East 47th Street has had more closings than openings in recent years, but after a few exhausting months of preparation, Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe opened last month to the delight of the neighborhood. Named after a couple of the owner’s grandparents, Z&H is a small storefront grocery with a deli counter and a few tables. Owners Tim and Karen Schau have lived in the nearby Washington Park neighborhood for eight years and were tired of leaving the area for everyday items, so Tim sold his part in 57th Street’s Istria CafÃ© in favor of a new project. They invited Sam and Jess Darrigrand to join them in opening the neighborhood grocery and cafÃ©. Z&H has high expectations of itself, emphasizing locally produced foods, sustainability, and knowledgeable, neighborly service. The deli and cafÃ© are outstanding enough to cultivate fans far beyond the borders of the neighborhood.
The deli menu has all-original sandwiches and panini, as well as their take on the usuals, complete with endearing names. To give you an idea, the “Jamon, Jamon” sandwich contains Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, quince paste, Dijon mustard, mixed greens and roasted tomato and tastes at least as incredible as it sounds. The garlic bread soup–sautÃ©ed garlic, pancetta, and onions in chicken broth with a big piece of day-old bread–revealed just how bland other chicken broths can be.
One of the most exciting features of the cafÃ© is certainly the high-tech Clover machine. The Clover 1s is a single-cup coffee brewing machine whose manufacturer brags (and to which I can attest) that it releases the subtle characteristics of each type of bean better than any other brewing method. The citrus of the Nicaraguan Flor Azul and the herbal notes of the Ethiopian Yrgacheffe are instantly apparent. For a mere $11,000, you too can own one of these magical machines–if you can find one, that is. Z&H managed to obtain Chicago’s fourth Clover just three days before the company was bought out. Starbucks felt threatened by them and snatched them all up along with the company itself. It’s a shame since, as Tim explained as the Clover gurgled and slurped, unlike the hospitable staff at Z&H, no one at Starbucks can take the time to chat while preparing the gadget’s enhanced coffee.