by Mike Siroky
You can open your delicatessen and have success or you can open your heart and have success beyond business.
Good to Go by Lucrezia has done both.
Good to Go by Lucrezia is a Chesterton deli, specialty market, a tasting emporium specializing in Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars, a wine and craft beer shop and has a selection of eats from neighboring Lucrezia Café to go.
To assist the Susan G. Komen Foundation in its fight against breast cancer, Good to Go by Lucrezia is selling pink pour spouts for the olive oil and vinegar. They cost $5 each.
“One hundred percent of the profits go to Komen,” said store manager Joyce Stauffer.
They had an initial order of 100 spouts, but expect to reorder and send more than $500 to Komen.
It’s just another example of good corporate citizenship for Good to Go by Lucrezia.
“This is the first year it was available and we intended to do it every year,” Stauffer said.
“We welcome the opportunity. We’ve always had pour spouts in gold and silver. They said we could donate a portion of the profits and we went with the 100 percent donation.
“It has had a good response, with a number of people coming in just to buy them after hearing about it.”
As with many good deeds, the unexpected benefits have been rewarding.
“On the first day we got them in, as I was putting them out, one of our neighbors, a good customer came in. I noticed she had the signs of chemo – losing her hair – and, until that moment, I did not even know she was fighting breast cancer.
“I looked at Nada (Karras, with whom she operates the deli) with a questioning look in my eye and she nodded yes.”
She has since noted all the people who fight the good fight against the insidious disease.
“On the CBS Morning Show, I saw a guy telling how he had fought to become a chef,” Stauffer said. “I know it is hard in this business to outwork anyone else, but that is what he did. He started in the kitchen as a dishwasher and worked up to being a chef.
“He now had a four-star restaurant in Chicago. He had struggled to become a chef. Then he found out he had tongue cancer. He fought that as well. He said if anyone hears he’s gonna die, you just fight it. He applied the same set of principles to fighting cancer that he had to becoming a chef and he beat it. It is a sense of wonder to see all those people who fight this. If we can be a small part of it . . .”
Chicago chef Grant Achatz runs his restaurant, Alinea. The orginal diagnosis endangered his sense of taste and his ability to speak and swallow. Most experts said the only solution was to remove 75 percent of his tongue and his taste buds.
But University of Chicago Medicine oncologist Everett Vokes prescribed a new combination approach of chemotherapy and radiation to treat the cancer. If the first-line therapy worked, Achatz would not require surgery — saving his tongue and taste buds.
That’s the kind of research Stauffer hopes to support.
The deli is the brainchild of Mike and Nada Karras, who own and operate the successful Lucretia Restaurant on the shared site in Chesterton.
“This is an Italian deli,” Stauffer said. “We have a wine shop. We have an oil and vinegar shop, with 50 varieties. They are made by a small producer and are the real thing. The wines are really great wines we can get through the restaurant, wine you cannot buy in a liquor store.”
The deli meats and cheeses are also a real exception. They stock on the Boar’s Head brand,
“It is very well-known,” Stauffer said. “No fillers, no artificial flavors, no trans fats, no byproducts.
“It’s the healthiest you can eat. It has been a leader in quality since the early 1900s. When we were interviewing vendors, they kept saying, ‘Well, we’re like Boar’s Head.’ So we decided why not just get Boar’s Head when we opened in July 2010.”
They also offer a fresh-made Sandwich of the Day and some carryout menu items, always changing, from the restaurant.
“I make the sandwich myself, so I know it’s delicious,” Stauffer said. “I’m a cheese monger myself, so to have cheeses from around the world is great.”