarketCafe and later the addition of air conditioning and furnace stuff for our space, the ceiling was dropped down to 9 feet) creates a huge mess when you remove said ceilings. Removing these ugly, heavy (2x4, 1x4, plywood) dropped ceilings, aside from creating a huge pile of junk, exposes the beauty of this old retail space. Some of the original, turn-of-the-century electrical fixtures had been entombed in the ceiling. We are going to raise most of the ceiling to 10 feet and have the ceilings in front portion of the space raised up to 13 feet. It will create a nice atmosphere for being surrounded by delicious food and beverages.
But at the heart of the matter is a lot of dirty, dirty work. Fun, but dirty.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Introducing the Z&H staff Dietitian

A feature that we will offer at Z&H is a regular opportunity for our customers to consult with a licensed Dietitian. Rebecca Stevens, in addition to being one of our dearest friends, is a dedicated Dietitian with a common-sense approach to diet and nutrition. One facet of Z&H is a focus on sustainable, local and regional items. Quality, not quantity. You will learn where your food comes from; the farmers, the artisans who craft the foods, to the champions of traditions that still thrive, if you only take the time to find them.

Product Selection

As we move forward with our construction we continue to refine our product selection. It is fun and challenging to build and groom our product list to create the family of products we will offer. Key aspects of the MarketCafe are the service level and knowledge of our staff, the comfortable nature of our space, and, equally important the variety of our products. Every product we will offer has been or is being discussed and reviewed, to insure each item is the best product we can offer in a category and/or the best quality value in a category. It is easy to say (but in this case it is true) you will never have experienced a Market quite like ours. We will continue to seek out the best and most interesting (and delicious) items for you to discover at Z&H MarketCafe. As we get closer to open we will highlight some of our favorites here on the blog, and continue to post new items we add to our mix.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

And the walls came down...

We have been making progress. the blue carpet is history, the wood trim - that 'trimmed' everything, is history, the ceiling tiles are gone, and the walls began to come down today. There is a basic pleasure in removing the old and creating a new space. The transformation has begun.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Coming Soon...

It may seem like a small thing, but it is a relief to seem the 'Opening Spring 2008' signs in the windows.

Out With the old...

Architects. I never thought that architects would have such a impact on my life. Alas, in Chicago, architects are one of the gate-keepers for the permit process. Permits. Every other facet of the process of opening a retail business in Chicago is straight forward and manageable, and linked to permits. Without permits there is nothing. I am fairly sure that the permit process was handed down to the leaders of our city by the ancient Aztec culture, as it is mysterious and involves animal and human sacrifice....ok, no sacrifices, but it is oddly mysterious.

We have now met with a few architects and are waiting to see some proposals, and we have also moved forward on some of the removal of old materials in the space - drop ceiling, carpeting, glass wall partitions, doors, and other odd and ends.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The search ends....the construction process begins

We signed the lease for the 1126 East 47th Street space on December 20th, 2007. The sweet, sweet, music of the pen on paper brought a nearly year long process to an end. Living in the neighborhood, we love the Bronzeville/Grand Boulevard/Kenwood area, but the lack of suitable retail space has been a challenge. We are excited with our location and the opportunities to serve our community with a level of service and quality that will be a refreshing surprise. This blog will serve as a place where you can check on our progress and hopefully share with us ideas that you may have for a specialty neighborhood grocery that we sincerely hope becomes a place that our neighbors view as their place. We put up the paper on the windows today and the 'coming soon' signs should go up tomorrow. Lots to do, progress makes us smile.