Sfera brings Sicilian street food to Edgewater after years on the farmer’s market circuit
EDGEWATER — After getting its start at farmers markets and then in a ghost kitchen during the pandemic, Sfera is now launching its vision of Sicilian street food from a Broadway storefront.
Sfera opened May 11 at 5759 N. Broadway, the latest move to expand the three-year-old business.
Friends Steven Jarczyk and Daniela Vitale launched Sfera by selling their version of arancini, the Italian fried rice ball popular in Sicily, where Vitale’s family is from and where she spent part of her childhood.
“It’s a traditional Sicilian street food staple and it’s just delicious,” Vitale said. “My culture is the inspiration, but it was very [Jarczyk] and I work on it and give it a Chicago twist.
Jarczyk and Vitale met at a gymnasium in Jefferson Park and bonded over their experience with European cuisine: Jarczyk who helped open restaurants in Europe and Vitale with his Sicilian roots.
The two decided that arancini would work just as well in farmers’ markets as on the streets of Sicily. Arancini are often stuffed with vegetables or cheese – foods that are easy to get at a farmers market. Jarczyk said the couple often used other farmer’s market vendors’ items in their arancini. Sfera is Italian for “sphere”.
“It’s a great vehicle for great local cuisine,” Jarczyk said.
The friends launched Sfera and expanded to a few North Side Farmers’ Markets before the pandemic caused those events to be canceled.
To pivot, Jarczyk and Vitale moved into a ghost kitchen on the North Side, where they operated as a delivery business — but it wasn’t ideal, Jarczyk said.
“We weren’t interacting with our customers,” Jarczyk said. “We want to be a community place, where if you’re a commuter, [Sfera] is part of your morning routine.
So they started looking for a permanent location and were directed to the Broadway storefront that once housed Cookies & Carnitas.
Sfera still makes appearances at the farmers markets in Logan Square and Andersonville.
The Belonging to the LGBTQ community Sfera is open for breakfast and lunch. The company offers several espresso drinks as well as coffee and tea. It serves breakfast sandwiches including foccacia and egg fritatta. It also offers a breakfast pizza with a garlic ricotta base, bacon, mozzarella and a baked egg.
Lunch entrees include their version of a muffuletta sandwich (bologna, capicola, salami, provolone with giardiniera olive relish on focaccia bread) as well as other Italian sandwichespizza slices and salads.
Sfera offers several ready-to-serve versions of arancini. The ‘arancini classico’ include beef stew, risotto and mozzarella served with marinara sauce and the ‘arancini porcini’ include imported porcini mushrooms, local mushrooms, fontina cheese and are served with truffle aioli .
Sfera has a small seating area and much of the food works well as takeout or takeout, the owners said. This model has already proven popular with some neighbors and workers rebuilding the red line just around the corner from Sfera, Jarczyk and Vitale said.
“The neighbors are really excited,” Vitale said. “Everyone has been so kind.”
Sfera is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information about Sfera, click on here.
Listen to “It’s Alright: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: