Manny’s Coffee Shop

Cafeteria | Delicatessen | Jewish
Memorable
One of the best
Save

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
Must-Try
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
Blintzes
Must-Try
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
Must-Try
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
open now
SundayCLOSED
Monday6 am - 8 pm
Tuesday6 am - 8 pm
Wednesday6 am - 8 pm
Thursday6 am - 8 pm
Friday6 am - 8 pm
Saturday6 am - 8 pm
Roadtrips
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 | 58 MILES | 2 hr 34 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…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Firecakes Donuts

    Chicago, Illinois

    The donut, the whole donut, and nothing but the donut. That’s what Chicago’s Firecakes is all about: some of the best donuts anywhere.

  • Byron’s Dog Haus

    Chicago, Illinois

    Plump Polish sausages with crisp skin; succulent hot dogs dragged through the garden; fine skinny French fries: Byron’s Dog Haus is a great taste of Chicago.

  • Original Rainbow Cone

    Chicago, Illinois

    Original Rainbow Cone sells American ice cream that is light-hearted and nostalgic. Get a cone with all five signature flavors.

  • Fatso’s Last Stand

    Chicago, Illinois

    Fatso’s delivers the elevated fast food experience without elevated prices. Wonderful burgers, fried shrimp and char-dogs dressed Chicago style.

  • Bari

    Chicago, Illinois

    Bari is a Chicago neighborhood bodega with legendary Italian Beef Sandwiches, Italian Subs, and house made meatballs.

  • Annette’s Italian Ice

    Chicago, Illinois

    Italian ice, created with real fruit and great skill, makes Annette’s a worthy destination in Chicago. Citrus flavors are especially refreshing.