Sad News in Chicago, City Provisions is Closed

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by Maction, Jan 29, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Maction

    Maction Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Sad news. Yesterday, City Provisions Delicatessen closed its doors forever.

    City Provisions not only made superior food, but Cleetus' brewing collaborations with Dark Horse, Greenbush, Metropolitan, Finch's, and other great lakes breweries yielded some incredible beers. Sarsaparilla Six Stout was an insanely good dessert beer. [Edit: the beer collabs will continue! See below.]

    For those who never made it to the deli, Cleetus was was more than the visionary behind City Provisions. He was the face of the business as well. Every time I dined there, he visited my table to chat about the food, beer, sports, or whatever. And he didn't just do that for me, he made it a point to visit every customer.

    Below is the text from an e-mail sent to those on the City Provisions mailing list. It seems like his vision was not currently economically sustainable. I hope that as time rolls on, more people will be willing to spend a little extra for real, sustainable, locally sourced, and painstakingly prepared food.

    I'll miss City Provisions, and wish Cleetus the best in his future endeavors.


    As of Monday January 28th I am closing the City Provisions Delicatessen.

    I guess there is something to be said about committing to a mission. And perhaps there is a reason why there is nothing like City Provisions.

    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.

    I made many connections and fostered many relationships that led to great things, which is has always been part of my purpose. I love and have been embraced by the Ravenswood community-but this location simply does not produce the type of foot traffic a business like City Provisions needs to be financially viable.

    I cannot fail to mention how amazing, supportive, and committed my entire staff has been. I also want to thank the our guests, from the regulars to those who came in yesterday for the first time.

    I have no doubt that my next step will parlay all I have learned and turn into a great move. I fully intend to continue the brand I have built for myself by supporting the local food movement, coming up with unique collaborations, and sharing my Farm Dinner series.

    As the future unfolds, I plan to keep pushing the boundaries of the local food movement and keeping you excited about the the world I am living stay tuned.

    I thank you all for your undying support and look forward to informing you of the next steps.

    Cleetus Friedman
    CP for life
  2. nickMB

    nickMB Disciple (310) Nov 17, 2009 Illinois

    the brewing collaborations and farm dinners will continue, but it is a bummer for sure!!! He'll eventually find a new home in a part of town with foot traffic.
  3. Maction

    Maction Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for pointing that out. That's certainly a ray of light in the gloom.
  4. cadaugherty

    cadaugherty Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    As a matter of fact City Provisions next beer collab is tapping at Haymarket this Thursday. It is a spiced Imperial Red Ale.
    Jkoeneman likes this.
  5. DarkMagneto

    DarkMagneto Initiate (176) Apr 17, 2007 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I feel like location was a big downfall of City Provisions.
  6. jbecke2

    jbecke2 Initiate (198) Oct 22, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Very sad news indeed but we all know Cleetus will prevail.

    Best of luck Cleetus!
  7. foobula

    foobula Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2009 Illinois

    I went there a few times. The first was to try the Sarsaparilla Six after having had the other 5 DH stouts. They seemed pretty surprised a guy from the burbs would drive to their little place just for a beer. Went back a few times for Sunday brunch & a delicious Aquavit Bloody Mary. Sad to hear of CP's demise but I'm confident Cleetus will land on his feet.
  8. technogeek

    technogeek Initiate (0) Jan 30, 2013 Illinois

    It looks like Cleetus will be at Haymarket in Chicago tomorrow (1/31) from 6pm to close. It looks like they may have done some sort of collab?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.