One Sunday in March of 1993, my husband, our 15-month-old son and I left our cooler-near-the-lake home and headed west in search of warmer temperatures. We ended up in Oak Park. In my memory, everything about that day was wonderful. It was, in fact, warmer. We drove around a bit, marveling at Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, until it was time for lunch. We headed to downtown Oak Park and found Erik’s Deli.

The restaurant was packed with families – eating, laughing, talking, relaxing. My husband and I looked at each other and he said, “Maybe we should think about moving here.” Five months later, we did and have never regretted that decision for a moment. We ate at Erik’s dozens of times over the past 16 years, and until recently, I always felt that same sense of well-being.

Jan. 1 it will close, set to reopen in a few months in a new incarnation. I’ll reserve judgment until I try the new place, but I’ll always be grateful for the role Erik’s played in bringing my family to Oak Park.

Deborah Mercer
Oak Park

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