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Kaufman's Deli/Bakery in Skokie

Kaufman's Deli/Bakery in Skokie
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  • Post #91 - November 2nd, 2012, 8:50 pm
    Post #91 - November 2nd, 2012, 8:50 pm Post #91 - November 2nd, 2012, 8:50 pm
    Mr. Maki, who drives past Kaufman's on his commute, reports that he's seen people who weren't obviously staff or construction people inside the building in the past couple of days...soft opening?
  • Post #92 - November 3rd, 2012, 11:45 am
    Post #92 - November 3rd, 2012, 11:45 am Post #92 - November 3rd, 2012, 11:45 am
    Mr. Maki, who drives past Kaufman's on his commute, reports that he's seen people who weren't obviously staff or construction people inside the building in the past couple of days...soft opening?


    No, emphatically. According to the message on Kaufman's voicemail, Monday, 11/5 is the firm reopening date.
  • Post #93 - November 3rd, 2012, 11:49 am
    Post #93 - November 3rd, 2012, 11:49 am Post #93 - November 3rd, 2012, 11:49 am
    abe_froeman wrote:Mr. Maki, who drives past Kaufman's on his commute, reports that he's seen people who weren't obviously staff or construction people inside the building in the past couple of days...soft opening?

    I believe so, though they are clearly not open to the public just yet. But I drove by a couple of times this week and there were people in there who appeared to be buying food and noshing a bit. :D

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #94 - November 3rd, 2012, 4:37 pm
    Post #94 - November 3rd, 2012, 4:37 pm Post #94 - November 3rd, 2012, 4:37 pm
    Hi- I know somebody who eat there a few days ago. She said that she did not care for the food, but she is a really fussy eater. I think that she had some corned beef. She said that they were giving out cookies too. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #95 - November 4th, 2012, 7:40 pm
    Post #95 - November 4th, 2012, 7:40 pm Post #95 - November 4th, 2012, 7:40 pm
    The thing that I find curious is that (up to this point) there is no signage in the window or on the exterior wall indicating the name of the place! A neon Kaufman's sign, on an interior wall, is only visible to people who are directly in front of the store.

    If I were the owner, after being closed for a year, I would want the name of my business to be more prominent and visible.
    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #96 - November 4th, 2012, 7:57 pm
    Post #96 - November 4th, 2012, 7:57 pm Post #96 - November 4th, 2012, 7:57 pm
    cito wrote:If I were the owner, after being closed for a year, I would want the name of my business to be more prominent and visible.


    Based on my own personal experience with signage in the Village of Skokie, it's entirely possible that Kaufman's is waiting for a permit to install the sign. Of course that might not be the issue at all, but historically hanging a sign in Skokie is a more difficult undertaking than one would imagine.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #97 - November 4th, 2012, 8:09 pm
    Post #97 - November 4th, 2012, 8:09 pm Post #97 - November 4th, 2012, 8:09 pm
    stevez wrote:Of course that might not be the issue at all, but historically hanging a sign in Skokie is a more difficult undertaking than one would imagine.


    In retrospect, you're probably correct. I've lived in Skokie for 30 years, and, in my experience-- getting a root canal is generally more pleasurable than dealing with Village Hall.
    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #98 - November 7th, 2012, 5:59 pm
    Post #98 - November 7th, 2012, 5:59 pm Post #98 - November 7th, 2012, 5:59 pm
    Open for three days and no reports!!!???
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #99 - November 7th, 2012, 6:54 pm
    Post #99 - November 7th, 2012, 6:54 pm Post #99 - November 7th, 2012, 6:54 pm
    On my way to catch the Swift, I stuck my nose in there yesterday for a few minutes. It's definitely different than the previous version. Dark wood flooring, rather dim lighting. I was the only customer.

    Basically, it's one large space. The deli section is along the east wall. Bakery stuff along the south wall. Coolers with prepackaged stuff along the west wall. A couple of wire shelves/racks in the middle with assorted dry goods. I think there was a counter along the north window facing Dempster along with a few chairs.

    My one quick observation of the signboard behind the deli for sandwiches - wow. The prices are higher than what's listed on their website.

    I didn't get a chance to ask anyone about the lack of signage. You'd think they'd at least put a paper banner in the window or something.

    I'll make another visit in the near future to get more details.
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #100 - November 7th, 2012, 7:30 pm
    Post #100 - November 7th, 2012, 7:30 pm Post #100 - November 7th, 2012, 7:30 pm
    I just called them to congratulate them on their reopening and confirm their hours. Still 7-7. I'll be there sometime in the next week, I'm sure.
    Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce
  • Post #101 - November 8th, 2012, 12:56 am
    Post #101 - November 8th, 2012, 12:56 am Post #101 - November 8th, 2012, 12:56 am
    Co-workers picked up some items there on Tuesday. Unfortunately, arriving at 11 a.m. resulted in a 45 minute wait for them. Being day 2, it's likely they were still getting up to speed.

    Warm corned beef and pastrami brought back to the office were both really tasty.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #102 - November 12th, 2012, 12:06 pm
    Post #102 - November 12th, 2012, 12:06 pm Post #102 - November 12th, 2012, 12:06 pm
    I stopped in to the new Kaufman's on Friday to check the place out and have some lunch. First, let me report that outdoor signage is now prominently displayed on the west side of the building and, from the looks of things, a similar sign is soon to appear on the east side as well. That should ease the concerns of the dozen or so people who don't know where Kaufman's is located.

    The Kaufman's experience is now completely different that that of the past. Once your number is called (machine located right next to the door as you walk in) you place your entire order for both the deli section and the bagel/bread section at the same time. There are no longer two different rooms separating the two arms of the business as in the past. Checkout is now right in the middle of the room, which can create a bit of a traffic jam when they are busy, even though there are now two checkout lines.
    As for the food, everything seems to be pretty much the same. My corned beef sandwich on corn rye was as good as I remember. It's great to have Kaufman's back in action!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #103 - November 17th, 2012, 8:50 am
    Post #103 - November 17th, 2012, 8:50 am Post #103 - November 17th, 2012, 8:50 am
    I had very much been looking forward to Kaufman's re-opening, and went in there early last Sunday (around 8:30) for bagels, lox, and lunchmeats. It was already busy at that time -- there were nigh on 40 of us in there, and we were all SO HAPPY that Kaufman's was open again. There was a distinct vibrancy of the crowd milling around browsing all of the new options and then engaging in our old/new routine of ordering bagels, fish, and meat.

    The layout is extremely different from the former one. The renovated interior space is a generic large open box -- favored these days to provide flexibility for easy internal reconfiguration of casework and equipment. The black walls and ceiling feel a bit flat and impersonal, but this is of small matter as the essence of the place -- the deli-ness -- comes from the large standing cases for bakery, meat, fish, and dry goods. Plus they have maintained the three large pickle barrels, and have added a wall of large reach-in fridges and freezers for dairy goods, soups, etc., along with a few tables so that it is now possible to eat inside the deli.

    The bakery options seem substantially expanded. I found the bagels better than the ones they had previously -- slightly lighter and more airy but with the same essential flavor. There is now a larger variety of sweet bakery items -- cookies, rugalach, cakes, etc. I guess this is the result of the connection to the Imperial Bakery that caused some confusion in the signage? (From the north, the most obvious exterior sign is a neon for Imperial Bakery, while the larger Kaufman's sign is on the west side of the building). There are also breads and other things that I didn't explore.

    The selection of cold cuts and fish is similar to the prior operation, and certainly provides a good version of every one of the classic staples. Again I found the quality actually a bit better than their prior offerings. Perhaps my feelings of this were influenced by nostalgia and six months of anticipation, but I don't think that's the case -- my palate is good and I actually found the fish fresher and tastier. It'd be interesting to know if they have moved up to higher-quality suppliers and/or tweaked recipes, or perhaps it was because all of the products are even fresher than normal because of the recent re-opening. In the deli selection, they also provide a range of sides and salads, most (or all?) made on-site. Try the whitefish salad if you haven't already. It is relatively inexpensive, provides an essential fish flavor with smoky overtones mellowed by creaminess, and is a nice alternative to lox and cream cheese.

    There are some inefficiencies in the new operation that will hopefully get worked out over time. The staff of around a half-dozen in the deli were a bit overwhelmed by the crowd, and made things more difficult for themselves by not strictly following the ticket numbering system. Each deli person seemed to use their own system in trying to identify the right person to serve. Also the counter is very long now and they had a hard time keeping track of the customer they were helping and getting all of the resulting tasty products together for check out. They are also trying to have the deli staff also help customers with bagels, but you should not attempt that. I took a number for the deli, got my bagels at the bagel counter and cream cheese (house-made!) from the dairy case and half-cured pickles from the pickle barrel, browsed the dry goods, and then still had 10 minutes before I could get my lox and pastrami. Finally the dry goods racks and cashier stations are too close to the deli counter, so the milling crowd was continuously backing into the check-out line. Nonetheless, these were all relatively minor issues and the crowd -- again being SO HAPPY that Kaufman's is back -- rearranged ourselves as needed with good grace and humor to accommodate the slight back-of-house confusion and make sure the acquisition of uber-tasty fresh deli food progressed in a continuous if slightly chaotic fashion.

    Overall -- Kaufman's is back better than before! I hope the community will support it. It really should be a staple option for everyone on the North Shore who enjoys this type of food.
  • Post #104 - November 17th, 2012, 11:16 am
    Post #104 - November 17th, 2012, 11:16 am Post #104 - November 17th, 2012, 11:16 am
    I was there last Sunday too, but in the afternoon. They were still doing a great business, with lots of customers inside (not 40, but 15-25, which is a lot). I'm sure that was due to a combination of factors - Sunday is a busy day anyway, pent-up demand from having been closed (and people wanting to give them business now), and people buying food for dinners and parties while watching the Bears game that night. They had about 8 people behind the deli counter, and waits to be served weren't bad, only a few minutes. By mid-afternoon when I was there, they had run out of all their bagels except the sweet flavors.

    One other difference from before is the parking. 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, so if one area is full, you don't have to get back onto Dempster to get to another one.
  • Post #105 - November 17th, 2012, 7:55 pm
    Post #105 - November 17th, 2012, 7:55 pm Post #105 - November 17th, 2012, 7:55 pm
    I drove down Dempster today, and Kaufman's now has large, prominent exterior signs facing both north and west. So no one should be confused about the location any longer.
  • Post #106 - November 18th, 2012, 9:06 pm
    Post #106 - November 18th, 2012, 9:06 pm Post #106 - November 18th, 2012, 9:06 pm
    The bakery options seem substantially expanded. I found the bagels better than the ones they had previously -- slightly lighter and more airy but with the same essential flavor. There is now a larger variety of sweet bakery items -- cookies, rugalach, cakes, etc. I guess this is the result of the connection to the Imperial Bakery that caused some confusion in the signage? (From the north, the most obvious exterior sign is a neon for Imperial Bakery, while the larger Kaufman's sign is on the west side of the building). There are also breads and other things that I didn't explore


    Kaufman's previously had a large bakery selection, but you had to make a choice - go right for bakery and left for deli. I didn't think the bakery options are different than before. They always had several kinds of rye (corn rye, yum), challah, pumpernickel, white, etc., as well as cakes, cookies, pastries, cupcakes. I'm looking forward to Chanukah sufganiyot again this year!

    I thought the bagels were substantially the same as well. The continued to bake the same bagels at another location for sale at Jewel and other retailers while the deli was closed. The bagels are smallish and quite delicious when fresh, although like any bagel they go stale quickly.

    I'm happy they are back, and have already been there twice! I highly recommend the smoked whitefish salad. All the whitefish is smoked on premises, and its delicious.

    To avoid lines, call ahead with your order and pick it at the register.
    "You should eat!"
  • Post #107 - November 21st, 2012, 9:29 am
    Post #107 - November 21st, 2012, 9:29 am Post #107 - November 21st, 2012, 9:29 am
    Franabanana wrote:I didn't think the bakery options are different than before.

    Bakery items I've seen since they re-opened, that I don't recall seeing in many years of going there before the fire, include black and whites, eclairs, napoleons, various types of lattice-crusted pies, oreo cheesecake, green (mint?) cheesecake, large carrot cakes, small almond blueberry/raspberry tarts, almond horns, almond crescent cookies, and Mexican wedding cookies.

    Incidentally, I tried several of the new items they never had before, and they were very impressive! I got a small blueberry-almond tart, and I thought it was outstanding, on a par with the best places for that kind of thing (e.g. Three Tarts Bakery and Gourmet Frog), with a great pate sucre crust and almond filling. The almond horn (that's what they're called on the East Coast; Kaufman's calls it an "almond horseshoe") was also outstanding; this is an almond-paste based pastry in a horseshoe shape with the ends dipped in chocolate. The black and white was interesting - pretty good, although a bit different from the traditional East Coast black and white - larger, thicker, less round, not quite as sweet, with the coating more like a thin layer of actual chocolate (including white chocolate) rather than the traditional icing.

    Franabanana wrote:I thought the bagels were substantially the same as well.

    I agree.
  • Post #108 - November 25th, 2012, 7:42 pm
    Post #108 - November 25th, 2012, 7:42 pm Post #108 - November 25th, 2012, 7:42 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:One other difference from before is the parking. 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, so if one area is full, you don't have to get back onto Dempster to get to another one.

    They now have a sign on Kaufman's front door warning not to park in the lot of the currency exchange next door to the east, noting that they tow non-customers (including Kaufman's customers).
  • Post #109 - November 26th, 2012, 4:56 pm
    Post #109 - November 26th, 2012, 4:56 pm Post #109 - November 26th, 2012, 4:56 pm
    They now have a sign on Kaufman's front door warning not to park in the lot of the currency exchange next door to the east, noting that they tow non-customers (including Kaufman's customers).


    Another parking note: You can access the parking lot in back via an alley just south of Dempster, either on Bronx Ave or Niles Center Rd. Dempster is a divided road so you can't make a left turn from Dempster (heading west). Instead, turn left on Niles Center and take the first right into the alley.
    "You should eat!"
  • Post #110 - November 26th, 2012, 6:29 pm
    Post #110 - November 26th, 2012, 6:29 pm Post #110 - November 26th, 2012, 6:29 pm
    I went back and picked up some more stuff on Sunday and, for the first time in a while, I included some bagels in my order. I've got to say that bagels seem to have taken a more than small step up from what I remember. In my mind, they are now giving NYB&B a run for your money and I no longer feel the need to make two stops for my lox & bagel supplies. I'll gladly get everything from Kaufman's.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #111 - December 3rd, 2012, 1:35 am
    Post #111 - December 3rd, 2012, 1:35 am Post #111 - December 3rd, 2012, 1:35 am
    Friday lunch Kaufman's was a zoo, 20 deep at the deli counter, 8-9 in line for bakery and at least a dozen people eating at the various tables. No one was aggravated, but when you have a cute as knish altacocker taking 20-minutes, literally, to order 1/2/lb of lox, corned beef and three pickles and a line of tie/hammer/badge/hat customers waiting 30-40 minutes for a sandwich something is going to give, at least after the "happy you are open" grace period runs it course.

    I suggest a separate sandwich line, at least at lunch time.

    Aside from taking over an hour for my bakery/deli purchases I thought Kaufman's had not missed a beat product wise, still the best rye, corn rye to be specific, in Chicagoland, love the prune/poppy seed cake and can't wait for Saint Paddy's day so I can order green bagels.

    Regards,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #112 - December 3rd, 2012, 8:35 am
    Post #112 - December 3rd, 2012, 8:35 am Post #112 - December 3rd, 2012, 8:35 am
    At the old Kaufman's, they did NOT make the round onion bialys that I grew so fond of when I worked next to Manny's on Jefferson, at which time I found out that Kenny Raskin got them (at least at that time) from NY Bagels & Bialys.

    Do they have them now? If not, I will still continue to frequent NYB&B.
  • Post #113 - December 4th, 2012, 2:46 pm
    Post #113 - December 4th, 2012, 2:46 pm Post #113 - December 4th, 2012, 2:46 pm
    A nice interview with Kaufman's owner on Grubstreet: http://chicago.grubstreet.com/2012/12/k ... rview.html
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #114 - December 28th, 2012, 6:18 pm
    Post #114 - December 28th, 2012, 6:18 pm Post #114 - December 28th, 2012, 6:18 pm
    Holy cow, their danish is fantastic. I bought a bunch of them this morning and I just sat down to one now. They could have baked it ten minutes ago, it was that tender and soft still, and loaded with cherries in the middle.

    Update: I was eating these three days later, and they still tasted fresh.
    Last edited by Pie Lady on January 16th, 2013, 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
    Read "Cooking for One" at Literary Orphans via my author page.

    Late-Nite Eats Database
  • Post #115 - January 16th, 2013, 10:52 am
    Post #115 - January 16th, 2013, 10:52 am Post #115 - January 16th, 2013, 10:52 am
    I finally visited the place last night at 6:30 (half an hour before closing). There were a few people in line and the number system was way off-the board displayed #85 and I had #1. But the line of about 4 people moved quickly. Prices of the corned beef are slightly higher. I saw 'Drekel" posted for $9.99 lb. and had never heard of it-despite going here for over 20 years. The same was true for the lady who was ahead of me so her counterperson nicely explained what it was-the top portion that is more fatty. I had always bought extra lean but was game to try something new and frankly, cheaper. It was delicious. My counterperson was not friendly at all and tried to sell me a half a loaf of rye without seeds as it was already pre-sliced. I wanted seeds and a new loaf was sliced. The cashier was superfriendly to a familiar customer and when I told her I had never heard of drekel 9 and was anxious to try it she curtly replied that it was always available and posted at the old store. I really do not remember this but I could be wrong. The bakery area seemed cramped and I suspect with crowds it would be difficult to see all of the offerings. The freezer/fridge display cases along the wall seem to dominate the place. I never really liked Kaufman's frozen/chilled offerings so this was not an improvement for me. I think the layout for customers who desire both bakery and deli would be a PIA when crowded. I will still go back but at off hours.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #116 - January 16th, 2013, 11:11 am
    Post #116 - January 16th, 2013, 11:11 am Post #116 - January 16th, 2013, 11:11 am
    Elfin wrote:The cashier was superfriendly to a familiar customer and when I told her I had never heard of drekel 9 and was anxious to try it she curtly replied that it was always available and posted at the old store. I really do not remember this but I could be wrong.


    It's deckel (not drekel, which could have a negative context as a Yiddish/English hybrid) and it has always been available. Their "normal" cut is half point and half deckel, so you get some of the good fatty parts in every bite.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #117 - April 28th, 2013, 7:35 pm
    Post #117 - April 28th, 2013, 7:35 pm Post #117 - April 28th, 2013, 7:35 pm
    stevez wrote:I went back and picked up some more stuff on Sunday and, for the first time in a while, I included some bagels in my order. I've got to say that bagels seem to have taken a more than small step up from what I remember. In my mind, they are now giving NYB&B a run for your money and I no longer feel the need to make two stops for my lox & bagel supplies. I'll gladly get everything from Kaufman's.

    Today was the first time I've tried Kaufman's bagels in years. Though I have enjoyed other of their breads, I've never been a fan of their bagels. And while I liked a number of the other items I tried today, I still do not like their bagels. First, there's too little in the way of a crisp crust that a good bagel should have. Second, they're a little too airy/bread-like (too much yeast). In my opinion, a good bagel should be denser and with some good chew. Finally, I found the bagels had very little flavor (other than the toppings). In fact, although the pumpernickel bagel was dark, it had so little of the flavor that makes pumpernickel so delicious. (I had bites of sesame and rye too).

    On the plus side, I like the design of the re-opened Kaufman's quite a bit and I'm still a big fan of much of what they have. But there's no way I will be buying any bagels from them again. I'll stick with NYB&B (and occasionally making them at home).
  • Post #118 - April 28th, 2013, 7:37 pm
    Post #118 - April 28th, 2013, 7:37 pm Post #118 - April 28th, 2013, 7:37 pm
    Their lentil soup with hotdog pieces in it is awesome.

    Does anyone know how the lines have been around lunchtime lately? Right after they re-opened it was nearly impossible to get in and out in a reasonable amount of time at lunch. Has that changed at all?

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #119 - April 28th, 2013, 8:47 pm
    Post #119 - April 28th, 2013, 8:47 pm Post #119 - April 28th, 2013, 8:47 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Their lentil soup with hotdog pieces in it is awesome.

    Does anyone know how the lines have been around lunchtime lately? Right after they re-opened it was nearly impossible to get in and out in a reasonable amount of time at lunch. Has that changed at all?

    =R=

    I grabbed a sandwich at around 11:15 one day last week. In and out in about 15 minutes.
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #120 - November 8th, 2013, 2:43 pm
    Post #120 - November 8th, 2013, 2:43 pm Post #120 - November 8th, 2013, 2:43 pm
    Very little line at all for a sandwich at 11:45 on a Friday. I tried the New York Special: chopped liver, corned beef, horseradish, and red onion. The chopped chicken liver skewed too sweet for my taste, but everything else was good. I think one is best off with a standard corned beef sandwich at this place. I appreciated the freshness of the bread I chose, their basic rye.

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