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City Provisions Has Closed

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jan 29, 2013 2:30PM

Photo by Christina Noel.

A small shock wave rippled through the Chicago food scene yesterday evening when Cleetus Friedman, the owner of City Provisions, announced that he'd be closing the deli effective immediately. Friedman cited financial difficulties as the reason and gave no indications of his future plans.

In a statement, Friedman explained the closing.

While I gave everything I had every day of the week to all of my staff, vendors, and guests, in the end I found that sustainability - an undying commitment to what that means - wasn't sustainable. While it looked great from the outside, on the inside we faced many challenges. The praise that hangs on my wall and the Internet speaks to my passion, and that will never change.
I could have bought different milk. Different eggs. I could have used non eco-friendly parchment paper. I could sent everything to landfill. I could have used an inferior product. I could have had a Sysco truck deliver my food and have one person work a deep fryer and microwave. I consciously chose to do things one way. Maybe I was stubborn. I was committed to doing what I believed to be the right thing.
Real food takes not just passion, but labor. And these numbers add up. The fact is, I put the same level of ingredients and labor into a sandwich, chips and pickle that my colleagues are putting into a $25 entree. Perhaps we, as a community, are not prepared to take on the challenge of a $15 - $20 lunch ticket, but I know I tried to do it the best way, true to my ideals and focused on creating the best product possible.

We at Chicagoist have a long connection to City Provisions. We were there for the opening, made charcuterie, experienced the most amazing farm dinner ever, joined them for family-style supper, were brunch regulars and tasted every collaboration beer and wine that came out. Friedman, his employees and his business will most definitely be missed.