“Customers wait for it to return each year. It sort of signifies the unofficial start of summer.” – Molly Pesich, owner of Brown Bag Delicatessen

In 2004, Molly Pesich was contemplating leaving the restaurant industry to follow in her father Ned Merkle's footsteps toward a real estate career when her mom called with another idea. The Brown Bag Delicatessen, a German Village staple since its inception as Big and Little Luke's Corner Store in the '70s, was up for sale. Having been a Brown Bag customer while living in the neighborhood, Pesich jumped at the chance to “make the kind of food I love, and have my hands in everything.” That included adding more seating to give the space more of a café feel in addition to the previous grab-and-go focus.

Thirteen years later, Pesich still loves carrying on the tradition of this neighborhood staple, as well as having the flexibility to dream up new menu items that include daily specials and seasonal favorites, like the Summer Corn Salad. “Customers wait for it to return each year. It sort of signifies the unofficial start of summer,” Pesich says. “We keep it as long as the corn lasts, often into September.”

The salad pairs perfectly alongside the signature Village Addiction—a truly addictive sandwich of turkey, Havarti and cranberry mayonnaise on grilled sourdough. Or if you're lucky enough to visit midweek for the Wednesday special, the salad goes well with Granny Merkle's Beef Brisket sandwich, which features a carefully guarded recipe for homemade spicy mustard. Either combination makes a wonderful picnic at Schiller Park, just one block away. And now you can bring along Pesich's version of a corn Caprese salad to all of your summer parties.

Serves: 8

Total Time: Approximately 20 minutes

Ingredients:

8 ears fresh corn 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved 2 cups fresh mozzarella ovaline, cubed 12-16 large basil leaves, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil Pinch of sugar Salt and pepper

Instructions:

In a large pot, bring lightly salted water to a boil.

Cook corn in boiling water for 5 minutes, until it becomes a bright yellow color. Drain and let corn cool.

In a large bowl, cut corn off the cob.

Add to the bowl grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, lime juice, olive oil and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well and enjoy!