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Dec 12, 2008 07:43 AM

Great Jewish Deli?

I am looking for a great deli - not really thrilled with Manny's. I just moved here from Michigan and so far nothing compares to Zingermans in Ann Arbor. Can anyone help? Thanks!

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  1. You'll find plenty of recommendations of Jewish delis in the huge discussion at

    You'll also find a few more suggestions for specific needs in these smaller discussions:
    Jewish deli style sandwiches -
    Pastrami -
    Pastrami -
    Pastrami -
    Corned beef -

    1. You're out of luck. Manny's would be at the top of my list (and it's by no means a high recommendation) and it's decidedly downhill from there.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ferret

        Amen. Manny's is not ersatz, but it's not great either. I have no idea why, but Jewish delis seem to have disappeared from chicago in the early 80's, possibly even earlier. When I arrived in 1970, there were two in the loop--no idea of name--on maybe Randolph or Washington and Madison mid-way between Franklin and State. I remember they had exquisite half-pickles and rye and every diner was served those plus a plate of cold sauerkraut for a starter. Of course the ultimate was the Ashkenaz on Morse avenue. It not only served great food but had a wonderful atmosphere--this was another country away from Chicago--and it was a beautiful place as well. Anyway, whatever the reason for their demise, they're gone and that's that. You're whistling Dixie if you expect to see a Jewish deli in Chicago. Sad, but I think absolutely true.

        1. re: Masonville

          >> You're whistling Dixie if you expect to see a Jewish deli in Chicago. Sad, but I think absolutely true.

          I disagree 100 percent. I live here and I frequently travel to New York. I would put Steve's and Kaufman's right up there with the best in Manhattan. They may not have the precise deli experience (the "shtick") of eating at a Jewish deli in New York, but their pastrami and corned beef sandwiches are every bit as good. And the experience at Kaufman's, which is carry-out only, is often very similar to the carry-out-only delis in the NYC area, with frequent ongoing repartee among the staff and customers. Go there a couple days before any Jewish holiday and you'll see for yourself!

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Even though it does not have a menu like kaufman's but I would also add check amosphere at Romanian Kosher Sausage before a Jewish holiday -

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

            1. re: nsxtasy

              It ain't the same. The corned beef and pastrami at 2nd Avenue in New York are light years beyond what we have here.

              1. re: ferret

                You're welcome to your opinion, but I've been to Second Avenue Deli in New York, and the corned beef and pastrami at Steve's and Kaufman's are just as good. We'll just have to agree to disagree!

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Maybe it's the ambiance in New York. IMO Kauman's comes close but Steve's, while good in a pinch, just isn't the same.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    Maybe not Steve's for the ambiance, agreed. But their sandwiches and cold cuts are awesome. (And the knishes, and the chicken pot pie, and the stuffed cabbage, and...)

        2. I have not been to Steve's Deli, so I can't comment on it, but it IS from Michigan and it just opened up here. It doesn't look like a Zingerman's, though...but not much compares to Zingerman's, right?

          One friend of mine went to Steve's and loved it. Another went and thought it was lousy.

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

          1. I was not particularly impressed with Zingerman's, and I think Chicago's best delis compare favorably. However, I found some other delis in the Detroit area (notably Deli Unique; I've also heard good things about Star Deli and Steve's) which are the best Jewish delis I've been to west of the Delaware River.

            1. I went to school in Michigan and remember Zingerman's. The ones around here are a little different, Zingerman's had the advantage of having really fresh breads and other ingredients.
              My personal favourite here is The Bagel on Broadway, they have a full menu of noshes like kreplach, latke, blitnzes, etc. I am partial to their Mish-Mash soup, which has matzo balls, noodles, kreplach, rice, and kasha -- it's a meal onto itself.
              Or if you are wanting some place "interesting" rather than "authentic" try the Eleven City Diner. It is not Kosher (they have pork and shrimp) but they have a very neat atmosphere, complete with a soda fountain and some great desserts. Though, this is more of a diner place than a lunch place like the Bagel or Zimmerman's.

              The bagel
              3107 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657

              Eleven City Diner
              1112 S Wabash Ave Frnt 2, Chicago, IL 60605