Love ’em or hate ’em if you haven’t had chlebíčky, the Czech open-face sandwich, then you haven’t had Czech food.
The original obložené chlebíčky have been given the gourmet treatment in Prague in recent years by a number of cafes including Sisters bistro helmed by popular Czech cookbook author Hana Michopulu.
We’ve covered the advent of the famous delicacy’s invention (see our 2011 article on chlebíčky innovator Jan Paukert and his original lahůdkářství) and, more recently, visited the Zlatý Kříž delicatessen, the oldest still-functioning deli in Prague which opened on Jungmannova Square over a century ago.
The deli serves fifty varieties of chlebíčky – ham on potato salad, Russian egg, hermelín, crab, and roast beef – all made by hand on the premises.
Zlatý Kříž owner Ivana Klinderová told us in 2016 that making chlebíčky has become something of a lost art: “We have to train people how to do it,” she said. “Those salami roses aren’t easy, making chlebíčky is a real art form.”
Klinderová also told us back then that she dreamt of bringing Czech delicatessen fare to the deli capital of the world, New York City.
Now the Associated Press is reporting that it just might happen: “Klinderova and her business partner are working on a plan to expand their business to New York. They hope to open in Manhattan once they sort out sourcing of the necessary ingredients. The precise location has not been determined.”
Klinderová told the news agency, “America is a relaxed country with many nationalities and many cultures,” adding, “The only thing it misses is the Czech sandwich.”
While open-faced sandwiches are a part of the culinary tradition in Scandinavia and elsewhere, the Czech version is known for its unique appearance and ingredients.
Czech food lovers in NYC, stay tuned!