With some dread I opened the email announcing the retirement of Ingvar and Alfhild Wikstrom, proprietors of Andersonville's Wikstrom's Gourmet Foods. Was this another sad passing of an anchor of the city's storied Swedish neighborhood? Or worse, would it be taken over by some outsider and reduced to a shadow of its former glory?
I don't think we need to worry. For 47 years the Wikstroms have been in the business of meatballs and herring, limpa and lingonberries, marzipan and Vasterbotten, and their daughter Marie isn't about to let that go. She's moving the store one block south, next door to the Swedish American Museum Center at 5217 N. Clark, and promises to expand inventory, add more cafe tables, a garden cafe out back, "hopefully" a couple parking spaces, and more prepared foods--which she's keeping a secret until the grand opening.
The old store won't close for a couple weeks, but there'll be some downtime before the new place is ready for business. In the meantime there's an open house and moving sale this weekend featuring a 30-50% discount on packaged goods, a free Swedish buffet, and lingonberry champagne.
It's this Saturday from noon to 7 PM and Sunday from 11 to 5 at 5247 N. Clark, 773-275-6100.