ABC Channel 7 – The Hungry Hound

  • November 14th, 2003
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The Hungry Hound: Southport Grocery and Cafe

By Steve Dolinsky

November 14, 2003 — Lakeview residents were probably wondering what happened to the old Cooney Funeral home? Shuttered for months, half the space has been reborn. It’s now home to some serious gourmet food products, as well as a casual cafe with a compact menu, featuring upscale comfort food. The “Southport Grocery and Cafe” is a welcome addition to the north Southport corridor where foodies can have a field day.

A chef puts the finishing touches on elegant ginger-carrot bisque, enriched with coconut milk, topped with frazzled beets, candied ginger and parsley. Meantime, a giant, half-chicken that’s been rubbed with thyme and garlic is oven-roasted, served next to a crock of macaroni that’s been doused with white cheddar, fontina and gruyere cheeses, then sprinkled with crunchy panko breadcrumbs.
Sounds like just another cafe in a trendy part of Lake View. But it’s much more than that.

“What I wanted to do was have fine food grocery store and cafe, so we could show people how to use some of the ingredients in the grocery store in the cafe. And have a place in the neighborhood where parents and kids feel comfortable in,” said Lisa Santos, Southport Grocery and Café.

Lisa Santos and Emily Lamb – friends from culinary school – decided to open the combination cafe-grocery store to satisfy a couple of needs in the neighborhood: there are dozens of gourmet oils, condiments and crackers. But there is also a refrigerated dairy case, with upscale items like European butter, imported cheeses and a few prepared items, like salads or sandwiches to go.

“Things to supplement dinner or hard-to-find that you might not find in a major grocery stores. So, hard-to-find baking ingredients, sauces, spices… those are the desserts that we bake. ”

They include biscotti and cookies, but also some of the most addictive, moist vanilla and chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever put into your mouth. They’re made fresh daily, and are topped with a homemade white frosting.

“We wanted to feel that no matter what time of day you come in – something light or hearty – that we could satisfy both ends.”

With all of the families in the area, they’re also satisfying picky “little” eaters. Kid’s meals are served in a sectioned-off porcelain dish with applesauce, crayons, vegetables and crustless grilled cheese. The cafe is open for lunch and dinner, and there have already been a few “regulars” who appreciate the new addition.

“Very cool, absolutely. There’s great stuff to buy off the shelves, the menu is different that’s for sure…what’d you get? Some Tuscan bean soup and a turkey sandwich,” said Marty Cerny.

The grocery and cafe are open everyday except Monday. And if you’re walking along southport, maybe heading to the Music Box to see a movie, it’s a great place to catch a quick bite.

Southport Grocery and Cafe
3552 N. Southport Ave.

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