• Julia Thiel
  • Cleetus Friedman at City Provisions in 2011

Last night chef Cleetus Friedman announced that City Provisions, his Ravenswood deli and catering company, would close—effective immediately. No nostalgic last days of business or closeout sales here. Friedman told me over the phone today that he realized a few weeks ago that the business was was no longer sustainable, and didn’t feel the need to drag things out. Business was OK, he said, there just wasn’t enough of it. He wasn’t willing to compromise what he was doing in order to make the store more sustainable financially, so his only choice was to close.

I first met Friedman in 2011, when he was assigned bourbon for a Key Ingredient challenge. He described his creative process this way: “I took a bottle of bourbon. I opened it up. I started to sip the bourbon, and let the ideas come to mind. I didn’t even get halfway through the bottle, thank goodness, when I realized that I wanted to do some sort of meat.”