The former Golden Olympic restaurant on Chicago Avenue.

A test eatery, described as a “love letter to the Jewish deli,” was apparently successful enough for its owner to take over the empty Golden Olympic diner across the street and get ready to put in a permanent deli there.

Jack DeMar, who already owns Pono Ono poke restaurant and Picnic carryout, both in the 1600 block of Chicago Avenue, confirms for Evanston Now that he will be putting a deli in the vacant diner, also in the same block.

Golden Olympic was a downtown fixture dating to the 1960s. There was no word if the restaurant closed in early 2021 due to the COVID-related downturn, or for other reasons.

Fixtures inside the diner have now been removed, so it’s obvious something is happening.

Specifics as to timing, menu, decor, and name for the deli will be released in the next few weeks.

DeMar experimented with the deli concept earlier this year with a temporary pop-up, at Picnic, offering bagels and other deli staples “to go” on weekends from mid-April through mid-June.

That test deli was called “Mensch’s.”

In Yiddish, a “mensch” is an honorable person who does the right thing.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. The 4th generation of DeMars who comes by his passion for food and customer service genetically !

    One Proud Papa

  2. My Jewish husband is very excited! His Catholic wife loves her some lox. Welcome to Evanston, can’t wait!

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