Vegan Jewish deli Sam & Gertie’s will open in Chicago on December 5 inside the space of now shuttered pizzeria Longacre in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Gina Marino-Kalish, owner of the popular vegan diner Kāl’ish, closed her non-vegan pizza shop (located next door to Kāl’ish) to develop two new plant-based concepts: the Jewish deli and another restaurant slated to open in 2020. According to Gina’s partner Andy Kalish, serving animal products no longer fit in with their mission to inspire people to eat more plants. As such, they decided to transform the pizzeria into the vegan deli they have long dreamed about and intend to employ all of the pizza shop’s former staff. 

Sam & Gertie’s, named after Andy Kalish’s maternal grandparents, will feature a deli case filled with plant-based versions of traditional Jewish delicatessen items, including vegan smoked salmon, knishes, latkes, egg and tuna salads, as well as hot sandwiches filled with brisket and schmaltz. The shop will also sell a variety of bagels topped with schmears and cold smoked tomato-based lox, soups such as matzo ball and vegan chicken noodle, and a wide selection of desserts. “The baked goods will rival those of most any bubbe’s: Mandelbrot, babka, rugelach, coffee cakes, black and white cookies, maybe a seven-layer cake and challah,” Andy Kalish told VegNews. The couple aims to pay homage to Andy Kalish’s grandmother and culinary inspiration Gertie Stuart with their hearty, deli-style food that happens to be entirely vegan.

Photo credit: Longacre