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David Lissner
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14 places to celebrate Passover 2011 in Chicago

Probably the strangest seder ever: “Passover in Puppettown,” from the Chicago cable show, “Chic-A-Go-Go.” Don’t miss Part 2 with local rocker Bobby Conn’s performance of “Passover,” Part 3 and Part 4, with The Goblins’ “Afikomen” song.


Passover, the Jewish commemoration of the Biblical Exodus, begins at sunset Monday, April 18. While most Jews will gather for ritual meals called seders at family homes, if you don’t have a seder to go to, a variety of local restaurants stand ready to provide you with traditional food, if not always services. Many also provide Passover meals to go, but call now to order.

  1. The Bagel Restaurant & Deli, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, Skokie.

    Candlelight and white-tablecloth service feature at two seatings each night for a dinner that includes relishes, chopped liver, gefilte fish, matzo-ball soup and a choice of entrees including roast beef brisket, half a roast chicken, broiled Lake Superior whitefish or sweet and sour meat balls in our savory sauce, plus side dishes, dessert and and a glass of wine, $29.95 ($13.95 children). Reservations with credit card required.

  2. Tuscany, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, Wheeling.

    A three-course menu served family-style offers chopped liver; gefilte fish; chicken broth with matzo ball; entree choices of brisket of beef, whole roasted chicken or Lake Superior whitefish; and more, $25 ($14.95 children). Reservations recommended.

  3. Manny’s Coffee Shop and Deli, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, South Loop.

    Manny’s redeems its Purim failures by offering “The Matzo Meal” for Passover, with a gelfilte fish; matzo-ball soup; a choice of brisket or chicken with potato kugel or roasted potatoes, glazed carrots and dessert, as well as a la carte options.

  4. Chicago Cultural Center, Wednesday, April 13, Loop.

    City Winery, a New York-based winemaker and restaurant planning to open in the Loop in the fall, sponsors a pre-Passover seder featuring performances by Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza with master flamenco guitarist Javier Rubial, New York comedienne Judy Gold, Anshe Emet cantor Alberto Mizrahi and others. Participants will drink the traditional four glasses of wine (kosher vintages produced by City Winery) and eat a kosher meal prepared by Chef Laura Frankel of Spertus Kosher Catering.

    The performers will sit amid attendees at long family-style tables, each set with a seder plate and matzo, to present a Passover Haggadah specially developed for the night. Others taking part include the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, Chicken Fat Klezmer Orchestra, Joshua Nelson and the Kosher Gospel Singers, Michelle Citron, Aaron Freeman, Susan Messing and Joel Chasnoff. Tickets range from $118 and $500, with proceeds benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository and The Ark, a Jewish social services agency.

  5. Steve’s Deli, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, River North.

    An a la carte menu offers a wide variety of traditional Passover dishes, from chopped liver to macaroons.

  6. Di Pescara, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, Northbrook.

    Options include matzo-ball soup, orchard salad, chopped liver, gefilte fish, roast brisket of beef, whole roast chicken with fresh herbs, Lake Superior whitefish, crisp potato pancakes with applesauce and much more, $34.95 (half price for kids).

  7. Eleven City Diner An a la carte menu includes roast brisket, sweet potatoes, chopped liver and whitefish salad, anong other items. Reservations recommended.

  8. Mon Ami Gabi, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, Lincoln Park.

    A prix-fixe menu includes such dishes as matzo-ball soup, braised brisket of beef with roast potatoes, house-made gefilte fish and flourless chocolate cake, $34.95 ($14.95 for children). Reservations are encouraged.

  9. Wildfire, Monday, April 18 and Tuesday, April 19, Glenview and Lincolnshire.

    Traditional Passover dishes include matzo-ball soup, chopped liver, braised brisket of beef, and coconut macaroons, $34.95 ($16.95 for children).

  10. Mity Nice, Tuesday, April 19, through Monday, April 25, Magnificent Mile.

    A la carte Passover specials at lunch and dinner include matzo-ball soup, chopped beef liver, gefilte fish, herb-roasted chicken, matzo-crusted Lake Superior whitefish, sweet-and-sour brisket, carrots tzimmes, potato pancakes, coconut macaroons and flourless chocolate cake.

  11. Joe’s Seafood, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, River North.

    A four-course prix-fixe dinner includes gefilte fish, chopped liver, matzo-ball soup and a choice of broiled lemon-herb chicken breast, braised brisket of beef or wild Alaskan halibut en papillote plus flourless chocolate cake. Reservations are encouraged

  12. Carlos’, Tuesday, April 18, Highland Park.

    This second-night seder dinner includes services led by a rabbi. The special Passover menu is $65, or $85 with Kosher wine pairing,.

  13. Happ Inn, Monday, April 18, through Monday, April 25, Northfield.

  14. A variety of house-made Passover specialties will feature throughout the week.

  15. Max’s Delicatessen, Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, Highland Park.

    Holiday dinners center on brisket, chicken, whitefish, salmon, meatballs or grilled vegetables, with all the trimmings, $24.95 (kids $11.95).

If you are looking for community seders with services, see the Chicago Board of Rabbis list.