In March of 1972, two young immigrant brothers from a small farm village in Malopolskie, Poland, John and Gene Luszcz, opened a small neighborhood deli specializing in homemade smoked sausage and other Polish delicacies. Drawing upon their family’s sausage-making recipes and smoking techniques, John & Gene’s on West Roscoe Street, gained almost instant popularity and a loyal clientele catering to the largely Polish Chicago neighborhood anchored by St. Ladislaus church. For 8 successful years John and Gene personally served and greeted hungry customers providing a taste of “home” to the local community.
In 1980, in need of additional space, the store moved to nearby Belmont Avenue where it operates today as Gene’s Sausage Shop & Deli. Gene’s famous life-size sculpture of a cow which dominates the outdoor sign welcomes Gene’s Sausage Shop customers to its 20,000 square feet of 40 types of smoked sausages, fresh meats, prepared foods and European imported specialties. The artisan handmade sausages are made fresh on-premise every day by traditional sausage-makers from Europe, and fresh meat is served up the old-fashion way, cut straight out of the meat cooler by trained butchers. Gene and his wife, Alice, have gained national media attention for their delicatessen and have been featured on the Frugal Gourmet Show, 190 North, Taste, Fox News and numerous publications.
2009 marks Gene’s Sausage Shop’s 37th Anniversary as well as the beginning of a new chapter in its history. A second full range European market opened September, 2009 in Chicago’s Lincoln Square area occupying the old space of Delicatessen Meyer, a 53 year German-American institution which closed in 2007.