While Chicago may not have the famous deli lore of, say, a New York, at least we’ve got Manny’s. And that’s pretty special. Easily one of the most essential dining experiences in the city, this South Loop staple has been churning out latkes, matzo ball soup, and mile-high Reuben sandwiches since 1964. Since its inception, this sprawling cafeteria has been family-run (founded by Jack Raskin, who named it after his son Emanuel), with time-tested recipes that have passed through subsequent generations. And that renown endures for customers new and old, who load up their trays with beef brisket, corned beef, and pastrami sandwiches so hilariously huge that they’re really more like mountains of shaved meat with a bread garnish. In true cafeteria form, the menu is dizzying, with a rotating roster of sides, entrees, and sweets, like rice pudding, meatloaf, mac & cheese, and knishes, just to scratch the surface.
How to book: In addition to dine-in on a first come, first served basis, Manny’s offers both delivery and takeout via Toast.
If you’ve never had a Manny’s experience, you really don’t know what you’re missing. The old-school cafeteria has long been a neighborhood hub for standout soups, salads, sides, and hefty deli sandwiches like the What Am I, Chopped Liver? (layers of housemade corned beef topped with melt-in-your-mouth chopped liver) and the My Four Kinder with, no joke, four different types of meat: corned beef, pastrami, brisket, and turkey pastrami. For an extra treat, rise, shine, and get in line for Manny’s famous hot breakfast, served only on Saturdays and Sundays until noon.
How to order: Stop by for counter service.