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Zeitlin's Delicatessen opens first store inside Chicago's Old Post Office

Foodie Friday: Zeitlin's Delicatessen inside Chicago's Old Post Office
Foodie Friday: Zeitlin's Delicatessen inside Chicago's Old Post Office 04:06

CHICAGO (CBS) – For this Foodie Friday, we're taking a look at a farmer's market favorite that has found a new home indoors.

You may have heard of Zeitlin's Delicatessen, or passed them at a farmer's market during the summer, but that changes this week. 

The stream's Jamaica Ponder has more as they've opened up a shop in the Old Post Office, bringing Jewish deli classics to downtown all year round.

At Zeitlin's, you can get an array of Jewish deli classics from Rubens to burgers and black and white cookies, but the star of the show, what gets the people going are undoubtedly…

Jacob: The bagels?

Sam:  Bagels, ya know.

Bagels with lox, bagels without, salted, sesame, poppy seed– toasted or not— type of bagels….

Sam: Like people absolutely love it and people, like, freak out about it.

Sam Zeitlin, along with his brother Hal started Zeitlin's Delicatessen during the pandemic. Quickly, they've become a staple in the city's sparse, but burgeoning–bagel landscape.

"Growing up and, you know, like a Jewish family on the east coast, you know, delis and bagels are very prominent and important to like my identity," he said. "But being in Chicago, like, there aren't many places that are doing it the way I appreciate it."

And not being able to get at what you want to eat.

"It eats at you, and I think you can try to not look at it and you can try to not see it, but it's like, wow, like this is important," Zeitlin said.

Tapping into his years in the culinary world, Zeitlin decided he'd figure out how to add his culture to Chicago's melting pot.

"Really trying to kind of get people on the same page of like, Jewish food, Jewish culture," he said. "And I was starting to bake these really bad bagels, like really, really bad bagels."

Clearly, they've since gotten better.

"And then I would sell bagels out of the bar on a Thursday night and it was the first time where I was like, wait, this is so exciting. Like, actually doing this," Zeitlin said.

From the suggestion of a friend, Zeitlin began selling at farmers' markets.

"I had never signed up for a farmer's market. I like and I never really done, like, paperwork," he said.

Once he figured that out, it didn't take long for one market to become two.

"I was like doing a lot of stuff alone, and then I hired some helpers," he said.

Like Jacob Portman, Zeitlin's first full-time employee.

"Best part of Zeitlin's is that we're hustling, we're moving, and we're growing," Portman said.

And up until this week, their major growth had been at pop-ups and farmers markets, but it does get cold outside.

"Especially in Chicago, farmers' markets aren't going to be year-round, and also, we have been looking for our own storefront for like a little bit now," Zeitlin said.

That's what landed them in their first permanent indoor location, at the Old Post Office.

It's been less than a week, and already, folks are lined up to get their bagel order.

"Think people really care about bagels. It's connected to people's sense of their food culture," Portman said.

"So, we definitely take it from the past, but then thinking forward to the future of like, what is a Jewish deli? Like, what is Jewish food?" Zeitlin said. 

Searching for those answers, ultimately helped Zeitlin to find himself.

"I love the aspect of bringing people together over food, over culture. It's just kind of stepping into who I think I am, I guess, I don't know," Zeitlin said.

Zeitlin's is still working on their own brick-and-mortar location and is now offering the community a chance to be a part of it.

They're selling bagel bonds, which work like a five percent investment that accrues over time.

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