The owners of Nana’s New York Deli hope to bring a little bit of New York City to Route 14 in Crystal Lake, with sandwiches, soups and more inspired by America’s largest city.
Dan Bailenson and Tammy Bailenson of Woodstock said they planned to open the restaurant this week at 6220 Northwest Highway.
The husband-and-wife duo previously owned Mardi Gras Sandwich Shop in Woodstock, with three locations: one on the historic downtown Square, one at the McHenry County Courthouse and one at the water park.
After selling Mardi Gras, the Bailensons got out of the restaurant business for a while.
But through the Mardi Gras Sandwich Shop, the Bailensons got a lot of followers in the McHenry County area who convinced them to return.
“We've seen them at grocery stores, and they've been asking us to come back,” Dan Bailenson said. “So we came back.”
Nana’s New York Deli is on both Instagram and Facebook. In a matter of two weeks, about 200 people started following their Facebook page.
The restaurant will offer carryout, delivery and curbside pickup.
Along with signature items, such as the chicken salad from their Woodstock restaurant, tuna salad and homemade matzo ball soup, Dan Bailenson said they also plan on having two New York staples: corned beef and pastrami.
“Corned beef and pastrami is such a huge item in New York,” Dan Bailenson said. “So we just wanted to bring that idea here. “
All sandwiches are going to have at least a half pound of meat – and some even have up to a pound.
“New York is known for the size of their sandwiches,” Tammy Bailenson said.
With the opening … of their new restaurant, Tammy Bailenson said it feels “overwhelming” right now.
“But it’ll be worth it,” Tammy said.
Both Tammy and Dan Bailenson said they couldn’t have made it this far without help from family and friends.
Some close friends created their menu boards for them, and their daughter and son-in-law helped build a sign and case for Nana’s. The Bailensons’ other daughter and son-in-law helped with plumbing and painting, and Dan’s sister drew a picture of a giant sandwich on the wall.
A picture of their six grandchildren is right next to the cash register, and their 12-year-old son even has a sandwich named after him. It’s called “Dante’s Deluxe,” and comes with corned beef, lettuce, onion, mayo and mustard on rye bread.
“We've been in this area for 30 years,” Dan Bailenson said. “We've met a lot of people along the way, and everybody was really gung-ho about it, helping us when we needed it.”
For more information, call 815-893-3354.