Dick and Joan McCracken
Dick and Joan McCracken Credit: Andrea Bauer

Dick McCracken first fell in love with viande fumée, Montreal-style smoked meat (aka pastrami), when he visited the famous Montreal deli Schwartz’s back in the 80s. A “foodie at heart,” he was haunted by it over the years, going so far as to develop his own recipe. Finally, he proposed a whirlwind trip to Montreal to his wife, Joan, and on Valentine’s Day 2009 they found themselves standing in line at Schwartz’s; a 45-minute wait in the cold paid off when they snagged the last two seats at the counter. There Joan too got caught up in the romance, and that same year, when the Chicago French Market opened, the McCrackens’ stand, Fumaré Meats & Deli, opened right along with it. Now you need to get in line early at their place if you want a sandwich with the apotheosis of pastrami. House-made, hand-sliced, and served on fresh Red Hen rye with mustard on the side, it’s so good that beside it the McCrackens’ other fine meats seem like a gorgeous girl’s nice but average-looking friend. Reach the front of the line at last, sandwich in hand, and next to the cash register you’ll find a tip jar jokingly labeled “Divorce Fund.”