Lisle approves grants to help Schmaltz Deli relocate from Naperville

  • Schmaltz Deli is looking to move to Lisle after 16 years in Naperville.

    Schmaltz Deli is looking to move to Lisle after 16 years in Naperville. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 4/9/2021 1:33 PM

Lisle residents may not have to drive over to Naperville to satisfy cravings for bagels and lox.

The village board has awarded business development grants totaling $85,000 to encourage a traditional Jewish deli to leave Naperville and move to Lisle.


In support of the move, trustees last month agreed to provide the grant funding to help Schmaltz Deli turn a vacant Ogden Avenue restaurant into a new destination for classic Jewish foods. The board sealed the deal this week with a unanimous vote.

To move forward with the building purchase and the project, Schmaltz also will seek village board approval to open a drive-through at the deli's new flagship location.

"Our decision is contingent upon just this final step, but we're making great progress with the village," Schmaltz CEO Mark Goodman said.

The village's planning and zoning commission will consider the drive-through plans, among other proposed variances, during a meeting scheduled for April 21. Trustees will get the final say.

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Goodman hopes to have a decision at a board meeting in May.

"We're very excited and hopeful that we can overcome this last hurdle, which is just needed to make this space work for us," he said.

The village won't be providing the grants up front, but will reimburse the deli's owners for some of the costs of interior and exterior renovations to the former Chinn's 34th Street Fishery, just down the street from the original Schmaltz location.

It's a challenging site to develop, Goodman told the board last month. The Chinn's building was constructed more than 40 years ago. It will require a sizable investment just to meet village building codes and DuPage County Health Department standards, Goodman said.

A rendering shows the proposed Schmaltz Deli in Lisle.
A rendering shows the proposed Schmaltz Deli in Lisle. - Courtesy of the village of Lisle

The building needs a completely new roof and fire suppression system, among other required improvements.

The board agreed to allocate a $15,000 grant from the village's retail business build-out program as well as $70,000 from Lisle's restaurant grant program, which currently calls for awarding up to $50,000 in funding.

Based on the deli's financial projections, the additional $20,000 would be recouped in sales tax revenue within about eight months of the business opening, according to village documents.

The family-owned deli is known for overstuffed corned beef sandwiches, chicken matzo ball soup, homemade cheesecakes, challah bread and other baked goods.

Moving to Lisle will allow the deli to grow an already extensive menu and serve sit-down breakfast, lunch and dinner with wait staff. Schmaltz also is looking to create a full bakery and retail grocery area.

"We're receiving tremendous support not only for the expanded services," Goodman said, "but for the changes that would be created in the service concept to offer multiple points and ways to enjoy our food and not just have everything go through one line."

As a condition of the grant program, work must begin within six months of approval and be substantially complete within a year, though the deli could request a three-month extension.

But if all goes as planned, the deli plans to be moved by the end of the year.

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