Have a Halal of a time at Pete’s Market, and meet women too

Have a Halal of a time at Pete’s Market, and meet women too

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Pete’s Fresh Market opened a new store in Bridgeview recently that offers the widest range of fresh deli salads and buffets, the largest I have ever seen. And I love grocery stores.

By Ray Hanania

RayHanania155x130I love food, especially from the Middle East. That’s one reason why I spend so much time meandering around grocery stores aimlessly, admiring the food.

When I learned Pete’s Fresh Market was holding a Grand Opening this week for their new “super grocery store” in Bridgeview at 10280 S. Harlem Avenue, I had to check it out for myself.

All I can say is Wow!

Since I am constantly weight conscious, I am always hunting for fresh salads and deli foods to fill my lunches during the day. And, for you single men, the grocery store is the best place to meet women. Maybe I go there to reminisce, who knows?

Pete’s Fresh Market had everything you could possibly imagine. I’ve never seen a store that big and with so much. It has nearly a dozen separate deli buffet stands where you can pick whatever you want.

There was the olive buffet section where you could pick a dozen or more olive varieties with dressings and spice.

Pete's Fresh Market Deli Buffet

They had several salad bars. Not one, several. I quickly filled a plastic container with tabouli (Middle Eastern diced salad with cracked wheat) and also Jerusalem Salad (diced cucumbers and tomatoes with a sesame seed paste called Tahini) and a Greek salad with Greek cheese chunks.

OK. I wasn’t thinking about my weight during this excursion. But so what? Don’t I get to enjoy life once in a while?

The deli sections lined the back (west side) of the massive store, and it stretched in sections all the way around the wall and aisles. They even had a section of homemade Gelato – specialty, great tasting Italian ice creams.

The assortment of deli and salad bar sections included a Salad Bar, a Taquería, a Cheese Island, a Juice Bar, an Olive Bar, a Royale Liquors section, the Lotus Café, a Ceviche Bar, Fresh Baked Pizza, fresh Fish Fry, Gelato ice cream, a Halal Meat Department (Halal is like Kosher), outdoor seating, a Smokehouse, an Organic food

Pete's Fresh Market Deli Buffet

section, a wide range of Hot Foods, a Sushi Bar, and a Wine & Beer Bar.

The surprise for me is that the Middle East meat pies that were among the many hot deli foods (chicken, meat loaf and so much more) and, they were made with lamb. With the cost of lamb skyrocketing these days, many ethnic stores that produce Middle East specialties and Middle East restaurants are using hamburger as a replacement for the lamb chunks in their selections like “meat pies” and “kibbeh” a football looking delicacy stuffed with lamb and wrapped in a deep fried bulghur wheat (go to Ziyad.com to figure out what that is).

The Bridgeview store is Pete’s Fresh Market’s 11th store in the Chicagoland area. They’re opening two more in Oak Brook and Willowbrook in the coming months. That’s not just a lot of great food but a massive contribution to the region’s employment.

I met the owners many years ago when they owned a store on Chicago’s southside, Pete’s Produce. It’s nice to see them come a long way and be so successful. Their story is the American Story. Immigrants from Greece who came to this great country and did well.

In truth, it shows that America has done well.

Pete's Fresh Market Deli Buffet

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. He is President/CEO of his own media consulting company. Reach him at rghanania@gmail.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania