Don’t let the name or the giant cow hanging over the front door fool you – Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen in Lincoln Square may be a meat lover’s paradise, but this bi-level shop delivers a European escape without the trans-Atlantic flight.
More urban market than simple deli, Gene’s enables its shoppers to collect ingredients for an evening meal or staples for an afternoon picnic. Its narrow aisles and intimate check out islands don’t allow for buying in bulk. Rather, shoppers are encouraged to mingle with the produce and talk shop with the meat-smart butchers to acquire the necessities of the day.
From pork to pasta, Gene’s features some of the same items you’re likely to find at your average grocer but most of its shelf space is devoted to more European-styled staples. The ground level features select produce, dairy and baked goods but the meat really holds court. Rows of German, Polish and Hungarian sausages line the glass casings while stacks of lean lamb chops, freshly ground beef and cured ham give you a world tour in a matter of steps. Most goods are butchered or produced on site by the staff, which means knowledgeable service and fair prices.
A hike up the central stairway leads you underneath the classic Delicatessen Meyer sign, which tips a hat to the address’ previous resident. Here you’ll find colorful French jams, jars of Italian sauces, cold cans of Polish beer and a bird’s eye view to the square below.
So if your schedule doesn’t allow for springtime in Paris or summer sipping at a beer garden in Munich, savor the shelves at Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen and create your own European holiday.
Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen: 4750 N Lincoln Ave., Chicago. www.genessausageshop.com