update deskJewish & Israeli Holidays

‘Young blood’ deli cook offers black-cherry soda brisket for Passover

“We all try to put interesting spins on what we’re doing, but certainly around the holidays,” said Sam Zeitlin.

Brisket. Credit: Hayden Walker/Pexels.
Brisket. Credit: Hayden Walker/Pexels.

Two Chicago delis are offering both innovations and classic staples for the seder table this year.

Zeitlin’s Delicatessen, run by owner and chef Sam Zeitlin, has created a brisket braised in Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda. Zeitlin called the beverage the “classic drink” of Jewish delis and said that “when done right, it’s exciting. It accents the roastiness of the meat. It also kind of adds a sweet and sour type element.”

Fellow deli owner Bette Dworkin, whose family took over Kaufman’s Deli in the Skokie neighborhood in 1984 and which she has run since 2014, told The Chicago Tribune that she found Zeitlin’s plan “wonderful.”

She said “he’s keeping in the wheelhouse of being a Jewish deli, which I think is fabulous. And he’s trying something funky!” 

Dworkin praised Zeitlin as one of the “young bloods” who was “repopulating the deli business.”

Zeitlin celebrated his competitor, saying “I think that what really sets them apart is that they’re really trying to make as many things as they can in-house, while also scaling tremendously.”

Both Kaufman’s and Zeitlin’s will provide take-out seder meals this year.

Said Dworkin: “We all try to put interesting spins on what we’re doing, but certainly around the holidays … that component of tradition becomes very important to people.”

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