LTH Home

  Pastoral [Cheese]

  Pastoral [Cheese]
  • Forum HomeLocked Topic BackTop
  • Pastoral [Cheese]

    Post #1 - August 19th, 2009, 4:31 pm
    Post #1 - August 19th, 2009, 4:31 pm Post #1 - August 19th, 2009, 4:31 pm
    Image

    I think there may only be one or two dedicated threads, but I would like to nominate Pastoral (both locations) as a Great Neighborhood Resource.

    Pastoral is probably the first place I name for people when they try to tell me that the northern end of Lincoln Park/southern end of Lakeview is a culinary wasteland. The original shoebox location on Broadway could have the highest quality concentration of cheese in the city. Along with an exceptionally friendly and helpful staff (that certainly encourages tasting), the whole experience to me screams GNR. Pastoral is also a must stop for me before any trip to Ravinia or Millenium Park when I know I will need a picnic. In addition to the cheese, there is always a nice selection of charcuterie and reasonably priced wine.

    Finally, one can't discuss Pastoral without discussing their sandwiches. If the Lake location were closer to my office, there's a strong chance I'd be eating Pastoral sandwiches 3 times a week. The Campagne and Canard Balsamico are two of my top sandwiches in Chicago.

    Pastoral threads here, and here.

    Various mentions here, here, here, and here (among others).

    Pastoral (Lakeview)
    2945 N Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60657
    (773) 472-4781

    Pastoral (Loop)
    53 E. Lake St.
    Chicago, IL 60601
    (312) 658-1250
    Last edited by jesteinf on August 19th, 2009, 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #2 - August 19th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    Post #2 - August 19th, 2009, 5:10 pm Post #2 - August 19th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    not only does Pastoral carry some of the finest cheeses in the world, the cheese mongers are the most knowledgeable I've found in Chicago. They're always generous with the samples, and have given me what seems like undivided attention even when the store is packed. Plenty of other interesting, high quality products, and terrific sandwiches to boot. I'm a big Pastoral fan, and enthusiastically support the nomination.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #3 - August 19th, 2009, 5:36 pm
    Post #3 - August 19th, 2009, 5:36 pm Post #3 - August 19th, 2009, 5:36 pm
    Great service, great cheeses . . . and now some of my very favorite sandwiches in the city. Pastoral is always my first (and almost always my last) stop when purchasing cheese, not only because of the phenomenal cheeses they carry, but also because they know more about the cheeses than I ever would have ever expected or demanded. I too support this great nomination.
  • Post #4 - August 19th, 2009, 7:43 pm
    Post #4 - August 19th, 2009, 7:43 pm Post #4 - August 19th, 2009, 7:43 pm
    While I am normally a brown-bagger, when I got lunch out in the Loop (as a former office was very nearby), it was almost always Pastoral. The only challenge was deciding between between the duck, ham, country pate or serrano sandwiches, all of which vie for the best sandwich in the Loop, if not beyond. Great cheeses and other comestibles as well and a place I am very sad to not have on my walk to the El. Easy Great Neighborhood Resource.
  • Post #5 - August 20th, 2009, 8:17 am
    Post #5 - August 20th, 2009, 8:17 am Post #5 - August 20th, 2009, 8:17 am
    I like Pastoral - I really do. But nearly every other city I've lived in has had several cheese/charcuterie/gourmet stuff that far surpasses Pastoral. I find Pastoral's selection quite small relative to other places. This isn't a knock on Pastoral per se, but it dials down my enthusiasm for whether it is "Great". The fact is that Chicago has very few good cheese and charcuterie options.
  • Post #6 - August 20th, 2009, 8:36 am
    Post #6 - August 20th, 2009, 8:36 am Post #6 - August 20th, 2009, 8:36 am
    Darren72 wrote:I like Pastoral - I really do. But nearly every other city I've lived in has had several cheese/charcuterie/gourmet stuff that far surpasses Pastoral. I find Pastoral's selection quite small relative to other places. This isn't a knock on Pastoral per se, but it dials down my enthusiasm for whether it is "Great". The fact is that Chicago has very few good cheese and charcuterie options.


    In the context of Chicago, and based on the enthusiasm/knowledge of the staff and the quality of what may or may not be a limited selection I would consider it Great.

    FWIW, I've never had an issue with the number of cheese options they have. The selection of other items may be limited, but I've always looked at them primarily as a cheese shop (not as a gourmet food store). The other stuff is just gravy.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #7 - August 20th, 2009, 9:00 am
    Post #7 - August 20th, 2009, 9:00 am Post #7 - August 20th, 2009, 9:00 am
    Darren72 wrote:I like Pastoral - I really do. But nearly every other city I've lived in has had several cheese/charcuterie/gourmet stuff that far surpasses Pastoral. I find Pastoral's selection quite small relative to other places. This isn't a knock on Pastoral per se, but it dials down my enthusiasm for whether it is "Great". The fact is that Chicago has very few good cheese and charcuterie options.

    I had been debating whether to post something along these same lines or not. I used to live in Lakeview, not a few blocks from Pastoral, and would often go to the Halsted WF for my cheese as I found them to have a wider selection, and the cheesemonger seemed to me just as knowledgeable and passionate about his wares as the ones at Pastoral.

    I got spoiled back in Virginia by Feast which had, in my opinion, a much broader selection of cheeses and charcuterie... and gourmet products (heavily tilted local), local produce, local dairy, in-house produced spreads, etc.

    In the charcuterie department, the last time I checked (and it has been a while, I'll admit), they weren't carrying Fra Mani or Salumi products, in my opinion two of the top domestic charcuterie producers. The selection they do offer always seemed weaker to me than Fox and Obel or Panozzo's

    Pastoral is a really nice place and I'm glad to have it nearby. That said, I'm not sure that it stands out head and shoulders above the other options in Chicago and, as Darren72 points out, it really doesn't shine against what other cities (and in the case of Charlottesville, small towns) have to offer.

    -Dan
  • Post #8 - August 20th, 2009, 9:15 am
    Post #8 - August 20th, 2009, 9:15 am Post #8 - August 20th, 2009, 9:15 am
    According to their website, Pastoral's charcuterie mainly comes from Salumeria Biellese. While this may not have the cachet of Salumi, it's certainly nothing to sneeze at.

    Pastoral is mainly focused on cheese (they refer to themselves as Pastoral: Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine), selling a limited number of products to accompany cheese. They do not hold themselves out to be a gourmet food store.

    Also, I'm not sure why we should be comparing to establishments in other cities. I mean, you can get better sushi than Katsu in other cities but that doesn't make it any less of a GNR.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #9 - August 20th, 2009, 10:02 am
    Post #9 - August 20th, 2009, 10:02 am Post #9 - August 20th, 2009, 10:02 am
    I agree that comparisons with other cities ought to be irrelevant. I do wish Pastoral had better/ more charcuterie. That said, I think they understand cheese way better than Whole Foods (which I do like for cheese, as long as you insist that they cut it from the wheel. They have way to big a selection of pre-portioned cheeses).
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #10 - August 20th, 2009, 10:16 am
    Post #10 - August 20th, 2009, 10:16 am Post #10 - August 20th, 2009, 10:16 am
    jesteinf wrote:According to their website, Pastoral's charcuterie mainly comes from Salumeria Biellese. While this may not have the cachet of Salumi, it's certainly nothing to sneeze at.

    Pastoral is mainly focused on cheese (they refer to themselves as Pastoral: Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine), selling a limited number of products to accompany cheese. They do not hold themselves out to be a gourmet food store.

    Perhaps I'm just judging it based on what I want it to be, not what it actually is aiming to be. I do love chacuterie, more so than cheese, so that probably colors my personal take.
    jesteinf wrote:Also, I'm not sure why we should be comparing to establishments in other cities. I mean, you can get better sushi than Katsu in other cities but that doesn't make it any less of a GNR.
    kennyz wrote:I agree that comparisons with other cities ought to be irrelevant.

    This is a tough one. It's hard for me not to compare a place to other, similar, establishments even if the best comparisons aren't local. Especially when a place isn't actually producing the food, but is instead curating a selection, this seems fair. To compare an Italian restaurant in Wausaw, WI against one in Florence, Italy wouldn't seem fair at all - they've got access to very different talent, ingredients, and cultural context.

    With a US cheese (/wine/charcuterie/etc) shop, they all basically have access to the same wares (with certain exceptions), and so what I end up judging is in large part the selections they've chosen. I'm not near as knowledgeable about cheese as I am charcuterie, and so my judgement here is based more on that than anything else (which to jesteinf's point, may not be a fair way to judge them).

    Again, that's just how I look at it and may not be how others, and the GNR process itself, looks at it. Marion St Cheese Market, also up for a GNR, is on my list of places yet to visit, so maybe I need to make the trip out there soon and try to reach a better local comparison.

    -Dan
  • Post #11 - August 20th, 2009, 10:35 am
    Post #11 - August 20th, 2009, 10:35 am Post #11 - August 20th, 2009, 10:35 am
    Kennyz wrote:said, I think they understand cheese way better than Whole Foods (which I do like for cheese, as long as you insist that they cut it from the wheel.

    Kenny,

    Whole Foods Peterson/Cicero has one of the best cheese men in the city, Matt Parker, formerly of the Cheese Stands Alone.

    I am a thumbs up for Pastoral GNR, I appreciate the selection of quality cheese, charcuterie, attention to detail and knowledgeable staff.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - August 20th, 2009, 10:48 am
    Post #12 - August 20th, 2009, 10:48 am Post #12 - August 20th, 2009, 10:48 am
    jesteinf wrote:Also, I'm not sure why we should be comparing to establishments in other cities. I mean, you can get better sushi than Katsu in other cities but that doesn't make it any less of a GNR.
    kennyz wrote:I agree that comparisons with other cities ought to be irrelevant.

    Just to be clear, I only mentioned the comparison of cheese and charcuterie places in other cities as background to how I've formed an opinion about Pastoral. A restaurant or resource certainly doesn't have to be among the best in the country to qualify as a GNR in Chicago. I hope I didn't give that impression.

    My thought process seems the same as dansch:

    dansch wrote:It's hard for me not to compare a place to other, similar, establishments even if the best comparisons aren't local. Especially when a place isn't actually producing the food, but is instead curating a selection, this seems fair. To compare an Italian restaurant in Wausaw, WI against one in Florence, Italy wouldn't seem fair at all - they've got access to very different talent, ingredients, and cultural context.

    With a US cheese (/wine/charcuterie/etc) shop, they all basically have access to the same wares (with certain exceptions), and so what I end up judging is in large part the selections they've chosen.


    So, just to be clear about what I mean, if I want to buy a selection of interesting cheeses and charcuterie, Pastoral would be among the places I would go, along with Juicy Wine Company. The Whole Foods on Peterson has excellent cheese also, as GWiv noted. At the same time, it is really surprising and disappointing that Chicago doesn't have as good of resources for these items as places I've been in other (smaller) cities.
  • Post #13 - August 20th, 2009, 11:39 am
    Post #13 - August 20th, 2009, 11:39 am Post #13 - August 20th, 2009, 11:39 am
    Does the Lakeview shop have a bigger cheese selection than the one in the Loop?

    The sandwiches are pretty good, though I'm not sure they are $10-11 good. Given the paucity of other alternatives downtown I would not argue against Pastoral as a GNR. This place really is a fantastic alternative for tourists wanting to grab a good lunch on the go. The wait can be annoying at times (how long does it take to make a sandwich?).

    Given my druthers I'd rather go to Graziano's for a sandwich. Pastoral IS infinitely better than Hannah's Bretzel, however.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #14 - August 20th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    Post #14 - August 20th, 2009, 12:01 pm Post #14 - August 20th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    teatpuller wrote:The sandwiches are pretty good, though I'm not sure they are $10-11 good. Given the paucity of other alternatives downtown I would not argue against Pastoral as a GNR. This place really is a fantastic alternative for tourists wanting to grab a good lunch on the go. The wait can be annoying at times (how long does it take to make a sandwich?).

    Given my druthers I'd rather go to Graziano's for a sandwich. Pastoral IS infinitely better than Hannah's Bretzel, however.


    Just a gentle FYI - jesteinf nominated Pastoral as a Great Neighborhood Resource (not Restaurant). (See here for more information on the differences between the two.) Thus, Pastoral's made-to-order food is not at issue; rather, what is at issue is its merit as a great neighborhood resource for cheese, bread, salume, wine, etc.
  • Post #15 - August 20th, 2009, 12:10 pm
    Post #15 - August 20th, 2009, 12:10 pm Post #15 - August 20th, 2009, 12:10 pm
    aschie30 wrote:
    teatpuller wrote:The sandwiches are pretty good, though I'm not sure they are $10-11 good. Given the paucity of other alternatives downtown I would not argue against Pastoral as a GNR. This place really is a fantastic alternative for tourists wanting to grab a good lunch on the go. The wait can be annoying at times (how long does it take to make a sandwich?).

    Given my druthers I'd rather go to Graziano's for a sandwich. Pastoral IS infinitely better than Hannah's Bretzel, however.


    Just a gentle FYI - jesteinf nominated Pastoral as a Great Neighborhood Resource (not Restaurant). (See here for more information on the differences between the two.) Thus, Pastoral's made-to-order food is not at issue; rather, what is at issue is its merit as a great neighborhood resource for cheese, bread, salume, wine, etc.


    Yes, I'm aware of the rules. Thanks for the FYI. I don't see much difference between bread, cheese, and salumi assembled rather than separate.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #16 - August 20th, 2009, 12:14 pm
    Post #16 - August 20th, 2009, 12:14 pm Post #16 - August 20th, 2009, 12:14 pm
    The Cheese Stands Alone was a GNR in the original pilot program, so there is precedent (even before the resources category) of cheese purveyors as GNRs.

    I'm more in favor of Pastoral for a GNResource than I am Marion Street because of its events and its backing of its mission statement with consistent product and service, which have brought both commercial success and board admiration. I'll look forward to additional comments to its LTH relevance and reverence (more than its utilitarian value given the paucity of independent alternatives).
  • Post #17 - August 20th, 2009, 12:27 pm
    Post #17 - August 20th, 2009, 12:27 pm Post #17 - August 20th, 2009, 12:27 pm
    Also, Pastoral announced yesterday that they're opening a third location:

    http://www.pastoralartisan.blogspot.com/

    We have a few multiple-location GNRs (Johnnie's, Lao Sze Chuan, La Quebrada immediately come to mind). Certificates typically only go to those locations discussed at length on the board and are not (so far) intended to be transferrable to new outposts. It would be useful to highlight if there are differences between the two existing Pastoral locations in our collective imagination - I only have personal experience with one of them. Do both have that GNR feel?
  • Post #18 - September 4th, 2009, 1:11 pm
    Post #18 - September 4th, 2009, 1:11 pm Post #18 - September 4th, 2009, 1:11 pm
    My coworkers think I'm nuts for taking the #151 bus to Pastoral (53 E. Lake location) for lunch twice this week, but their sandwiches are worth every minute of the trip. The ingredients are top-notch, service is friendly, the sandwiches are delicious, and looks on my coworkers' faces when they're eating Subway and I'm eating confit duck on a perfectly crusty baguette are priceless.

    Based on the quality of the ingredients in their sandwiches, I think it's fair to say that Pastoral more than qualifies for the Great Neighborhood Resource designation.
  • Post #19 - September 19th, 2011, 3:48 am
    Post #19 - September 19th, 2011, 3:48 am Post #19 - September 19th, 2011, 3:48 am
    This place is up for renewal of its GNR. Please post your comments here until 10/10/11.
    Steve Z.

    β€œOnly the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - September 19th, 2011, 8:51 am
    Post #20 - September 19th, 2011, 8:51 am Post #20 - September 19th, 2011, 8:51 am
    I still go to Pastoral for all of my cheese-related needs. Absolutely still a GNR.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #21 - September 22nd, 2011, 8:45 pm
    Post #21 - September 22nd, 2011, 8:45 pm Post #21 - September 22nd, 2011, 8:45 pm
    Absolutely. Every time I make it to Pastoral, I come out with several new cheeses and 100 dollars poorer. Care, knowledge and dedication is unmatched.
    Last edited by incite on September 27th, 2011, 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #22 - September 23rd, 2011, 8:29 am
    Post #22 - September 23rd, 2011, 8:29 am Post #22 - September 23rd, 2011, 8:29 am
    incite wrote:Absolutely. Every time I make it to Pastoral, I come out with a several new cheeses and 100 dollars poorer. Care, knowledge and dedication is unmatched.


    Couldn't agree more. Terrific GNR. I used to go regularly when I lived in Lincoln Park, but even now, whenever I need a few cheeses or meats Pastoral is always the first place I think of.
  • Post #23 - September 26th, 2011, 9:29 pm
    Post #23 - September 26th, 2011, 9:29 pm Post #23 - September 26th, 2011, 9:29 pm
    (I've only been to the downtown branch.) I go there for cheese, but also for their sandwiches when I'm downtown at lunch time. The service can be slow if a corporate order is in front of you, but the sandwiches are always delicious. And I enjoy their outdoor seating during the summer.
  • Post #24 - October 2nd, 2011, 4:04 pm
    Post #24 - October 2nd, 2011, 4:04 pm Post #24 - October 2nd, 2011, 4:04 pm
    They have the best selection of Stilton and similar, and always helpful staff.
  • Post #25 - October 10th, 2011, 6:23 am
    Post #25 - October 10th, 2011, 6:23 am Post #25 - October 10th, 2011, 6:23 am
    Pastoral sells some excellent and unusual cheeses and on that basis alone I'd vote for renewal. But their service is top notch and what really sets them apart from most other cheese sellers I've visited. I'm certainly no cheese expert, and I've relied upon them without failure for pairings help that could have resulted in disaster without skilled minds at play. So a hell yes for me.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more