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Steingold’s of Chicago marries old- and new-world takes on Eastern European Jewish dishes.
Steingold’s of Chicago [Official Photo]

Where to Eat Jewish Deli Food in Chicago

Find terrific reubens, lox, and more from North Side to South Side

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Steingold’s of Chicago marries old- and new-world takes on Eastern European Jewish dishes.
| Steingold’s of Chicago [Official Photo]

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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Max and Benny's Restaurant

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The Schlan family of suburban deli destination Max and Benny’s has served Northbrook for nearly 30 years, inspired by its Bubbe Gussie’s culinary prowess. Its now socially-distanced dining room is open featuring breakfast options, deli sandwiches, and much more. There’s a separate selection offered online for delivery and takeout, including at-home bagel baking kits and Shabbat dinner boxes (tzedakah included — each box donates $10 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository).

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Seems like the perfect picture for our first post!

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Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen

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This 60-year-old Skokie deli Kaufman’s features a fish counter that offers four types of lox and pastrami smoked in-house. It’s so old school, the restaurant still uses traditional schmaltz (chicken fat) in a variety of its dishes. Everything at Kaufman’s is homemade, from the knishes to the kreplach to the kasha varnishkas — just like Bubbe used to make. Carryout only.

J B's Deli Inc

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Tucked away in Andersonville, JB’s has developed a following for its massive “over-stuffed” sandwiches, Ashkenazi deli favorites, and its famed sign that declares it “one of a few Jewish delis.” Customers can pick up classics like matzo ball soup, latkes, creamed herring, knishes in various flavors, stuffed cabbage, and delightful dessert offerings including babka, rugelach, halvah, and even chocolate mandel bread. Staff have added a handful of outdoor tables along the corner of Clark and Catalpa.

JB’s Deli also sells toiletries and pharmacy items
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Sam & Gertie's

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Touted by its owners as the world’s first vegan Jewish deli, Sam & Gertie’s is a loving tribute to Detroit’s Jewish delis and bagel shops in Uptown. Co-owners and husband-and-wife team Andy and Gina Kalish create animal-free versions of Eastern European Jewish classics such as knishes, chopped liver, smoked whitefish salad, babka, and more.

A vegan smoked whitefish salad on an onion roll beside a pickle and pile of bagel chips.
Sam & Gertie’s vegan “whitefish” salad
Naomi Waxman/Eater Chicago

Steingold's of Chicago

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Steingold’s is among a growing cohort of Jewish-American delis bringing old world delicacies into the modern era. Opened in 2017, this North Center spot draws on institutions from New York’s Lower East Side for sandwiches like the “Grandma Rachel” (roasted pastrami-spiced turkey, coleslaw, Havarti, challah) and the “Classic Lox” (choice of bagel and lox, tomatoes, lightly pickled cucumbers, capers, red onion). There’s also soups, sides, and meats by the pound, plus a special “everything bagel” ice cream pop created in collaboration with local spot Pretty Cool Ice Cream. Ordering is available online.

The Bagel Restaurant and Deli

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One of the premier spots for Jewish deli cooking in Chicago, the Bagel specializes in Ashkenazi comfort favorites like chicken in the pot, kasha varnishkes, liver and onions, mandel bread, and rugelach. It also highlights harder-to-find options like pickled beef tongue and five varieties of blintzes. Ordering is available online and there’s outdoor seating on a Barry Avenue patio.

Dining Out at The Bagel

Posted by The Bagel on Sunday, 9 August 2020

Half Sour

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While it doesn’t offer staples such as blintzes and kasha varnishkes, it’s impossible to deny Half Sour’s strong Jewish deli influence. The Printer’s Row spot smokes its own pastrami, ferments its own pickles, and makes fresh bagels every morning. It also brings modern touches to deli-inspired dishes like latkes with apple sauce and hot honey, Sephardi-style fried artichokes, and a Reuben sandwich with Mornay and “special sauce.”

Eleven City Diner

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Massive South Loop spot Eleven City Diner serves breakfast all day (even fried matzo brei!), plus tons of Ashkenazi standards like turkey pastrami, corned beef, knishes, and so much lox. The wide-ranging menu also options like Impossible burgers, a quinoa scramble bowl, malts, melts, various burgers, and a whole section of loaded mac and cheese. Eleven City also operates a Los Angeles location. Customers can order delivery online or stop in for dine-in service on weekends.

Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli

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A South Loop institution founded in 1942, Manny’s defines Chicago Jewish deli royalty. The cafeteria has a storied history with the city: opened by Russian immigrants on Van Buren and Halsted it’s gone on to achieve landmark status as a generations-owned establishment on South Jefferson. The menu is traditional Jewish fare and the portions are massive. It’s one of the few places left in the city eaters can still order matzo brie, kishke, and kasha and noodles, all in one sitting. Manny’s is open for takeout, outdoor dining, online ordering, ships nationwide via Tastes of Chicago,

Two men in white aprons and paper hats hand dishes to customers from behind a deli counter.
Manny’s is the best known old-school Jewish spot in Chicago
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Morry's Deli

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Morry’s Deli was established by Morry Orman, father of CNBC host Suze Orman, in 1960. This former deli chain (which is now only one location) was known for its sandwiches stacked high with corned beef, turkey pastrami, and more. The Hyde Park spot is still known for triple decker sandwiches, but it’s also become known for breakfast dishes, Italian sausages and beef, and a few barbecue specialties and burgers. Ordering is available online.

Something to make your feed a little more delicious today.

Posted by Morry's Deli on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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Max and Benny's Restaurant

The Schlan family of suburban deli destination Max and Benny’s has served Northbrook for nearly 30 years, inspired by its Bubbe Gussie’s culinary prowess. Its now socially-distanced dining room is open featuring breakfast options, deli sandwiches, and much more. There’s a separate selection offered online for delivery and takeout, including at-home bagel baking kits and Shabbat dinner boxes (tzedakah included — each box donates $10 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository).

View this post on Instagram

Seems like the perfect picture for our first post!

A post shared by Max and Benny's (@maxandbennys) on

Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen

This 60-year-old Skokie deli Kaufman’s features a fish counter that offers four types of lox and pastrami smoked in-house. It’s so old school, the restaurant still uses traditional schmaltz (chicken fat) in a variety of its dishes. Everything at Kaufman’s is homemade, from the knishes to the kreplach to the kasha varnishkas — just like Bubbe used to make. Carryout only.

J B's Deli Inc

JB’s Deli also sells toiletries and pharmacy items
Google Streetview

Tucked away in Andersonville, JB’s has developed a following for its massive “over-stuffed” sandwiches, Ashkenazi deli favorites, and its famed sign that declares it “one of a few Jewish delis.” Customers can pick up classics like matzo ball soup, latkes, creamed herring, knishes in various flavors, stuffed cabbage, and delightful dessert offerings including babka, rugelach, halvah, and even chocolate mandel bread. Staff have added a handful of outdoor tables along the corner of Clark and Catalpa.

JB’s Deli also sells toiletries and pharmacy items
Google Streetview

Sam & Gertie's

A vegan smoked whitefish salad on an onion roll beside a pickle and pile of bagel chips.
Sam & Gertie’s vegan “whitefish” salad
Naomi Waxman/Eater Chicago

Touted by its owners as the world’s first vegan Jewish deli, Sam & Gertie’s is a loving tribute to Detroit’s Jewish delis and bagel shops in Uptown. Co-owners and husband-and-wife team Andy and Gina Kalish create animal-free versions of Eastern European Jewish classics such as knishes, chopped liver, smoked whitefish salad, babka, and more.

A vegan smoked whitefish salad on an onion roll beside a pickle and pile of bagel chips.
Sam & Gertie’s vegan “whitefish” salad
Naomi Waxman/Eater Chicago

Steingold's of Chicago

Steingold’s is among a growing cohort of Jewish-American delis bringing old world delicacies into the modern era. Opened in 2017, this North Center spot draws on institutions from New York’s Lower East Side for sandwiches like the “Grandma Rachel” (roasted pastrami-spiced turkey, coleslaw, Havarti, challah) and the “Classic Lox” (choice of bagel and lox, tomatoes, lightly pickled cucumbers, capers, red onion). There’s also soups, sides, and meats by the pound, plus a special “everything bagel” ice cream pop created in collaboration with local spot Pretty Cool Ice Cream. Ordering is available online.

The Bagel Restaurant and Deli

One of the premier spots for Jewish deli cooking in Chicago, the Bagel specializes in Ashkenazi comfort favorites like chicken in the pot, kasha varnishkes, liver and onions, mandel bread, and rugelach. It also highlights harder-to-find options like pickled beef tongue and five varieties of blintzes. Ordering is available online and there’s outdoor seating on a Barry Avenue patio.

Dining Out at The Bagel

Posted by The Bagel on Sunday, 9 August 2020

Half Sour

While it doesn’t offer staples such as blintzes and kasha varnishkes, it’s impossible to deny Half Sour’s strong Jewish deli influence. The Printer’s Row spot smokes its own pastrami, ferments its own pickles, and makes fresh bagels every morning. It also brings modern touches to deli-inspired dishes like latkes with apple sauce and hot honey, Sephardi-style fried artichokes, and a Reuben sandwich with Mornay and “special sauce.”

Eleven City Diner

Massive South Loop spot Eleven City Diner serves breakfast all day (even fried matzo brei!), plus tons of Ashkenazi standards like turkey pastrami, corned beef, knishes, and so much lox. The wide-ranging menu also options like Impossible burgers, a quinoa scramble bowl, malts, melts, various burgers, and a whole section of loaded mac and cheese. Eleven City also operates a Los Angeles location. Customers can order delivery online or stop in for dine-in service on weekends.

Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli

Two men in white aprons and paper hats hand dishes to customers from behind a deli counter.
Manny’s is the best known old-school Jewish spot in Chicago
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

A South Loop institution founded in 1942, Manny’s defines Chicago Jewish deli royalty. The cafeteria has a storied history with the city: opened by Russian immigrants on Van Buren and Halsted it’s gone on to achieve landmark status as a generations-owned establishment on South Jefferson. The menu is traditional Jewish fare and the portions are massive. It’s one of the few places left in the city eaters can still order matzo brie, kishke, and kasha and noodles, all in one sitting. Manny’s is open for takeout, outdoor dining, online ordering, ships nationwide via Tastes of Chicago,

Two men in white aprons and paper hats hand dishes to customers from behind a deli counter.
Manny’s is the best known old-school Jewish spot in Chicago
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Morry's Deli

Morry’s Deli was established by Morry Orman, father of CNBC host Suze Orman, in 1960. This former deli chain (which is now only one location) was known for its sandwiches stacked high with corned beef, turkey pastrami, and more. The Hyde Park spot is still known for triple decker sandwiches, but it’s also become known for breakfast dishes, Italian sausages and beef, and a few barbecue specialties and burgers. Ordering is available online.

Something to make your feed a little more delicious today.

Posted by Morry's Deli on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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