The Jewish deli is still alive and kicking in Chicago. Longtime local institutions are still doling out beloved Ashkenazi comfort dishes steeped in chicken fat and tradition to crowds, and younger upstarts marry Eastern European Jewish classics to contemporary and global sensibilities to great effect. The genre’s resurgence is happening in real time: Jeff & Judes, a brand new deli in Ukrainian Village, has just begun slinging loaves of bread and Reuben kits through a walk-up window.
As with all facets in the hospitality industry, the city’s Jewish delis have struggled with the ongoing challenges introduced by the coronavirus pandemic. Bebe’s Kosher Deli — the only Glatt Kosher deli under full rabbinic supervision in Chicago — is still closed for the time being inside the Chicago French Market, and owners haven’t responded to a request for updates on a reopening timeline. Even venerable Windy City spot Manny’s Deli’s third-generation owner Danny Raskin tweeted out a plea for support in July. Chicagoans answered the call in droves, lining up around the block to help keep the restaurant open.
Here are 10 of the best open right now during the pandemic. For the 2020 update, Sam & Gertie’s and Max & Benny’s join the list.
A number of Chicago restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.Read More