New stores sprout near Chicago’s suburban train stations

Dashing commuters prove prime market for take-out: new stores sprout near Chicago’s suburban train stations

Carolyn Walkup

Dashing commuters prove prime market for take-out

CHICAGO — Take-out is booming near commuter train stations in Chicago’s suburbs, as suburbanites who work downtown seek convenient meals they can pick up on their way to and from their jobs.

Several operators have opened new take-out businesses or expanded existing ones in the suburbs. Some are providing prepared dinners in micro-wave and conventional oven containers, along with accompaniments from wine through dessert.

Club Deli’sh a new take-out store directly across from the train station in Arlington Heights, sells salads, deli sandwiches, soups, and entrees. Its on-premises bakery specializes in muffins and other breakfast items to go with its fresh-ground coffees, said co-owner Sherry Flangel.

Surma’s, a 42-year-old family-owned restaurant in Homewood, has just expanded its carryout section and added a new breakfast bar. Dinners to go include daily specials, such as poached salmon, chicken piccata, and stuffed peppers.

Commuters passing through the Aurora Transportation Denter don’t even have to leave the station to buy take-out dinners they order in advance from Dick’s Vending Service. “We can made anything you want to pick up to take home,” said Pete Bakala, general manager.

Some established restaurants have long served commuters but are seeing an increase in demand fro prepared dinners. Patisserie of Arlington in Arlington Heights, noted for its extensive bakery line, now makes from 16 to 20 salads daily, as well as lasagna, fried chicken, and many other entrees.

In Glencoe, Harry’s Delicatessen has been serving full breakfasts, deli foods, and dinners for about 30 years. About 40 percent of Harry’s business today is take-out, said Michael Horns.

Glencoe residents may also order dinners in advance from An Apple a Day and Foodstuffs, the latter a combination specialty food store, bakery, deli, and catering business. Rotating daily specials include a soup, a sauce, one or two entrees, and three or four salads.

An Apple a Day requires advance notice for prepared dinner entrees. The take-out store and catering business also offers breakfast and lunch items.

Club Deli’sh operators are finding that breakfast customers frequently buy lunch items to take to work with them. Some of the most popular cold lunch foods are a club sandwich containing turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado on whole wheat and three salads: Julienne, spinach, and seafood Louis.

Most of Club Deli’sh’s entrees are rotisserie-roasted meats and poultry or baked dishes, all of which reheat easily.

Local residents have responded enthusiastically to her new business, Flangel said, bearing out her theory that working couples and singles were looking for this type of take-out store in a convenient location.

Most of these units have set their hours to coincide with commuters’ schedules, from about 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Many also have group catering services.

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