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Best Jewish Deli in Chicago?

Coming to Chicago and want great lox, sturgeon, corned beef etc. Where?

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  1. this has been discussed before - if you do search on the chicgao board you will find the threads -

    but with that said - my favorite for corned beef, pastrami is romanian kosher sausage on the north side - Touhy and Clark

    3 Replies
    1. re: weinstein5

      Omigosh, yes--except you can't eat there, don't even think of asking for swiss on your corned beef sandwich, though or you will get really dirty looks. My folks live in the suburbs and I am bringing some Romanian there tomorrow.

      1. re: andigirl

        If you have not done so already - try their hot dogs as well - best in the city

      2. re: weinstein5

        Great deli at Once Upon a Bagel in Highland Park, homemade bagels, rugelach, smoke fish is delish

      3. samuels deli in boys town. broadway and roscoe ish

        1 Reply
        1. re: jrj

          do they have kosher bologina? i cant seem to find it anyplace.

        2. Kaufmans on Dempster st. in Skokie.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Darren72

            Kaufmans had a salmonella situation once a long time ago.
            We never went back after they re-opened - why take the risk.
            Max's HP - best homemade gefilte fish.

            1. re: lukebradlee

              That was 20 years ago. The "risk" could happen anywhere. At this point you're as safe at Kaufman's as you are anywhere.

              1. re: lukebradlee

                Personally, I think that you might almost be safer there. Obviously they have corrected the issues, since the health department has certified them. And I tend to think that places are more careful after an issue then the average resturant.

              2. re: Darren72

                My vote for Kaufmans as well. Sandwiches are ridiculous.

                1. re: bourj

                  I'm a transplant from the TC and stumbled upon this place when very VERY hungry and was shocked at how amazing the sandwiches were! A quintessential Jewish deli, wonderful meat (especially the pastrami), and the bakery looked yummy, too!

                  Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen
                  4905 Dempster St, Skokie, IL 60077

                  1. re: jbcoughlin

                    Kaufmans is closed because of fire damage (Jan 2012).

                    1. re: brokentelephone

                      They are still planning to reopen once the damage is fixed - they have not given a date as of yet but keep and eye on their website http://kaufmansdeli.com/wordpress/?p=268

              3. The best Jewish Deli is actually in Highland Park - Max's, 210 Skokie Valley Road. It's a 40 minutes drive form the Loop (longer at rush hour), but worth it, IMHO. Ask them to slice the pastrami thin - it's out of this world.

                I do like Kaufman's, and also Ashkenaz (12 E. Cedar) in Chicago, but like Max's much more.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Akatonbo

                  do they have kosher bolongia? i use to be able to go to skokie at the jewels and get it but they no longer have it i have looked every place.

                  1. re: gntpaula

                    The Jewel in Skokie (on Skokie Blvd) actually has an expanded kosher and for an even greater selection there is the Jewel on Howard in Evanston - both have kosher bologna

                    1. re: weinstein5

                      I was at the Jewel on Howard in Evanston less than an hour ago, and they did indeed have kosher bologna at the kosher deli counter facing the produce department. I thought it was funny that the kosher salami was priced by the pound ($7.58) but the kosher bologna was priced by the half pound ($3.49).

                      I'm pretty sure their kosher deli counter is closed on shabbat (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday), and probably Saturday night as well.

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        It is closed on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays and will close early the day before holidays and Shabbat.

                        I think they do the price per half pound to reduce the shock of how much they re-sell Romanians cold cuts for - last time I checked almost it is $6-*$ per poiund surcharge -

                2. As a NY transplant I have been to all these places and none of them can compare to any deli in NY. Certainly none of the places in the city are good. In my opinion your best bet would be Max's if you are willing to make the trip.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: cjulius94

                    My brother-in-law, who turned us on to Max's, reminds me that for some unknown reason the food you take out from Max's is much better than the food you're served if you eat there (maybe they keep the latter under a heat lamp, or something). So that's the word on Max's: Take-out only.

                    As for cjulius94's comment "none of them can compare to any deli in NY," as a transplanted Noo Yawker who loves Chicago and is sooo glad I escaped the Big Apple - I have to say that though this statement is a broad generalization - I'm afraid that, with the exception of Max's, it's generally true. There are some things that New York does better, and Jewish delis is one of them. Perhaps it would have been more accurate (and less inflammatory) to say: "in my opinion, the best New York Jewish Deli is way better than the best Chicago deli." Max's ships their meats in from New York, so that's one big plus in their favor.

                    1. re: cjulius94

                      This board isn't about chow in NY, it's about chow in Chicago. Comparing the deli in one city to another doesn't help find good deli in Chicago.

                      Thus, such rants are counterproductive and usually off-topic. In our experience, making sweeping statements about an area's chow does not make one eat better. It's also beside the point, as the best chowhounds chow without borders; comparing one area with another is often meaningless in the big chow world out there.

                      Please focus on seeking out the best chow in Chicago as you can with your available resources -- it's a much more delicious experience.

                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                        Sorry! But my basic point is: Max's (in Highland Park) is best! I'll try to control myself in the future ;)

                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                          OK, here goes for Chicago. Not technically a deli but has all the traditional good stuff on the menu, which can be reviewed online before you go, just to be sure: The Bagel, 3107 N Broadway at Barry. If you're visiting and not driving, take the 36 bus, which from downtown runs north on Dearborn to Illinois, thereafter on State; ask driver to call Barry.

                        2. re: cjulius94

                          Also an NYC transplant, though HP native have always been unimpressed with Max's overall, generally depressing scene. I like Brad Rubin's 11 City Diner on S Wabash. Or The Ashkenaz.

                        3. "this has been discussed before - if you do search on the chicgao board you will find the threads"

                          It is had enough to find this BOARD, let alone do a search that is woefully out-of-date. Please don't tell people to do a search if you don't have any good suggestions.

                          "but with that said - my favorite for corned beef, pastrami is romanian kosher sausage on the north side - Touhy and Clark"

                          Romanian Kosher is not a deli, it is a kosher charcuterie with very, very limited hours, as they are strictly observant with respect to sunset closing and such - and I don't believe they carry ANY fish, which is what the poster was specifically asking about. The aforementioned Max's is ok; so is Door County Fish & Deli in Northbrook. Their smoked fish is really good.

                          Door County Fish & Deli
                          (847) 559-9229
                          2831 Dundee Rd
                          Northbrook, IL 60062

                          1. If you are staying close to downtown, and if you do not want to travel to many of the places listed, here are a few other options:

                            Ashkenaz Deli - not much room to sit down but they have very good stuff. If you are staying near the Mag Mile, you could walk here.
                            12 E. Cedar

                            Manny's - this is almost more of a cafeteria, but the food is great and it's such the Chicago institution. You'll get the best corned beef here, in my opinion. (A very short cab ride from downtown).
                            1141 S. Jefferson St.

                            Eleven City Diner - patterned after Rascal House, but don't expect Rascal House or you'll be very disappointed. (only a couple minutes away from Manny's)
                            1112 S. Wabash

                            Max & Benny's - I have not been to this new location (at River East, close to Navy Pier). The one in the suburbs is ok, nothing special
                            322 E. Illinois St.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BRB

                              Eleven City Diner is planning to open a second location in Lincoln Park, on the former site of the original Belden Deli.

                              Brendan Sodikoff is planning to open Dillman's, a Jewish deli (probably) in River North: www.timeoutchicago.com/restaurants-ba...

                            2. Chicago's not the place for this kind of food, really. Manny's is probably the most established in the city. Max and Benny's is fine, but sort of antiseptic. You're probably best served by going to Skokie and going to the Bagel.

                              1. There is a Bagel location in the city. It's at 3107 N. Broadway.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Darren72

                                  Yeah, I lived by it...but it's not the same as the Skokie version.

                                  1. re: mattlap_2000

                                    "It'll do until the real thing comes along." Basket of good bread right away, dish of half-sour pickles,chopped liver, sweet/sour cabbage soup, matzo brei, brisket or corned beef sandwich, apricot rugelach...go to The Bagel if you're homesick for New York.

                                2. My favorite Jewish delis in the Chicago area are:

                                  Kaufmans - Skokie
                                  Manny's - Downtown
                                  Samuels - Lake view

                                  1. Kaufmanns has the best corned beef period, not only in Chicago but in the US. I've had Stage and some of the other NY guys, LA etc., and while they were all outstanding, Kaufmanns is still the best. But there is a caveat, this place is a meat counter deli and bakery and is NOT a restaurant, you can order sandwiches made there "to go" but there is no eating area or tables. Those sandwiches by the way are excellent and generously portioned and only cost about $6-$7.

                                    Restaurant wise; the above mentioned Maxes and Max & Bennys, are good but not great and expen$ive. My pick would be the Barnum & Bagel in Skokie on Dempster since I seem to remember them featuring Kauffmans meats & breads. There is also a decent place in Highland Park by the train station called "Once upon a bagel" worth checking out if your in the area. Lastly, Burt's deli in Vernon Hills on Milwaukee ave serves up a good corned Beef and has a signature sandwich of there own that's worth a mention.

                                    My favorites that are now gone, would have been the Pickle Barrel and Zwig's.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: abf005

                                      I have to say i have been to a few places mentioned and I think the best is Barnum and Bagel for a pizza bagel - to die for!!!

                                      1. re: sand12

                                        Barnum and Bagel closed in 2006. The building has been vacant ever since (although I think the sign is still there).

                                    2. How about New York Bagel & Bialy: slim on meats, but does have lox, spread, chopped liver, smoked fishes.
                                      4714 W Touhy Ave (just east of the Edens)
                                      Lincolnwood, IL 60712
                                      (847) 677-9388

                                      Also, Chalfin's Deli (200 E. Chestnut in Streeterville) was recomended to me recently. I've never been. Any thoughts?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Sassafras

                                        I've been to Chalfins. I had great Hoppel Poppel. Thr place was pretty much populated and run by Slavics, Russians etc. Good food good prices. It is in the basement.

                                        1. re: Sassafras

                                          one thing that use to be nice about NY Bagel was they use to be open 24 hr a day but they did not take credit cards - bummer
                                          i dont know what their hrs are today or if they now accept cc's but this is 2009

                                        2. On the New York Bagel & Bialy (just east of the Edens at Touhy), one thing that is key for the late night cravings is that it's open 24 hours 7 day a week.

                                          Cold Comfort on 2211 North has a wide assortment of sandwiches, potatoe latkes, and sour / new pickles...it's not as good as Kaufmans, but I live close and enjoy the convenience of a pastrami/egg sandwich on the way to work.

                                          1. I remember there being a deli near the U. of Chicago some years ago. Can't recall name or location.

                                            1. The New York / Chicago comparisons seem to offend some Chicagoan's...lighten up people. Our great city offers up an amazing aray of ethnic deli's. Yes, I agree that our Jewish deli's do not compare to the New York one's but how about our fantastic German, Polish, Italian, Indian, deli's, etc?

                                              You would certainly be impressed by some of our other ethnic deli's like Gilmarts (Polish )on South Archer Avenue, Kurwoski's (Polish) on N.Milwaukee Avenue, Riviera Foods on Harlem Avenue (old school Italian), Bari Foods on Grand Avenue, Paulina's (German) Meat Market on Lincoln Avenue, Tony's Deli, Joe's sausage shop on Western Avenue, Fontano's Subs, many of our Thai & Vietnamese stores in Little Vietnam at Argyle and Broadway, many of our Indian and Pakistani shops along Devon Avenue, many Italian deli's in Elmwood Park...the list goes on and on and on.

                                              1. Max and bennys in river north closed after six months.

                                                1. Since we are updating... Barnum & Bagel in Skokie on Dempster is under new ownership and the quality seems to be sliding. I do not know if others have found the same trend or not.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: fryrose

                                                    Barnum & Bagel is closed is now closed.

                                                  2. The Ashkenaz at Rush and Cedar.

                                                    1. I have now experienced a Manny's pastrami sandwich, and would have to say that it's the best pastrami I've ever eaten - anywhere!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Akatonbo

                                                        Corned beef, pastrami, yes.

                                                        Lox, sturgeon, no.

                                                      2. i remember a deli resturant called "roberts" on devon and western..is it still there? also "the brywn fishery" north of foster on lincoln ave???

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: stevef2222

                                                          Both are gone. Roberts has been closed for over 30 yrs.

                                                          1. re: stevef2222

                                                            Dating yourself, Steve. I remember Robert's, too... and the REAL Ashenaz, on Devon! This thread is interesting to me, as I was thinking that probably if there were good Jewish deli in the area now, it would be in the far north burbs, like Northbrook and Highland Park.

                                                            That's pretty much where the offspring of those of us who remember Ashkenaz settled.....

                                                            Are there any good KOSHER delis in Chicago any more?

                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                              Yes Romanian Kosher Sausage - Makes the best corned beef, pastrami, salami and hot dogs in the city and strictly kosher

                                                              Romanian Kosher Sausage Co
                                                              7200 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626

                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                The real Ashkenaz was on Morse Ave. in Rogers Park

                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                  Dear Chef June, I am not aware of any kosher deli's in Chgo except there was one kosher restaurant/deli in HP right next to Max's-very small and likely you were never there. It was KOSHER, specifically and literally. My favorite is/was Kaboff's in Northbrook and then Once-Upon-A-Bagel in HP. I came looking to this thread as a way to maybe find a recipe for Joey Kaboff's knishes.....the best ever! Manny's was good if you were looking for huge portions.

                                                                  1. re: Initial

                                                                    Romanian Kosher Sausage is still in business albeit it is not the classic sit down deli like Manny's but it is still a deli - strictly kosher and in IMHO makes the best corned beef, salami, hot dogs and chopped liver - you can order sandwiches and they are a bargain - less than $5 -

                                                                    1. re: weinstein5

                                                                      no disagreement on Roumanian, the one I was speaking of in HP was a sit down restaurant....this is just part of my quest for the quintessential knish recipe with a thin wrap, not thick and lumpy. I think I started going to Roumanian in maybe the late 60's.....now in Seattle, no Roumanian or much else here.

                                                                      1. re: Initial

                                                                        in case you have not seen in other posts - romanian now ships their salamis - http://www.romaniankoshersausage.com/...

                                                              2. I recently heard The Bagel near Wrigleyville is pretty amazing.

                                                                1. romanian's corned beef, turkey, and hot dogs are all fantastic. even the pre-packaged products at the Jewel on Howard are all great. I don't know of any great one-stop place. We get bagels from NY Bagel, but I wouldn't buy the lox their, I'm not a big fan. It's rather rectangular, which puts me off a bit. I want my lox to look like a piece of fish. Their smoked fishes are pretty good. Always ask for the more well-done bagels, otherwise they can get a little chewy.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: annimal

                                                                    glad to hear Romanian getting the kudos. i've been hooked on their salami and dogs of late. for fish, you want to try Hungarian, a kosher supermarket (with hours limited accordingly) at 4020 W. Oakton, Skokie, IL. they smoke their own fish. ditto for the salami, etc. compare it to Romanian and see which you like better. also for good smoked fish, try Good Morgan at 2948 W. Devon Ave. these are good places!

                                                                  2. Is the Belden Corned Beef House still around (down the street from the Belden Stratford and the zoo)? My grandparents lived at the BS, and I always looked forward to walking down the street for Saturday breakfast.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: GroovinGourmet

                                                                      Belden has been gone for at least 15 yrs

                                                                    2. Try Bagels and Bialy's for a Corned Beef sandwich and a Dr. Brown's soda. They are just west of Greenwood on Dempster in Park Ridge/Des Plaines. Not far from the airport (O'Hare).

                                                                      1. Rosenbloom's drug store on 71st. near Lake Shore Drive sixty years ago served the best corned beef sandwich ever(an onion roll). Currently, the 11th. Street Deli (11th. and Wabash downtown) serves a terrific sandwich as well as fabulous chopped chicken liver, chubs, and matzo balls as big as your fist. For a hoot, ask for Kathy to be your waitress. She's a long time South sider from when South Shore was mostly Jewish. They've got Green River soda also.

                                                                        Good Eating,


                                                                        1. From my friend who is a native Chicagoan, lived in the city all of his life and very particular about his delis. _________________________________________________________________________
                                                                          Tell these foodie wanna be's to pipe down. Very few mentioned Manny’s, which tells me that they’re not Chicagoans (which many of them did say). Anyone from Chicago will tell you that Manny’s is the best deli in the city (granted many of the old name delis have closed). I haven’t been to Max and Benny’s (it’s relatively new) and Ashkenaz and The Bagel are both good. City 11 is a yuppie version of Manny’s, good too, but not it’s not Manny’s (it doesn’t have the attitude). As for the delis in the suburbs, I haven’t been to any of them, but come on, a deli in Highland Park? I guess in a pinch it’s OK, but again, it’s not Manny’s.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                            When was the last time your friend had the lox and sturgeon at Manny"s (which seemed to be the OP's priority)?

                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                              Tell your friend to try to get out of the city more and go actually go to Jewish neighborhoods to try some deli's once in awhile!!

                                                                              But he is right about Manny's, they are now the best sit down deli in Chicago. It's always been great, but 20-30 years ago there were dozens of places like Manny's all over the place, but slowly one by one they've all died off leaving Manny's alone in the city as the undisputed king of sit down delis.

                                                                              BUT, the "newer" (only been around 10-20 years) places in Northbrook, Highland Park are very good (Once upon a Bagel, Max's etc.) but the true king of Chicago delis is without a doubt Kaufman's in Skokie. The only negative is that its not a sit down restaurant. But the corned beef, deli meats & breads are all better than Manny's with one exception: hot pastrami, in that category Manny's wins hands down!

                                                                              As to delis in the city, the selection is very meager to non-existent these days, I would add in Ada's & Perry's as "in a pinch" options but they aren't even close to any of the before mentioned places.

                                                                              One update, Barnun & Bagel closed since I last posted to this thread, shame- yet another one bites the dust.

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                  Hmmm...I just carried out a corned beef sandwich from Manny's last week. It was so disappointing. Chewy, gristly, such a shame! Half (no exaggeration) of it got tossed to the dog. He seemed to like it though. And the Dr. Brown's Diet Black Cherry was excellent!

                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                    lived in chi town all my life and Mannys is not the best, corned beef was dry, bread was dry and not piled high i have not returned in three years
                                                                                    not woth the trip

                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                      I too don't get the Manny's hype. Mrs. Manny is pretty cool, but she should be for the prices she charges for matzo ball soup made out of bouillon and served in that so called "charming" atmosphere. When did charming become a euphemism for god awful?

                                                                                      I appreciate Manny's more for Mrs. Manny's ability to rake at a very high profit margin than I do for any of Manny's food.

                                                                                      1. I would also like to mention Kaboffs on Dundee Rd in Northbrook. Yeah, i said northbrook. but its a cute little place, reminiscent of the jewish delis of yesteryear. also leonards bakery next door is great.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: jayinchicago

                                                                                          Since we are talking northern burbs, which makes absolute sense since the largest portion of Chicagoland's Jews currently live up here anyway.

                                                                                          Another really good old school style deli is in Libertyville right off of Milwaukee Ave called Burt's Deli. It's a small place, but good.

                                                                                          Burt's has great chopped liver, fresh sliced corned beef, pastrami & as well as the usual deli meats; turkey, lox etc. They also have fresh baked Jewish breads ranging from rye's to bagles & baileys.

                                                                                          1171 S Milwaukee Ave # 114
                                                                                          Libertyville, IL 60048

                                                                                        2. I live in the NY metro area and deli food is dying. Most of the traditional family places are closing as the owners' kids don't seem to want to carry on the business. That said, I would put Kaufman's , Max's and Manny's against any that I have had in NY. The style in NY is to hand cut the corned beef or pastrami in slices that are often to thick. Many NY places are cheating and no longer brine their own pastrami and corned beef. Additionally, most NY places are prohibatively expensive like katz's. This place has killer pastrami and the rest of the food is avarage and outrageously overpriced. It is truly become a tourist trap. Also, don't get me started on the hotdogs in NY. Somebody needs to open a real Chicago Italian Beef and hotdog stand here.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: dlhhr

                                                                                            Manny's?? I am sorry but I have to disagree...I think their pastrami/corned beef is not that good and to this day, I simply do not understand why anyone (ESPECIALLY from New York, should know better!!) would recommend this dump. Schapiro's (cafeteria style) in Indianapolis blows Manny's out of the waters. Know why the pastrami (at Manny's) is crummy?? Because it's thinly sliced, ruthlessly all fatty, dry and COLD. The nerve. Perhaps Chicagoans don't know any better, willing to put up w/ such crap due to ignorance. Anyway, the last time I went to Manny's was like two years ago...has it improved since? I doubt it.

                                                                                            However, I do have to say that Askenaz's and Max's are not bad, in fact...pretty good. I don't think a true New Yorker who knows her pastrami would send it back or/and pouting, pining for Katz's (Carnegie's, Sarges, Pastrami King in Long Island). Max's pastrami reuben sandwich is very good- the pastrami sometimes thickly sliced, (at times) long and just the right amount of fat, w/some juice...also, before ordering a reuben at Max's, it is wise that you ask for it to be made traditionally. Otherwise, they'll serve it as an open-faced style...quite strange/too creative and extremely difficult to lift as a sandwich (like it's supposed to be!).

                                                                                            And yes, Katz's and other delis in New York can be expensive...but at least the sandwiches are stacked with meat/pastrami (between 5 to 6 inches high)...whereas in Chicago, the sandwiches are cheaper but yet, are skimpy with the meat (about 2 inches high...what a sobbing experience for a former Upper West Sider). Just wrong.

                                                                                            1. re: pickyfoodhunter

                                                                                              I was turned on to Manny's about 15 years ago and to me it remains the best deli Chicago has to offer. The attitude as you walk down the line is great and the service from the men on the slicers always makes me want to come back for more. Shapiro's in Indy is almost on par but not quite there. I just came back from Milwaukee and I have to say that I have found the most awesome culinary find in the deli arena. The drive is just a shade under 2 hours and well, well worth the gas, even at $4.05/gallon. The name is Benji's and it is right off Hwy 43 and Brown Deer Rd. INCREDIBLE is all I can say.

                                                                                              1. re: pickyfoodhunter

                                                                                                Sorry picky one, but Manny's is 10 times the deli that Shapiro's is.

                                                                                                From the quality of food, to the tastes (especially the corned beef, pastrami and soup), on to the atmosphere! In fact, about the only thing nicer Shapiro's has over Manny's is that's its a newer more stylish place and that they have a bakery section, and that's about it. Don't get me wrong I really like Shapiro's and never miss it on any trip through Indy, but a Manny's it is not.

                                                                                                That being said; the best deli is still Kaufman's.

                                                                                                Anyone of you 'ol timers remember the original Zwigs before he moved out to Buffalo Grove, and then closed for good?? I sure miss them even from the Buffalo Groove loc.

                                                                                                1. re: abf005

                                                                                                  It was Zweigs on Church and Crawford in Skokie

                                                                                                2. re: pickyfoodhunter

                                                                                                  Are you kidding? Dry Pastrami? When did you go there? I have NEVER had a better Pastrami sammich than at Manny's. Same with the Corned Beef. Piled extra high, it's usually 2 sandwiches in one.

                                                                                                  I am also absolutely in love with their knish's and potato pancakes and their matzoh ball soup is lovely, too!

                                                                                              2. I certainly wouldn't label it the "best" deli, but I don't think anyone has mentioned Perry's on Franklin in Chicago - it will do in a pinch if you're downtown and jonesin'.

                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: sis2catbat

                                                                                                  I like Perry's better than Manny's if for no other reason that Perry's serves their food hot! It makes the flavor stand out.

                                                                                                  1. re: rubinow

                                                                                                    C'mon now, Perry's is a joke!! It's more gimmick than deli, the long lines are full of people who care about quantity over quality, serving only a handful of mid-grade meats and very sub par sides. And whats up with the stupid cell phone alarms?

                                                                                                    In fact, these guys aren't even a Jewish Deli!!! There's no fresh baked breads, no soups, no deli meat to go, no chopped liver!? It's just a well placed sandwich shop in the Loop that's one step up from Quizno's! I've got three words for these guys; location, location, location.

                                                                                                    It shouldn't even be spoken of in the same sentence as Manny's, Kaufman's or any of the Northern burb deli's like Max's, Burt's and Once Upon a Bagel.

                                                                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                                                                      Oh, get over yourself. No chopped liver? The horror!

                                                                                                      I didn't say Perry's was the "best" deli but that it would "do in a pinch" if you're jonesin' in the loop. None of the other places you mentioned -- Manny's, and certainly not Kaufman's or "any of the other Northern burb delis" -- are in the loop proper, so that's why I mentioned it.

                                                                                                      If you can think of another decent deli in the proximity of Perry's, feel free to post its name and location. Otherwise, bashing my recommendation is silly and pointless. I've had nothing but fantastic sandwiches from Perry's, and judging by the line every day, I know I'm not alone.

                                                                                                      1. re: sis2catbat

                                                                                                        The title of the thread is "Best Jewish Deli in Chicago?" not "downtown and jonesin'". Therefore this thread is not constrained to the Loop either.

                                                                                                        That being said, in the loop, Ada's is a far more respectable pick, they may not be in my top 5 in Chicagoland but they at least have the prerequisite in house bakery, matzo ball soup and chopped liver that make me feel like its a Jewish deli and not a Subway.

                                                                                                        Long lines don't mean a thing; look at Chipotle. Downtown is full of herds of people with no taste, and who lack discriminating pallets. They will line up to fed at a trough if its close and quick, I just wont wait in line with them for it.

                                                                                                        1. re: abf005

                                                                                                          Yes, best deli in CHICAGO, not Skokie or the northern 'burbs. The loop location of Perry's I mentioned IS in Chicago, after all.

                                                                                                          Again, get over yourself.

                                                                                                        2. re: sis2catbat

                                                                                                          I'm Jewish and have eaten in just about every deli in the Chicagoland area as well as a bunch in NY. I used to live by the Max's in Lincoln Park and loved it, and occasionally make the trek to the Max's in HP. Those are my credentials.

                                                                                                          To say Perry's is a joke is just mind boggling. While it's certainly not an authentic Jewish deli (and any deli that serves cheese on their meat is not, which is every deli listed in this thread), their sandwiches are amazing and the prices are unbeatable. A pastrami sandwich at Perry's costs $9. At Carnegie deli in NY it costs $25! And I'd argue that Perry's is just as good if not better. So please disregard any of the negative comments about Perry's and make sure you try it for yourself. Calling Perry's a "step above Quizno's" is like calling Charlie Trotters a step above Bennigans.

                                                                                                        3. re: abf005

                                                                                                          Wait, Manny's has fresh baked breads? Since when? And you're touting Manny's sides? Seriously? And you didn't even address the fact that Manny's serves their sandwiches and latkes ice cold? Yes, Perry's is a sandwich shop. That's all they do. There's no crime in that, especially if they do it well. Manny's should cut back on the school food and concentrate on their sandwiches for that matter.

                                                                                                          I've been to Jewish delis. I like Manny's, but they need to step their game up. I've had much better.

                                                                                                          1. re: rubinow

                                                                                                            What's with this obsession about cold. I eat at Manny's about once a month and the brisket is always steaming while whirring away in the slicer. The latkes are cold, but they're just filler any way. I agree it's not the best deli in the world, but Manny's is very good. Finally, the school food as you call it is what gives Manny's character. The beef strogonof and the mac and cheese are good and every once is a while hit the spot.

                                                                                                            1. re: jbontario

                                                                                                              I understand the charm, but it is what it is. BTW, I like good latkes. They shouldn't just be filler.

                                                                                                              1. re: jbontario

                                                                                                                yes, a cold latke is just filler, and a place that serves a cold latke should be ashamed.

                                                                                                              2. re: rubinow

                                                                                                                This is too funny!! You can't be seriously be complaining about a cold sandwich? Especally if you failed to ask for a hot one! Whos fault is that? That a novice deli visitors mistake.

                                                                                                                Next time try ASKING for the HOT SANDWICH, its right there on the MENU.

                                                                                                                Manny's sides vs Perry's?? This is another joke right? Lets see:

                                                                                                                Homemade Pasta salad
                                                                                                                Cole Slaw
                                                                                                                Potato Salad

                                                                                                                Potato Pancake
                                                                                                                Cottage Cheese
                                                                                                                Potato Chips
                                                                                                                Slaw or Potato Salad
                                                                                                                Cottage Cheese and Fruit
                                                                                                                Herring with Bread
                                                                                                                Small Dinner Salad

                                                                                                                I hear the end of round bell ringing, go off to your respective corners now. That was just too easy!! I just cant get over myself sometimes.. LOL

                                                                                                                1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                  I have to ASK for the good food? They won't just give it to me? That's shameful.

                                                                                                                  I'll give you that Manny's has a wider selection of sides and they're OK. But a side that's just OK won't make up for a just OK sandwich. I'd rather have a spectacular sandwich and a so-so side rather than a so-so side and a so-so sandwich. Besides, I don't think they make the kishke, which is what I usually get. It tastes much like the ones we buy at Passover. I'm curious to find out just what Manny's DOES make.

                                                                                                                  BTW: Manny's doesn't make their bread as you claim.

                                                                                                                  AND ANOTHER THING: (this thread goes back to 2006). The OP asked for good sturgeon, good lox etc. I realize that Perry's doesn't fit that description, but neither does Manny's. They have latkes, knishes, etc, but the bulk of their food really does resemble school food to me. Again, it has its charm, but I wouldn't stretch to call Manny's a "great" Jewish deli and it probably wouldn't satisfy the OP's original request.

                                                                                                                  1. re: rubinow

                                                                                                                    Please, Manny's was never a "great" Jewish deli, if we're talking iconic delis, many of which no longer exist (Rascal House (Miami), Second Ave (NYC), Famous (Phila)). It is, however, one of the last standing Jewish cafeterias, with deli/Jewish food et al, a kind which used to exist in many central urban areas.. The only other one I can come up with is Shapiro's in Indy, and in that respect it is a fairly unique establishment (By the way, I never had ox-tails like they serve at Manny's in my high-school cafeteria.) Along with a few other individual attributes -- hand-carved roast beef, boiled brisket sandwich (where else can you get that?), a solid cb'er, horse radish on most tables, an old-Chicago ambience and attitude -- it's worth, in my book, not only a visit, but a detour. Go elsewhere, tho, for your lox and sturgeon, and has anybody ever had their chopped liver?

                                                                                                                    By the way, as far as I know most of the great Jewish delis did not bake their own rye bread (and not all corned their own beef). They just made sure they had damned good suppliers.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jbw

                                                                                                                      I agree entirely with all that you've said. it's other posters who believe that Manny's is a "great" Jewish deli and that they do stupendous things like bake their own bread. I think your analysis is perfect, but, in my opinion, there's plenty of room for improvement at Manny's.

                                                                                                        4. The original Sam & Hy's was on the corner of Roosevelt & Keeler. I lived 2 blocks away on Keeler & Fillmore and would visit the place daily on my walk to Bryant School back in the early 50's. When they moved from the west side into Skokie on Dempster, Sam & Hy's was a regular stop from my home in Niles to my office in Evanston, especially since my uncle Jack was the deli man and would make me the largest corned beef sandwich on the north shore. I've since moved to southeastern Wisconsin, where I found the best corned beef sandwich at Jake' Deli & Benji's in Milwaukee. Both hand carve their corned beef and serve it on Miller's rye, which is very similar to the old Castle rye from the old days.

                                                                                                          1. One more very good Jewish deli hasn't been mentioned yet here, and those in the western suburbs will be particularly interested:

                                                                                                            Schmaltz Deli
                                                                                                            1512 North Naper Blvd. #152
                                                                                                            NE Corner of Ogden & Naper
                                                                                                            Naperville, IL 60563
                                                                                                            (630) 245-7595

                                                                                                            I believe it was originally called H. P. Schmaltz but it appears from their website that they now call themselves Schmaltz Deli. It's very good indeed! They used to have a second location in Downers Grove but that has closed. If you go there, note that it's in a strip mall and doesn't have a lot of visibility from the street, but it is indeed still there; if I recall correctly, it's directly behind a TGI Friday's.

                                                                                                            1. Brigsten's is new in Chicago Heights, and excellent! It's taken them a while to get their footing, but the food is good, service is prompt (for a deli), and the atmosphere is nice. Their chopped liver to delicious, and they have fantastic corned beef, pastrami, and lox.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: tzurriz

                                                                                                                >> Brigsten's is new in Chicago Heights, and excellent!

                                                                                                                Bergstein's (as it's properly spelled) has been in Chicago Heights since at least 2008.

                                                                                                                Bergstein's NY Delicatessen
                                                                                                                200 Dixie Highway
                                                                                                                Chicago Heights IL
                                                                                                                (708) 754-6400

                                                                                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                  and I made that post in 2009, when they were less than a year old, still qualified as "new" to me. Especially when compared with Kaufman's, Manny's, etc.

                                                                                                                  1. re: tzurriz

                                                                                                                    Good point!

                                                                                                                    And for those who are interested, Kaufman's has been around since 1955, and Manny's has been in its current location since 1964 (with family roots well before that - see their website). Steve's started in suburban Detroit in 1994 and opened in Chicago a few years ago.

                                                                                                              2. These days I split my deli visits between Kaufman's in Skokie and Steve's in River North. They both do great deli sandwiches; beyond that, each is good at certain things. Kaufman's has far more extensive baked goods - not only bagels, but caraway-loaded rye breads, as well as other breads and cakes. (If you like a more mild rye without tons of caraway, Steve's is excellent, especially if you give it a quick warmup/bake cycle.) Kaufman's has a nice selection of smoked fish and other items. Steve's does a terrific chicken pot pie and also their beef stuffed cabbage is outstanding. I really prefer the knishes at Steve's, with their ultra-thin crust; they're great. Kaufman's used to have a thick, doughy crust on their knishes but lately it's been somewhat thinner, and they have tried more varieties lately beyond the usual potato, kasha, etc. Kaufman's, of course, has free parking surrounding the deli; Steve's is convenient to public transportation (Merchandise Mart el stop) and offers free validated parking in the Petco/Ace lot behind the deli.

                                                                                                                Kaufman's had a fire a week or two ago and they're closed for at least the rest of the month. You can check their website at www.kaufmansdeli.com for a status update.

                                                                                                                Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen
                                                                                                                4905 Dempster St, Skokie, IL 60077

                                                                                                                Steve's Deli Chicago
                                                                                                                354 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654

                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                  nsxtasy, thanks for the bump and link in the other thread!

                                                                                                                  I am so mourning Kaufman's misfortune (and all of ours who are in their proximity.) I never took them for granted. I go by there all the time and see no sign of movement or progress from the outside at least.

                                                                                                                  No one, I mean no one, made a hot corned beef like Kaufman's.

                                                                                                                  Although I would love to hear current suggestions for my search.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jilter

                                                                                                                    I am a big fan of Romanian Kosher Sausage's corned beef - I think it is the best in the city.

                                                                                                                    They will make a sandwich and it is a great deal - I believe $5 but this is more of a butcher shop than a deli

                                                                                                                    1. re: jilter

                                                                                                                      Any word on Kaufman's re-opening?

                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                        I just called Kaufman's and they are not open yet, she said not for awhile. When I asked for an estimate she said probably a couple of months.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cajundave

                                                                                                                          Kaufman's has been providing regular updates on their website at www.kaufmansdeli.com which now says they will be opening this coming Monday.

                                                                                                                          1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                            Yesterday afternoon I went to the newly-reopened Kaufman's Deli in Skokie. If you loved it before, you'll love it again! But a few things are a little different, so here are some tips for those returning.

                                                                                                                            I should mention that they were doing a HUGE business yesterday afternoon, with three times as many customers in the store as I've ever seen there before. I'm sure it was a combination of factors - they've always been busy on Sundays, lots of people have been eager to return since they re-opened, and people were stocking up for food for that night's Bears game (whereas on most Sundays they would be home watching the Bears during the afternoon). In any case, they were staffed to handle it; they had maybe eight different people behind the deli counter calling numbers, so waits were not terribly long. They *were* running out of a few critical things (e.g. bagels) but again, I think that was due to the unusual circumstances yesterday afternoon.

                                                                                                                            If you drive there, you'll find that all the parking spaces in front of Kaufman's are gone. The rest of their lot, just east of Kaufman's, is still intact, but busy and often full. It appears that they are sharing the parking just west of their building, between them and the building with Papa John's pizza and Sinbad carpets. So as you're approaching the deli from the west, you may want to consider turning in *before* Kaufman's to use that part of the lot. There are also a few spaces directly behind (south of) their building. All these lots connect to each other via the alley behind the deli.

                                                                                                                            With the reconfiguration of the deli, it's not as clear what you're supposed to do when you enter. Previously, the deli part and the bakery part were relatively separate; you'd go to each part, get your stuff, and pay for it before going to the other part. Now, the deli counter is along the side wall, and the bakery counter is along the back wall. As it turns out, you take a number by the door, and a shopping basket (stacked by the door), and they call numbers at the deli counter. If you're only getting bakery goods, they can help you right away at the bakery counter. They told me that if you're getting both, the deli person who helps you is supposed to then go over to the bakery counter to get whatever baked goods you want... but truth be told, you can order stuff at the bakery counter any time you want. There are also self-service shelves and refrigerator and freezer cases just like there were before. But one major difference is, the people at the deli counter no longer "hand you and your stuff off" to the cashier; they just hand you your stuff and you can continue shopping using your shopping basket. Similarly, the people at the bakery counter just hand you your stuff and don't take your money; instead, you can continue shopping using your shopping basket. When you're ready to check out, you now walk over to the cashiers in the middle of the store with your basket for check-out. So the flow is a bit different (and a bit confusing, especially to regulars who were accustomed to the old flow).

                                                                                                                            Inside the deli, they now have limited seating, consisting of a few small conventional tables and a couple of high-tops. This is serve-yourself, where you can sit and eat after you have bought and paid for sandwiches or whatever.

                                                                                                                            It's great to have them open again!

                                                                                                                            Kaufman's Delicatessen and Bakery
                                                                                                                            4905 West Dempster
                                                                                                                            Skokie IL 60077

                                                                                                                            1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                              Got my pastrami fix last week. Welcome back, Kaufman's.

                                                                                                                      2. re: jilter

                                                                                                                        I stopped in to Bagels & Bialy's today on Dempster and Greenwood (in the shopping strip mall near Portillo's). I got a corned beef sandwich to go. Fresh rye, yellow mustard, warm thin-sliced corned beef (Vienna) stacked a good inch and a half thick. A little fat but overall it was very lean, not at all dry. Crisp garlicky dill on the side. A Dr. Brown's black cherry. 5 mini-bagels to go and we were good to go. I ate half of the sandwich and saved the other half. It was perfect!!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: twodales

                                                                                                                          Manny's is a joke. Terrible pastrami. At least you do get quantity, but at a hefty price. Ada's is not much better. Max's is OK, sort of. The Bagel is probably the best around. But for truly great pastrami, home made breads, smoked fish, etc, the best deli in Chicago is called Zingerman's. It's in a far eastern suburb - about four hour east, but worth the drive.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bsnprf

                                                                                                                            Sorry, I know the deli in Chicago is not as good as one might hope for, but Ann Arbor? Zingerman's is good, but way overpriced and IMO overrated.

                                                                                                                      3. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                        Steve's Deli has closed its Chicago location. :(

                                                                                                                        1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                          My husband and I enjoyed a stop at Ashkenaz Deli on a Chicago food tour where we had a really good hot pastrami sandwich on marble rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and their tangy homemade beet spread. In fact, this was my husband's favorite stop on the tour.


                                                                                                                          1. Askenaz Deli
                                                                                                                          2. Our Food Tour Guide
                                                                                                                          3. Marble Rye
                                                                                                                          4. Sandwich fixings, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, beet spread
                                                                                                                          5. Delicious Hot Pastrami

                                                                                                                          1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                            Very sad, that was my go-to place for hand-sliced nova.