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Sam & Gertie's

Sam & Gertie's - Chicago

Sam & Gertie's bills itself as the world's only vegan Jewish deli.

At Sam & Gertie's in Uptown, animal products are used in such deli classics as bagel and cream cheese (with no gluten or dairy!), meat-free bacon (called "baykin") and clean versions of the deli meat sandwiches we love: corned beef, pastrami, turk'y, whitefish, all vegan and all delicious. There's even a meatless chopped liver.

Sam & Gertie's bills itself as the world's only vegan Jewish deli.

At Sam & Gertie's in Uptown, no animal products are used in such deli classics as bagel and cream cheese (with no gluten or dairy!), meat-free bacon (called "baykin") and clean versions of the deli meat sandwiches we love: corned beef, pastrami, turk'y, whitefish, all vegan and all delicious. There's even a meatless chopped liver.

This counter-service deli, open for breakfast and lunch, lets you dine in or get your grub to go. Not sure if it's a Kosher requirement, but there's a good selection of Dr. Brown's sodas to pair with your breakfast or lunch.

Much original food research is being done at Sam & Gertie's. Right now, owner Andy Kalish is working to refine his plant-based matzo ball soup. The challenge is that the soup is traditionally made with matzo balls that use egg as a binder; Kalish isn't using any animal products, including eggs, so finding an alternative for holding the matzo meal together in the hot broth is an ongoing project.

Incidentally, Kalish attributes the inspiration for Sam & Gertie's to Ashkenaz, the over one-century-old Roger's Park deli, now closed but still a strong memory for those who love deli food.

For dessert, there's a range of deli-appropriate baked goods, including black and white cookies, mish mosh coffee cake, and, of course, kiddush cookies.

Owner Kalish hopes his deli will appeal even to those who are not vegans, and he reports that most of the people who come to eat his food are not, fact, of the vegetarian or vegan -- they just like good food.

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