Manny’s Coffee Shop

Cafeteria | Delicatessen | Jewish
One of the best

Manny’s Coffee Shop and Deli is at the edge of Chicago’s loop, not far from where the everything-goes bazaar known as Maxwell Street once thrived. Maxwell Street is tame today, but the restaurant Manny Raskin opened just after the Second World War bursts with the personality of downtown Chicago. A big, cafeteria-style eatery frequented by cops and wise guys, politicians and business people, and cured-meat lovers from the distant suburbs, Manny’s is one of Chicago’s grandest eating experiences.

“Step around for corned beef!” calls Ken Raskin, Manny’s son, to the hundreds of customers who crowd through the line at lunch hour, “Step around for sandwiches and latkes.”

Corned beef sandwiches are Manny’s signature dish. Gino Gambarota, Manny’s corned beef man for as long as anyone can remember, will cut the meat the way you like it — lean, fatty, or regular — but he will not cut it thick. “The art of cutting corned beef is to cut it as thin as possible, and against the grain,” Gino says. His slices are shaved so thin they verge on disintegration; but they stay intact and miraculously succulent.

Handfuls of this magnificent meat are stuffed into sandwiches so large that many customers eat one half and take the other back to the office. When a diminutive woman in a business suit asks Gino if he can make her only half a sandwich, he sasses back, “Lady, this isn’t Highland Park!” (Highland Park is a hoity-toity suburb on the North Shore.) The sandwiches get made and sold so quickly that during busy mealtimes Gino always sets up four or five ready-made with a potato pancake on the plate, so customers in a hurry can bypass the hot food at the beginning of the cafeteria line and nab what they want without fuss at the sandwich counter. No prepared sandwich remains on the counter longer than forty-five seconds before a customer speeds past and pulls it down onto a tray.

There is a huge menu beyond corned beef, including daily specials by which many Chicagoans arrange their culinary week. Monday, count on corned beef hash, stuffed green peppers, and breaded veal chops. Wednesday is the day for chicken pot pie or turkey drumsticks and mushroom barley soup. Friday is fried smelts, perch, and macaroni day. Thursday is a thrilling day for oxtail stew aficionados because Ken Raskin can make only a limited amount, which usually sells out by noon.

What to Eat
Manny’s Coffee Shop, Corned Beef Sandwich
Corned Beef Sandwich
No human jaw can stretch wide enough to eat this pile of corned beef between slices of bread like a normal sandwich. We watched it sliced, and it was still good and warm when we slathered on the mustard and started eating with knife, fork, and fingers.
Manny’s Coffee Shop, Blintzes
Manny's sells blintzes by the piece. One or two make a side dish for meat; three or four, with sour cream and apple sauce, are a dandy meal.
Manny’s Coffee Shop, Matzoh Ball Soup
Matzoh Ball Soup
Matzoh Ball Soup: a wonderful way to begin a meal, especially on a cool day.
Manny’s Coffee Shop, Apple Slice
Apple Slice
This is an oh-so-sweet pastry known as an 'apple slice.' It was good but, frankly, we were a little jealous of tablemate Bill Daley, who got vanilla pudding and declared it 'the real thing!'
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday9:30am - 3:30pm
Monday9:30am - 3:30pm
Tuesday9:30am - 8pm
Wednesday9:30am - 8pm
Thursday9:30am - 8pm
Friday9:30am - 8pm
Saturday9:30am - 8pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
10 stops | 145 MILES | 3 hr 32 min

A road trip along the the southwest shore of Lake Michigan offers a wild taste-buds adventure (assuming you can get out of Chicago with any appetite remaining ... but that's another story). This trip starts with a great corned beef sandwich at the edge of the Chicago Loop and ends with two corned beef sandwich…

12 stops | 59 MILES | 2 hr 6 min

If you are looking for a true taste of Chicago -- eating experiences that are unique to the city or at their very best here -- savor these memorable Roadfood favorites. They range from humble donut shops to grand steak dinners and of course include Chicago's magnificent hot dogs, deep-dish pizza, and the great street-food…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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