Kaufman's Deli in Skokie is Open Again

Kaufman's Deli in Skokie reopened in 2012 after a fire in 2011
It's been quite a journey for Bette and Judy Dworkin, the mother-daughter team behind Kaufman's Deli, since their fire in 2011, but the deli is back and better than ever. At the same time, it hasn't changed much. Sure the digs are nicer and more accessible (hooray for public restrooms!) and they've added tables for casual dining noshing, but the classic deli food is still the same.

And that's a good thing.

Corned beef just hasn't been the same without Kaufman's. I've made a couple of my own (meh) and my mom bought a holiday tray or two from another deli when Kaufman's was rebuilding, but the texture, the flavor, the thickness of the slices, the love--something just wasn't right.

My tween has been asking for corned beef in recent months and my answer has remained the same, "Wait until Kaufman's is open."

It's not just the corned beef, but a the salami sticks, the chopped liver, the handmade gefilte fish, the frozen soups and side salads, not to mention breads, the classic challah and BAGELS! Yum!

Kaufman's also has plenty of baked goods, including pastries, cookiesnd cakes.

I'm envisioning filling the place with my boys and their cousins over Thanksgiving break.

The thing I missed most (after the corned beef and bagels), was the old-fashioned pickle barrels. I'm so glad these are back. Kaufman's is the best placed for new pickles--ones with a delicate flavor because they haven't been chillaxing in the brine for so long. You pick 'em right of the barrel yourself. (Please use tongs.)

I think the paper signs are temporary, but they had them in the old place, so who knows? What I tried to capture below was the fresher, more modern aspects of the deli menu- things like couscous salad and other lighter, fresher, not to mention vegetarian sides.

As I mentioned above, they still offer the classic deli items like large, overstuffed sandwiches. I need to loosen my belt just to write about Bubbie's Kitchen Sink, a number that contains five(!) types of meat and runs almost $15. Sounds pricey, but you might be able to feed half your family with it.

The new Kaufman's isn't quite as bold and new as I expected, and yet, it's just right. During my visit, I felt like I was visiting with old friends--and I don't mean the staff, though some of the old crew have returned--I mean the bagels and chopped liver.

I probably should get out more often. At any rate, corned beef for dinner tonight!

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