Grilling for Fourth? Minelli’s in Niles is pleased to meat you
Rich Watermann, of Chicago, has worked since 1994 at the deli counter at Minelli's Meat & Deli in Niles. Minelli's is a family-owned business and a Niles institution. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Minelli’s Meat & Deli
SPECIALTY: Varied meats, Italian sausage, pastas, cheeses
ADDRESS: 7900 N. Milwaukee Ave.
HOURS: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues.-Fri.; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.; 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.
CONTACT: (847) 965-1315
Updated: August 27, 2012 1:47AM
Family, friends and fireworks all help to make the Fourth of July a fun holiday. And let’s not forget about food.
Minelli’s Meat and Deli, 7900 N. Milwaukee Ave., gets especially busy during the summer months because it’s the season when people love to get their grills out.
The store features specialty imported Italian food, and makes its own Italian sausage and spaghetti sauce.
Other popular products include roast beef, meatballs, salads, steaks, frozen pastas and ravioli, imported cheeses, lunch meat, beef tenderloin, prime rib, bratwurst, hamburger patties and Polish sausage. Minelli’s offers a selection of pasta sauces such as vodka and alfredo varieties.
“Right now the barbecue season is very busy,” said Lenny Minelli, noting that Christmas time is also a popular time for the shop, when people order special cuts of meat.
The store also provides hot lunches every day. Customers eat lunch in the seating area inside Oak Mill Mall.
A family business, the shop started in the 1960s with Lenny’s grandparents as a tavern in Chicago with an attached grocery store. For 38 years the store was just down the street from the current location on Milwaukee Avenue. His grandmother was still working at the business until she was 97 years old.
About five years ago Minelli’s moved to its current location. The former location also offered liquor and produce.
“It’s a great town to have a business with a good variety of ethnic people,” Lenny said.
He said Minelli’s attracts customers from Niles, Park Ridge, Chicago, Glenview, Des Plaines and elsewhere.
“Through the years we’ve done pretty well,” Lenny said.
The store’s top-notch customer service has been the key to its longevity and success, Lenny said, noting that he knows 70 percent of customers on a first-name basis.
“We provide excellent customer service with a personal touch,” Minelli said.
Jim McGuire, of Park Ridge, said: “They know who you are when you come in. They have stuff you can’t get at other places.”
McGuire said Minelli’s has high-quality products, especially at the deli counter. He also likes to buy the pork shoulder to make pulled-pork sandwiches.
Joe Trotta, of Chicago, said he’s been coming to Minelli’s “forever.” He loves to barbecue all different kinds of meat.
“They treat me like family,” Trotta said.
Lenny runs the store with his brother-in-law, Ozzie Caccavella, and his cousin, Mario Minelli. His dad, Lenny Sr., still comes in a few days a week to help out.
On June 24, Lenny Sr. was sitting by the checkout counter and chatting with customers. He said some of the customers from their original store in Chicago still come to shop at Minelli’s, including senior citizens whose children bring them by.
Lenny Jr. grew up in Niles and enjoys living and working in the village.
“Niles is great,” he said. “They offer a lot. It’s a nice, clean town.”