In the Neighborhood Meet Market Cafe opened in East Dundee earlier this month and its sandwiches give you a chance to learn all about the area's history while you eat.
That's because the sandwiches are named for historical figures, institutions and pillars in the Dundee and Carpentersville communities.
For example, you can order the "Doederlein," named after the East Dundee lumberyard by the same name, the "First National Bank," the first bank in West Dundee or the "Fox," named after the Fox River that runs through the communities.
"We started small and we only have 14 sandwiches on the menu," said Jeff Turner, one of the deli's owners.
It's a strategy Turner instituted 5½ years ago when he opened In the Neighborhood Deli in Elgin.
Turner owns the East Dundee eatery with wife, Megan, and business partners Candice Gillen and Toby Eshelman.
He has spent time researching the area's history and says it continues to amaze him.
Through his research, for example, he discovered that the deli's original location was Rakow's Meat Market from 1910 to 1950. That's how Turner coined the "meet market" part of the business. And he named a sandwich named after the Rakow family.
More sandwiches are forthcoming and Turner encourages patrons to come in and try their hand at creating and naming their own sandwiches.
The most popular sandwich so far? The "Otto," named after Otto Engineering, the largest employer in Carpentersville. It's a turkey, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and honey Dijon mustard sandwich on a pretzel roll.
Tom Roeser, president and chief executive officer of Otto Engineering, as well as Turner's landlord, said he's humbled Turner would "transfer the good will of the most popular sandwich to Otto."
"Jeff is a terrific guy who has integrated a good deli business plan with an understanding that you can reinvest in your customers and have unexpected rewards," Roeser said. "His community attitude may be unparalleled."
The Meet Market is at 310 N. River St., across the street from the old train depot. And yes, there's a sandwich named after the depot as well.
Lenore Adkins covers the Dundees, Carpentersville, Algonquin, Huntley, Hampshire, Sleepy Hollow, Cary, Fox River Grove and Grafton Township. To reach her, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 608-2725.