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Two thick pastrami sandwiches stacked on top of each other.
Jeff & Judes is back open and features an expanded menu.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

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Jeff & Judes Ukrainian Village’s Modern Jewish Deli Returns With Knishes and More

Check out the expanded menu’s beautiful pastrami and latkes

When Jeff & Judes, the modern LA-style Jewish deli in Ukrainian Village debuted in August, it wasn’t at full power. Owner Ursula Siker (Hoosier Mama Pie Company) slowly rolled out offerings via online ordering before closing in October to prepare for a grander relaunch. She used that time to hire and train staff, to add knishes, matzo ball soup, and brisket sandwiches to the menu.

A person uses both hands to hold a huge pastrami sandwich
Siker’s hefty pastrami sandwich (pastrami, whole grain mustard, marble rye)

Customers had to be on their toes if they wanted to try Jeff & Judes’ food — online ordering was fast and furious and quickly sold out. Now three months late — and armed with 11 staff members to help bake, brine, butcher, and cure, Jeff & Judes is back with vengeance, a carryout window, and expanded hours.

Siker’s expanded menu hits many Ashkenazi deli must haves: corned beef and pastrami sandwiches (proteins, including lox, are cured on site), a purist’s take on matzo ball soup, potato latkes, and — in a nod to New York deli culture — black & white cookies. But Siker has more contemporary creations up her sleeve, with inventive options like an enormous savory hamantaschen filled with cream cheese, red onion, and dill and coated in “everything” spice.

The new menu also highlights an interesting integration Southern flavors and ingredients — a reference to Siker’s stepmother, the eponymous “Judes,” who is a North Carolina native. These include a sweet potato and pimento cheese knish, and on the brunch menu, a pickle-brined matzo fried chicken sandwich (Martin’s potato bun, zesty pickle chips, American cheese). There are numerous other brunch selections, such as a Canter’s Sunrise tartine (pressed challah, fried egg, bacon, tomato, cheddar), challah cinnamon rolls and doughnuts, and cheddar matzo grits. The bagels are picked up at at 2 a.m. daily from suburban Lincolnwood’s well known New York Bagel and Bialy.

A while bowl of chicken broth with carrots and a big, fluffy matzo ball
Matzo ball soup (house chicken broth, carrots, chicken)
Three potato latkes alongside two small cups of sour cream and applesauce
Potato latkes
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago
A corned beef Reuben sandwich
Reuben (house corned beef, Jarlsberg, sauerkraut, Russian dressing on marble rye)
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Siker says one of the most complex components of running a pick-up only restaurant is managing ticket times, as workers try to balance food quality and pacing for patrons who may appear at the window unexpectedly. Sometimes, people have to wait. For the most part, she says, diners have been kind and patient.

“When someone’s sitting down at a restaurant, they have drinks, they have ambiance — time doesn’t matter as much,” Siker says. “When you’re standing and staring at a counter for 10 minutes, it feels like 30.”

For the time being, Siker is done with tweaks. As the winter holiday season approaches, Jeff & Judes fans can expect a handful of timely offerings like fried doughnuts for Hanukkah and Christmas-y Fernet gingerbread cookies. Interested parties should keep an eye on the menu via Toast and social media. Siker plans to add delivery via Caviar once the weather grows colder — along with a special section that allows customers to tip staff directly, as third-party apps furnish the entire tip to the driver.

Though she anticipates a shift to full service at some point in a post-pandemic future, the current phase of operations is “pretty much where we’re going to stay for now,” she says. “We’re more of a breakfast and lunch spot in the neighborhood, which lends itself better to carryout.”

Jeff & Judes, 1024 N. Western Avenue, order carryout via Toast or call (773) 661-1227, Open 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday; 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (brunch) and noon to 4:30 p.m. (lunch) Saturday and Sunday.

A triangle-shaped rye pastry with a cream cheese, red onion, and dill filling
Everything rye hamantaschen (cream cheese, red onion, and dill filling)
A tuna melt sandwich
Tuna melt (curry tuna salad, cheddar, American cheese, country loaf)
A round pastry covered with sesame seeds and filled with sweet potato and pimento
Sweet potato and pimento knish (cayenne mashed sweet potato, house pimiento cheese)
A bagel sandwich with strips of bacon, a square piece of cooked egg, and cheese
Bacon, egg, and cheese on a NY Bagel & Bialy everything bagel
Two hands hold a large, round cookie. One half is covered with white icing, the other half is covered with brown icing.
Black & White cookies are a New York deli staple.

Jeff & Judes

1024 North Western Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 661-1227 Visit Website
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