Jewish Delis, also known as a delikatessen, or delicatessen, first originated in Germany in the 18th century and later popped up in the US in the 19th century. Typically, you’ll find a whole fare of traditional food to choose from (Like matzo-ball soup, bagels, and lox, noodle kugel, pastrami on rye, potato knish, and cheese blintzes) at a deli.
For all the Chicago-based matzo-ball soup lovers out there, read on for a list of the tastiest Jewish delis in the area, along with where you can find your new favorite nosh. Here are the best Jewish delis in Chicago:
1. Sam and Gertie’s
A vegan Jewish deli sounds incredible. Their matzo ball soup is amazing and their babka is divine. PS: They’re only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm, so plan accordingly.
Address: 1309 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
2. Eleven City Diner
Casual, retro, and teeming with knick-knacks galore, Eleven City Diner is as compelling visually as it is menu-wise. The expansive offerings are as delicious as they look, from the decadent shakes to the stacked deli counter and candy section. Whether you try out a scrumptious matzo brei, a lox plate, or go with one of the stacked rye bread masterpieces, you’ll leave this bustling downtown spot feeling happy and full!
Address: 1112 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
3. Steingold’s of Chicago
They know how to do an everything bagel the right way and their matzo ball soup is the thing of dreams. You have to try it for yourself, but odds are, you’ll love it, too. They have an appetizer deli box option available for monthly delivery so you can enjoy Steingolds of Chicago on hand from the comfort of your home.
Address: 3737 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
4. Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen
This no-frills cafeteria has been serving up all the normal deli foods since 1942. The restaurant itself feels a bit like you’re stepping back in time in a good way. They also have a Passover menu for those looking to celebrate the Jewish holiday in April.
Address: 1141 South Jefferson Street Chicago, IL
5. Morry’s Deli
Known for their hearty sandwiches, Morry’s Deli & Drink has been around for over 50 years. Plus, it purports to have The Best Corned Beef Sandwich in the area. Try it out and let me know what you think.
Address: 5500 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
6. Max & Benny’s
Max & Benny’s wants you to grab hold of the DELIciousness, and how could you not? Stop by the deli counter on the way home from work for an extra scrumptious snack, or rent out the event space for a celebration. Named after their two sons, Rhea and Lester Schlan have been running this deli for nearly thirty years in Northbrook, IL. Everything from hamantashen to cheese blintzes and more populate the menu, with Shabbat dinner boxes and at-home bagel-making kits for anyone interested.
Address: 461 Waukegan Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062
7. Half Sour
Half Sour has some truly incredible bagels (and a great brunch menu) but is missing items like kasha varnishkes or blintzes, which we can deal with because they do have latkes and their atmosphere is top-notch. PS: They also have a speakeasy open at night and comedy shows on Thursday.
Address: 755 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605
8. The Bagel Restaurant
This eclectic deli has a wide variety of options from noodle kugel to liver and onions, along with Mandel bread, and rugelach. A consistent favorite for those residing in the area, The Bagel serves up delightful hot soup, toasted bagels, and dessert options galore!
Address: 3107 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 6065
9. Kaufman’s Bagel & Delicatessen
Known for being homemade and inherently traditional, Kaufman’s resides outside of Chicago… but it boasts a dedicated deli counter featuring in-house smoked pastrami and a variety of lox options, so it’s totally worth the drive. I’d recommend their kreplach, though I’m taking my mom for kasha varnishkes next time she visits.
Address: 4905 W. Dempster St., Skokie IL, 60077
10. J.B.’s Deli
Located in quaint Andersonville, this deli/pharmacy situation brings together all the Jewish rites of passage. As in, you can enjoy a latke and then go on shop for some Pepcid right across the aisle. They also have halva, which is a plus, alongside an expansive dessert selection.
Address: 5501 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
Finally, I must give a special shout-out to Rye Deli & Drink. Located in West Loop, Rye Deli & Drink is currently on a hiatus for now. Upon its reopening, expect to see me situated in a booth enjoying a handmade bagel platter and a cup of coffee. Their menu combines new-age flair that still honors old-world techniques.