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A bit of New York in the Midwest

  • m

am looking for New York style deli nominations any where in the Midwest outside of my home turf of Minneapolis-StPaul. places in Indianapolis and Ann Arbor kind of ring a bell though i cant recall names or reports of quality. By deli, i mean places selling corned beef and pastrami and matzoh ball soup and with good kosher style pickles.

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  1. I think the place you are thinking of in Ann Arbor is Zingerman's. I have never been there, but I play tennis with a friend who often wears a Zingerman's t-shirt to play tennis in. It makes me long for good pastrami. I once read a review of Zingerman's that said it was the best deli between the coasts.

    What is your favorite deli in the Twin Cities? The options seem pretty paltry. I think the pastrami and the pickles at Brother's seem legit, but the only mid-week, only weekday schedule doesn't work well for those of us not in the skyway. I think Crossroads Deli in Minnetonka/Hopkins has very good matzah ball soup, but I am not as big a fan of their pastrami. Have you been to Cecil's in St. Paul? How is that?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Josh Resnik

      I can't speak to Cecils' authenticity (whatever that means these days). I just know that I love the place. It is one of the few places where I rarely vary my order; 9 times out of 10 its the Russian Reuben with a side of coleslaw for me. My wife breaks her diet for the Monte Cohen sandwich - turkey on egg bread with a mystical, mayonnaise-y special sauce.


      1. re: kcmarshall

        Benji's in Shorewood (north of Milwaukee) is okay but if it's authentic NY-style you seek, you gotta check out Jake's on North Avenue in Milwaukee. It's considered a rough neighborhood (which I, being a native New Yorker, find adds to its charm).

        I ran into Sen. Herb Kohl there last year and Commissioner Bud Selig (like him or hate him) is another regular. But don't be mistaken, it has the old, worn look and feel of any place that hasn't changed much since the 1940s. Check it out.

        In the Chicago area, I'd start with Max and Benny's in Northbrook. A modern, cavernous place that serves excellent corned beef. You won't find a better place for the "hamisha" atmosphere that says Noo Yawk.

        In the city, Ashkenaz's at Elm just east of State and Chafin's east of the Water Tower are okay too.

        Bon Appetit and good essen!


      2. re: Josh Resnik

        cecil's is fantastic. it's in the highland area on cleveland near punch. great meats and cheeses. a wonderful sweet cole slaw and reubens and other sandwiches that are well above average. great lunch spot. i have not tried the matzo ball soup or their borschts.
        check it out

      3. The place in Indianapolis that you are referring to is Shapiro's Deli (see link). Make sure to visit the original location just south of downtown on Meridian Street.

        Link: http://www.shapiros.com/

        1. There's also Izzy's in Cincinnati. In my opinion, Izzy's has the best potato pancakes of any deli that I've eaten in. As with Shapiro's in Indy, I think that the downtown locations are the best.

          Link: http://www.izzys.com/Default.htm

          1. m
            Michael Hoffman

            There's Katzinger's Delicatessen in Columbus' German Village. There's also Block's Bagels with two locations on the east side of Columbus. And, there's the Bexly Kosher Market on Broad Street in Columbus for all the things needed for delicatessen-style eating.

            1. well i think i'll chime in on this one since i live in new york and have been to most of the places mentioned here.

              first of all, KATZINGER'S and ZINGERMAN'S are to real ny deli's like...oh, ESPNZONE is to sports bars. the owners are related or friends and opened them together as business ventures as i understand it. large, yuppie-ish and no real ny feel. the pastrami and corned beef are typical, not great. that said, they make excellent sandwiches. great pickles! when in ann arbor and columbus, definately worth seeking out.

              SHAPIRO'S i guess would be closest to KATZ'S out here in that it is cafeteria style. the meat isn't anywhere close to KATZ. not that it was bad at all (hey, KATZ'S is the best there is) but that's all i remember about it on my one visit to indy many moons ago.

              the BLOCKS bagels chain of columbus are somewhat similar to those of the H&H chain in ny, so take that for what it is.

              if you want your small neighborhood style deli, that is more similar to those typical of ny, i'd suggest the several up in and around cleveland, such as JACK'S, MAX'S, RUTHIE&MOE'S diner, etc. just ask around on the cleveland.com food website for tips if you are going to be in that area. however, i guess i don't have to say but i will that there is no substitute for the real deal out here, right?

              1. I agree with the comment about Zingermans, not exactly a "real" deli, but more someone's concept of a place based on a NY deli. In the Detroit area, my choices for the best NY-style deli are 1) the Bread Basket, on Greenfield at 10 1/2 Mile rd in Oak Park (there are several other locations now, but the original is best), or 2) Stage Deli, on Orchard Lake Rd in West Bloomfield for a slightly more upscale experience.

                1. Benji's Deli (4156 N. Oakland) is great...Provides a bit of NYC right here in Milwaukee.

                  1. Chalfin's in Chicago is what you are looking for. The real thing. Shapirio's cannot even come close.

                    1. I second the recommendation for Benji's in Shorewood, Wisconsin (the first suburb outside of Milwaukee-about 15 min drive from downtown). I have tried NY deli's (I now live in New York, but grew up less than a mile from Benji's), and far prefer Benji's to what I have tasted here. They expertly handcarve the corned beef. Unfortunately, they have stopped serving tongue as it did not sell well enough. They are also good for other deli food, including kugel, etc. They also have a location in Riverpoint in Bayside, WI (about 15 min North of the Shorewood location).

                      1. r
                        Rantoul Davis

                        Shapiro's in Indy
                        Manny's in Chicago (Roosevelt & Jefferson)
                        Jack's in Cleveland.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rantoul Davis

                          We always stop at Shapiros when we're on the road. It's a really interesting place, very large, with great old photos. People stopping by after church. Farmers stopping in straight off the tractor. I always have the impression that I'm the only Jewish person in there. And when they offer me that mac'n'cheese with my pastrami I know for sure I'm not in NY any more.

                        2. Corky and Lenny's in Beachwood, OH, (on the far east side of Cleveland) is the real deal. If you are from NY, this place will make you feel right at home.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: RMC

                            Glad to hear you say that about Corky and Lenny's. I ate at that place 15 years ago and thought it was better than the NY delis I'd been to. And a couple days ago on this board someone told me they're no good.

                            1. re: Chris Weber

                              Chris - I would avoid C&L for a number of reasons. The most important being - they're just not that good (displaced NY-er talking here). For sit down, try Jack's Deli. For the best corned beef - Slymans. For the best pastrami - Mister Brisket (take out only).

                              1. re: NancyH

                                That's fair, I only ate there once after all and it was a long time ago. Thanks for the warning. But when you say they're not that good, is going to NYC the better option? That's a bit of a drive.

                                At any rate, I've been to Carnegie Deli more than once, and been uniformly unimpressed. It wasn't as good as C&L and it's not as good as Zingerman's, even though, as correctly pointed out on this board, Z's is not a true NY style deli.

                                So I guess I'll have to ask the next time I'm going to the city to get a better recco on a NYC deli.

                                1. re: Chris Weber

                                  It's been so long since I ate deli in NYC that I wouldn't know where to send you. I usually try to avoid the most "famous" places, for the reason that you describe!

                                  Item for item, in Cleveland, I would rate Jack's above Corky & Lenny. Except for pastrami, which, as I said, is best at Mister Brisket (his corned beef and off the bone turkey are also primo). Slyman's is sit down and very good (awesome corned beef) but not "Jewish" deli if you are looking for other things.

                          2. There are many very good Jewish delis in Chicago, in the suburbs as well as the city, including Kaufman's, Schmaltz, Manny's, Ashkenaz, etc. You'll find lots of recommendations in the discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/307862

                            Some of the best Jewish deli food I've had has been in Detroit (better than Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, in my experience), including Star Deli, Steve's, and Deli Unique. You'll find recommendations in these topics:

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nsxtasy

                              you are right about detroit delis...the best i know...dee dee from jackson

                              1. re: rainsux

                                I would like to add (For the Detroit Area) Plaza Deli on Northwestern and Mudgies Deli in Corktown.



                                1. re: JanPrimus

                                  I would also like to add for the Detroit area. Hubby and I really enjoy the corned beef and pastrami sandwiches at Ron's Bagel Deli in Commerce Twp., MI. 14 mile and M5. My hubby is from NY and knows his corned beef. In his opinion this is some of the best at Ron's.

                                  1. re: JanPrimus

                                    Don't forget Deli Unique, in West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills! It's part of the same restaurant group as Plaza Deli. www.mattprenticerg.com/urc/deliunique...

                                    Steve's has a website at www.stevesdeli.com

                                    So does the Stage Deli, at www.thestagedeli.com

                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                      Another Deli Unique is going in at Novi.

                                      Saw this over at Craigslist hunting for my next employer.

                                      With over 28 years in guest satisfaction, the Matt Prentice Restaurant Group is now expanding the company with yet another "Deli Unique!" The Deli Unique of Novi will be opening on November 9th. Deli Unique Novi is extending the opportuity for you to join our family. We are located at the 'Crowne Plaza Hotel' in Novi, 27000 Sheraton Drive (located on the service driveof I-96; west of Novi Rd.)

                                      1. re: JanPrimus

                                        Wow. Jan, FYI, you just re-opened a seven year-old thread.

                                        Interestingly enough though, the Jewish deli landscape hasn't changed much since then in MSP. Cecil's still sucks and there have been a handful of places that tried and failed or are trying and failing.

                                        1. re: JanPrimus

                                          Good threads and good thread topics do indeed deserve to be revived, as they are always relevant.

                                          I like Deli Unique, having been to the WB location many times. Service can be lacking at times. But when you're busy, and they get very busy, it can be expected. That spot in the Crown has been vacant a long time.

                                2. 1. Protzels in St. Louis MO for corned beef.

                                  2. 4th Street Fountain in Elsberry for egg cremes.

                                  1. The Onion Roll in Oak Park on the border of Chicago. Deli and diner in one, really good sandwiches.

                                    1. I was just there last week and really looking forward to it. My uncle grew up in Indianapolis and always talked it up. I do, however, live in Los Angeles, home of Langer's and the - arguably (it does create arguments) - very finest pastrami on rye in the known universe. So I was skeptical.

                                      Unfortunately, my skepticism has not been allayed. I had a pastrami on rye. The pastrami was extremely dry and bland. The rye bread was limp and dull. I had cole slaw on the side and it was about 2/3 dressing to 1/3 cabbage. Even the ice tea was weak - it'd been sitting there, filled with ice, next to the cash register, growing more dilute by the minute.


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: estone888

                                        Sorry, I now realize the original post didn't refer to anywhere specific. I'm referring to Shapiro's Deli in Indianapolis.

                                      2. Zingerman's in Ann Arbor has their own bakehouse, and they make the finest, most delicious bread I've ever had anywhere, including New Orleans and San Francisco. Fortunately, it's possible to buy Zingerman's bread in certain places besides their deli. My personal favorite is Sesame Semolina, although the Paesano is a very close second.

                                        The deli has fabulous sandwiches at fabulous prices.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Miss Nancy

                                          Zingerman's will ship bread and it works quite well- I sent my very picky foodie father some and he loved it. I think they give you oven instructions on how to enjoy it properly.

                                          Zingerman's Mail Order
                                          620 Phoenix Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

                                          1. re: faith

                                            Also try the rye bread. Detroit-style rye bread was recently written up in New York and judged superior to that served in delis there. See thread on this board entitled "Hey Detroit! At least we have ONE thing that isn't going down the tubes"

                                            1. re: Jim M

                                              I agree - I think the Russian rye bread you can get in Detroit is way better than Zingerman's rye bread.

                                              1. re: momskitchen

                                                For specifically Russian-style rye, try the little Russian grocery at the corner of Packard and Platt in Ann Arbor. They ship it in frozen. Good stuff, although not a friendly place. What the writer liked was twice-baked rye, a process apparently unique to this area. (Whether it's good with twice-cooked pork I have no idea.) He mentions Zingerman's, and also the bread at the Stage deli on Orchard Lake Rd.

                                              2. re: Jim M

                                                The Jewish rye at Deli Unique is awesome!

                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                  And it's supplied by the Star Bakery in Oak Park! It's also available at the Southfield location, but it's baked at the Oak Park location. And you're right: it's fantastic. I just bought a 2 pound loaf ($3.90) on Christmas Eve for our homemade corned beef, and it was as great as it always is. Also allowed for plenty of extra for making ham sandwiches after Christmas dinner.

                                                  Man, that's good stuff. I honestly don't know how the Atkins people can live without bread.

                                          2. Katzingers in Columbus has all of that. In Cleveland we have good corned beef but I can't think of a spot with matzoh ball soup.. but we def. have better corned beef. (SEE: Slymans, Dany's)

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ConfitMe

                                              Who in Cleveland is open on weekends? I don't think either Danny's or Slyman's are but I'm not positive. I'd love to try one of them the next time I'm there.

                                              1. re: Fibber McGee

                                                Mister Brisket and Jack's are open both days of the weekend.

                                            2. No one has mentioned The Vineyard on Northwestern in West Bloomfield. The corned beef is great and the feeling in the place takes me back to NY except that there is plenty of parking and the wait staff is polite!