My turn

Overflowing with good food, good hearts

2012-12-26T00:00:00Z Overflowing with good food, good heartsJennifer Pallay Times Columnist
December 26, 2012 12:00 am  • 

It’s always uplifting to learn that one of your favorite businesses also invests its energy into its community.

My co-workers and I love grabbing lunch from Bergstein’s NY Deli, 200 Dixie Highway in Chicago Heights. They have amazing sandwiches, soups and salads. But not only do they care about making the most amazing chicken salad on the planet, they also care about others as I found out during a phone interview with William Davis, one of the deli’s owners and managers.

The deli staff members are always looking for ways to get involved, he said. “We really like being part of the community.”

After trying events like trivia night and game night, they finally found a great fit with their open mic night, hosted by Matt Bailey. It takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. every other Thursday. The next one will be Thursday. All ages can come mingle and enjoy the entertainment. Bailey, who is a local music teacher, brings a great fan base of his students, Davis said. With the help of Bergstein’s managers Jon Friedman and Josh Widen, the night has become popular and turned into something folks look forward to.

“It’s unique because it’s all ages,” Davis said, noting that a 10-year-old guitarist may be followed by a local band that writes its own music.

Other creative types also create buzz at Bergstein’s, which allows local artists to set up displays of their artwork. They would love to have more artist showcases, Davis said, and are looking for locals to participate.

The involvement doesn’t stop there. Bergstein’s has also sponsored a local Little League team and does what it calls lox box fundraisers, where local temples can make extra money by selling boxes of Bergstein’s delicacies.

The deli’s food truck, which takes excursions to downtown Chicago, does more than just serve great sandwiches to business people. Earlier this year, the truck helped Ryan Garcia, whose blog,, documents his 366 days of random acts of kindness. Berstein’s contacted him to help and took him out on the truck to hand out 300 chicken noodle soups to homeless people in Chicago.

The food truck also participated in a contest benefiting Meals on Wheels. Time magazine columnist Joel Stein, whose book tour is sponsoring nationwide food truck contests, presented a $3,000 check to Meals on Wheels in Bergstein’s name. The deli won for the best pairing of a wine and a food truck item. Davis said their Bensonhurst sandwich, which is pastrami, corned beef and melted Swiss on rye, won because they kept it simple and went with what they do best.

For more information on the deli and its menu and food truck, visit Friend them on Facebook to learn about upcoming open mic nights.


The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at

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