By Jolene Ketzenberger
Regina Mehallick, who opened the highly regarded R bistro 13 years ago at 888 Massachusetts Ave., will be opening a carry-out market at 1101 N. College Ave., a building that was built in 1927 and is currently undergoing renovation. Erin Kem, Mehallick’s longtime sous chef at R bistro, will take over as executive chef at the restaurant.
“Sometime in July the transition is going to happen,” said Mehallick. When the restaurant reopens after its annual Fourth of July holiday, she will turn her attention to the market in anticipation of a September opening. “That’s why I have to step away from R bistro.”
To be called R2GO, the new market will stock deli meats and cheeses, homemade chicken stock, tomato sauce, meatballs and meals to go, said Mehallick.
She’ll also have a small freezer section as well as fresh produce and a selection of jarred and tinned items. A counter area will offer small number of seats, she said, for those ordering sandwiches or salads. Food will be prepared in the market’s commercial kitchen.
Unlike Goose the Market, the butcher shop and specialty market at 2503 N. Delaware St. that also offers a small sandwich menu, Mehallick won’t be carrying raw meats or wine and beer.
R2GO will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday. While Mehallick said she is looking forward to not working evenings, “I’m a little skeptical about leaving the kitchen,” she said. “That’ll be a hard thing.”
Mehallick, who will remain as owner of the award-winning R bistro, which recently eliminated lunch service, expects to still be in and out of her restaurant office. “And I’ll be here in the evenings to talk to customers,” she said.
The menu will continue to change weekly, said Kem, and the restaurant will maintain its focus on using local seasonal ingredients.
“I can’t envision any real big changes,” she said. “Maybe more of my family favorites and ethnic favorites. More of my love of Middle Eastern foods. That’s possible.”
For Kem, who has had input into menu planning and has handled the restaurant in Mehallick’s absence, taking over as executive chef is exciting but not daunting.
“Ive been here for 10 years, so I’ve invested a lot of myself in the place as it is,” Kem said. “It’s like a natural progression.”