Photo: Randy Ream, (right) owner of Ream’s Meat Market, with his son, Joel, was one of the 50 vendors at the 2nd annual BaconFest in Chicago on April 9. Courtesy Photo
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Ream’s Meat Market keeps on bringing home the bacon when it comes to making Elburn a destination for Chicagoland carnivores in search of the best in meats and sausages. Ream’s recently made the list of “Best Chicagoland Places to Eat,” by the LTH Forum, a Chicago-based culinary chat site whose 9,000 members make it their business to identify small, out-of-the-way eateries and resources for all things food.
The forum is an off-shoot of the Chow Hound site. It announces 21 “Great Neighborhood Restaurants and Resources” annually. For Ream’s in Elburn to make the Chicago list brings new meaning to “out of the way.”
“We’re chipping away at the iceberg,” said Randy Ream, owner of Ream’s Meat Market. “We have 12 million people 40 miles away. We wanted to see what we could do. If we make one person happy, then they’ll tell someone, and they’ll tell someone.”
In addition to accolades from Chicago foodies, Ream’s took its bacon on the road to the second annual BaconFest, held at UIC in April. This day-long love fest for all things bacon attracted 2,000 people, who reportedly snatched up the $65 tickets in less than five minutes. That’s how serious bacon is to some people.
“It was restaurants and eating and drinking. It was a party,” Ream said. “It’s people who love food and love bacon and are out having a good time.”
As one of the 50-plus vendors and restaurants, Ream’s passed creations such as cinnamon bacon, Hungarian bacon with garlic and paprika, pepper bacon and smoked pancetta bacon with fennel, pepper and garlic.
“That makes a great BLT,” Ream said.
What else can you do with bacon? Ream said there were bacon dumplings, bacon kabobs, bacon sushi and even bacon vodka. One vendor made a turtle out of bacon, its body was shaped from hamburger patties, its legs were hot dogs, its back was covered in bacon and then the whole thing was roasted. The “Bacon Explosion” was Italian sausage covered with a lattice of bacon, slathered in BBQ seasonings and sauce and then roasted.
Ream’s Meat Market has won over 200 awards in state and local competitions. They were also named to a spot in the Cured Meat Hall of Fame in 2000 for long-standing excellence in the production of cured meats.
For Ream, the growing business still appreciates its customers. The BaconFest was just one more way to reach out.
“I think we made more friends than money, but what the heck,” Ream said of being a vendor at the event. And of continuing to grow, he said, “We still have more avenues to follow.”
Ream’s Elburn Market
128 North Main Street
Elburn, IL, 60119
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.