kaufman's deli

4905 W. Dempster, Skokie, IL, USA

I was out and about in Skokie when the ol' lunchtime bell rang and I was like, "Ooh! Hey stomach, how about Johnnie's Beef?" My stomach looked at the map and was like, "Great idea, knob-bobbler! Now how about something that doesn't entail an all-afternoon round trip?"

He's funny like that, my stomach. Being a map enthusiast and all. So I pulled into Portillo's (which neither me nor my stomach really loves) where, to my amazement, just as I was about to park, a school bus pulled right in front of me and let out about 300 kids. It was like a sign from God saying "Sure, you can eat here, knob-bobbler! If you want to wait for-fucking-ever to order!" Funny how non-Biblical some of God's signs are!

kaufman's deli

That's when I realized, "Well fuck a duck! I'm near Kaufman's! Kaufman's has been a Skokie classic forever, though I think it burned down at one point and I'm not sure I'd ever been to the new building. So I had my stomach set the ol' Rand McNally RouteFinder™ software to Kaufman's. It was like 500 yards away, but like everyone these days, I can't get enough of Rand McNally RouteFinder™ on my GPS-enabled Garmin® handheld mapping device.

The ordering process was pretty disorganized, and the clientele in general seemed grumpy and irritated. Granted, this is a very tried-and-true New York-style deli in the middle of a very Jewish neighborhood, so maybe the vibe I was picking up on was merely "old Jews at a deli."

kaufman's pastrami on rye

Lean pastrami on rye with cole slaw and mustard, $11.99 with tax. ($1.00 extra for cole slaw! Man, this place really … hm, is there a term for "nickels-and-dimes-you" that isn't so prosaic?) In retrospect I kind of wished I'd had them do it up like Langer's #19 (with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing), but it never would have been as good as Langer's #19. As it was, it was pretty freakin' delish.

I like how they let you order your meat in various levels of fattiness (including one that semi-jokingly advises you to "check with your doctor first"). This is much like a brothel I once frequented until they ran out of obese.

Review by Pumboo Dongo-Dohnoh, February 2020