When we wrote about the 5 best old-school Jewish delis, we couldn’t ignore our new-school favorites for long. From coast to coast, new-ish Jew-ish restaurants (not typically kosher) are cropping up, putting innovative spins on the classics. So here’s a list of our favorite new Jewish delis, many of which were opened by young, award-winning chefs who have built their careers by working with old-world recipes. Everything is made from scratch in these farm-sourced, waste-not kitchens, where schmaltz and gribenes are used generously and make for popular appetizers.
House cured and smoked meats and fish, hand-rolled bagels, and reasonably-portioned sandwiches aren’t just things of the past here — they’re the new standard.
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On this seasonally-inspired menu, 8-day house-cured pastrami, house-brined pickles, locally-grown vegetables, smoked salmon, and za’atar-topped hummus sit side by side, fulfilling all of your Jewish food dreams. Opened by the Wiseman brothers, whose ancestors were well-known Jewish grocers in DC, DGS is a revival of old traditions in every sense.
The General Muir, Atlanta
This New York deli-inspired Southern deli features East Village-inspired breakfast options like the Avenue A, B, C, and D bagel sandwiches, each with different takes on smoked salmon and lox. For lunch and dinner, you’ll find more Ashkenazi staples, which you can eat alongside Southern classics like sweet potatoes with candied pecans and fritters. The restaurant is named after the refugee transport ship that brought the owners’ grandparents and mother to New York in 1949.
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Caplansky’s is the only place in Toronto where you can find house-cured and smoked beef brisket. Their list of “appetizing snackables” stops us in our tracks: latke poutine (latkes topped with cheese curds and smoked pastrami), kishke with smoked meat gravy, and ‘Jewish Pierogies,’ which they describe as beef kreplach for the more deli-aware crowd.
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Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, San Fransisco
At Wise Sons, you’ll find California-inspired deli food that’s farm fresh and made from scratch — they even have a stand at the farmer’s market. In addition to serving up pastrami sandwiches and bagels and lox, they also have an impressive bread and pastry program. The boiled bagels covered in poppy seeds, and house-made babka both look incredible.
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The newest of the new-school, Mamaleh’s, which opened earlier this year, serves traditional Jewish fare, from gribenes to knishes, with a number of deli-inspired sandwiches. In this sunlit, open restaurant, where you can enjoy a soup and half-sandwich while sitting at a counter tended by a soda jerk, simpler times don’t feel so bygone.