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Book of Jobs Part 3

IN A PICKLE

by Chris Auman

Contrary to what image the name might conjure up in your mind, the Dellwood Pickle was not a deli, it did not serve pickles and it was not located in Dellwood as such a neighborhood does not exist in Chicago. That was just name the original owners bestowed upon their restaurant. The Pickle was a small neighborhood storefront bistro popular with the locals in Andersonville. As an employee, the owner had bought the Pickle from her bosses.

I was hired to work the line which was a six burner stove with an attached flat top and a salamander grill. I cooked Alfredo sauce and pasta, blackened catfish, grilled Ahi tuna and salmon, burgers and chicken breasts. It was a fast-paced line and it felt good when it was hopping.

The Pickle opened for dinner at 5pm six days a week and did a brunch on Sunday morning. It was a comfort knowing you would never be called in to work a lunch shift or to be scheduled on a Monday ever. It was well run and things rarely went off the rails. If you got in the weeds you didn’t stay there long. This was due to the constant, calming presence of an owner who never yelled or freaked out. She also took the staff on a field strip every summer to Great America or to visit a water park or play bingo.

Of course, once I got three years in I was done. I dropped to part-time and took another part-time job at the Beat Kitchen in Roscoe Village where a couple of my bandmates and ex-Diner employees had relocated. I eventually dropped down to just the Sunday brunch shift. When brunch was over, I would ride my bike from Andersonville down to Roscoe Village to close the Beat Kitchen.

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Originally published in RW#24, 2014

RW #24

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