Chicago Delis and Bakeries Sizzle with Hanukkah Treats

Chicago Delis and Bakeries Sizzle with Hanukkah TreatsSource: Google Street View
Richard M. Sullivan
Published on December 08, 2023

Hanukkah, a festival shining light on miracles and community, isn't just about the candles. In Chicago, it's also about biting into a tradition steeped in oil and savory flavors. This year's celebratory grub highlights old-school delis and new-wave bakeries that keep the festivities deliciously lit with classic Hanukkah dishes.

With the first Hanukkah candle lit on Thursday, many Chicagoans are preparing to indulge in traditional dishes like latkes and sufganiyot. According to NBC 5's The Food Guy, places like the 80-year-old Manny’s and the 60-year-old Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessen are going full throttle to keep up with demand. Manny's, known for its cafeteria-style eating, is frying up latkes, "always made 'em in our cast iron pans, and a bit thicker and it's tradition here," owner Dan Raskin told NBC 5. Meanwhile, Kaufman's is dishing out variations like sweet potato and scallion latkes. "It’s a little crazy," owner Bette Dworkin admitted in an NBC 5 interview.

On the sweeter side of tradition, Chicago's bakers are not holding back their culinary creativity. As per a roundup by Eater Chicago, establishments from Firecakes Donuts to Liberation Kitchen are offering delightful twists on the jelly-filled sufganiyot. Firecakes is doling out flavors like raspberry-blood orange and lemon curd, while Liberation Kitchen caters to the vegan and nut-free crowd.

Grandmother's recipe or modern-day tweak, the Hanukkah delicacies are a testament to the city's culinary diversity and intergenerational charm. As families gather to celebrate the festival of lights, Chicago's food scene ensures the holiday is as much a feast for the palate as it is for the spirit. And for those who want to bring a taste of the holiday into their kitchens, Kaufman's Bette Dworkin recommended adding "a Granny Smith apple and a little bit of celery root to bump up the flavor a bit" when making your versions of these time-honored treats.