corned beef pastrami side by side sandwich rye bread kosher jewish delicatessen new york

7 Best Jewish Delis in the Midwest

When it came down to it, writing The 5 Best Old School Delis in the US was too much fun to stop at just five. We managed to include two Midwestern institutions, Shapiro’s in Indianapolis, and Manny’s of Chicago, but we wanted to talk about so much more! So here’s our attempt at whittling down the best Midwestern Delis to just seven. What makes Midwestern Jewish delis so special is their commitment to kosher-style dining (though they often serve non-kosher fare) in the land of meat and cheese.


Zingerman’s, Ann Arbor
This 30-year old Jewish-style deli has been an Ann Arbor favorite from day one. They make most things from scratch, including their pastrami and award-winning corned beef and breads. What’s more, they can tell you exactly who made the cheese, and where the pickles come from. These factors make it a must-try destination for deli lovers who want a locally sourced and globally inspired Jewish sandwich.


#delicatessen #hygradedeli #detroit

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Hygrade Deli, Detroit
In terms of deli geography, Detroit is known for its rye bread, and this city has a lot to offer in terms of Jewish-style delis. Some have more of an extensive Jewish menu, like Stage Deli, than others, but Hygrade is known for the Reuben. Part of what makes their sandwiches so special is the corned beef, which they procure from Sy Ginsberg’s — the Midwest’s “King of Pastrami” — United Meat and Deli.


Ella’s Deli, Madison
Ella’s has the most personality on this list, it’s huge dining room packed to the brim with vintage tchotchkes, whimsical, handmade animated displays, and a working carousel with organ music. Their colorful clip-art-happy two-page menu has everything from chopped liver to blintzes, matzah ball soup and borscht.


Round of Reubens #benjisdeli #milwaukee @allisonrutberg

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Benji’s Deli, Milwaukee
This Milwaukee favorite has been making mile-high sandwiches and frying matzah for decades. Their signature, of course, is the corned beef on rye with a sour pickle. If you’re looking for something Midwestern and Jewish, try the hoppel poppel, which is an egg scramble that Benji’s perfects with kosher salami, garlic and mushrooms.


Bagel and lox be callin my name.????

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Protzel’s Deli, St. Louis
Since 1954, Protzel’s has been St. Louis’s go-to for corned beef and brisket. No good deli would be complete without a few secret recipes, and Protzel’s is no exception — their corned beef recipe is a secret, which was passed to them from a retired deli man in the 1950s. Another thing that sets Protzel’s apart is their vast array of fresh breads, sweets and packaged foods for sale. According to David Sax, of, “The food’s great, especially the corned beef, which is always served cold,” because St. Louis, unlike most places, is a “cold corned beef town.”

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Last but not least, we’ll include Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen in Chicago, and Shapiro’s Deli, which we featured in our 5 Best Old School Delis in the US article. Happy noshing!


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