Steingold’s of Chicago, the modern Jewish deli that helped kick off a renaissance of contemporary spins on Ashkenazi cuisine in the city, has moved from Lincoln Square into a new home beside the historic Music Box Theater in Lakeview. The location features and a new walk-up window, plus bagels and Reuben sandwiches. Owner Aaron Steingold operated his deli for three years on Irving Park Road before closing in December for the move to 3737 N. Southport Avenue.
“The reaction is overwhelming and humbling and fantastic,” says Steingold, who has long wished for a larger kitchen to house the deli’s popular bagel operation. His former landlord raised the rent during the pandemic, he says, so the siren call of a bigger space, a walk-up window, and increased foot traffic became too attractive to pass up. The new location is about a 20-minute walk from the original. The new spot features hand-painted signage from Heart & Bone Signs — the same company behind lettering at the original Steingold’s and its now-shuttered outpost at Fulton Galley food hall — and custom furniture from Shelfd.
Chicago is home to several Eastern European Jewish deli stalwarts, including Manny’s and the Bagel, but Steingold’s opening in 2017 brought a new, hip energy to the tradition-heavy culinary genre in the city. He’s woven in Asian influences, pairing kimchi with hot-smoked pastrami on the Sister-In-Law sandwich, and collaborated with Pretty Cool Ice Cream on an everything bagel ice cream pop years before Jeni’s hopped on the bandwagon.
The path Steingold forged has spawned an influx of buzzy new Jewish-influenced spots like Jeff & Judes in Ukrainian Village and Rye Deli & Drink in West Loop. Chicago’s vegans now have a Jewish deli option too, thanks to meat- and dairy-free deli Sam & Gertie’s in Uptown.
The deli isn’t the only thing new in Lakeview. Inspired by the setup at the famed Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Steingold has also taken over a neighboring space with plans to open a full-scale bakery with options ranging from bagels and sweets like babka to loaves of rye and challah. Though the deli debuted with bagels from the Bagel Chef, Steingold has transitioned into making his own onsite. He hopes to open the bakery in about six months.
The full menu, including classics like latkes and pastrami, is available via the takeout window, alongside new entries like an everything bagel-dog using a chicken thigh duck-fat dog created by Duck Inn chef Kevin Hickey. Also, look for Jewish-y sweets like walnut and cinnamon rugelach and matzo toffee with dark chocolate bark.
Customers will have to wait until April for one of Steingold’s hotly anticipated creations: His Chicago-style deep-dish pizza bagel. Staff will scoop out an enormous bagel and fill it with layers of sauce and cheese that’s then baked and served by the slice.
The deli is currently open for takeout, and customers can place orders online. Take a look at Steingold’s new digs and Jewish delights in the photographs below.
Steingold’s of Chicago, 3737 N. Southport Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.