Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli just completed the second of three stages of renovations that started in October in the 50-something year-old building. Chicago's venerable corned beef spot closed for Monday and Tuesday before re-opening on Wednesday to accommodate construction. Co-owner Dan Raskin said he hopes the work will conclude in a month. Most of the work was done to accommodate a new deli space for packaged food.
As a Chicago institution, Raskin is aware of Manny's rep. They're not overhauling the space for a modern feel. The staff is the same. The signage is the same. The atmosphere will remain intact, with workers sprucing up surfaces, or cleaning them up, as Raskin said. A little seating is gone, but the changes customers will feel the most comes in how they'll pay. The old ticketed system is kaput, the one designed before computers made it easy to pay with a credit card. Customers will now pay their checks at the end of the food line, something that Fooditor reported in the fall.
Again, the main thing was to create room for packaged foods. Manny's branded corned beef and other items will available. Raskin talked about the seafood options, like smoked fish, something that Manny's used to sell 30 years ago: "In the past, customers could try one lox, not five different types," he said. "It's just the ability to offer more options."
They'll also offer in-house specials at the restaurant using some of those items that customers can now find on their store shelves. Remarkably, even though they've been under construction since October, this week's closure was the first time Manny's had to shutter for the renovations. Four generations of Raskin's family have run Manny's. Raskin said he felt lucky to have the opportunity to further that legacy.