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Frances' Deli

2552 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL - (773) 248-4580
Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on 11/11/2012 12:29:00 AM
They say Frances' Deli ain't what it used to be, but what is? Well, perhaps Manny's is, but Frances' is actually even older than Manny's, going back to 1938 Chicago. It's now a few blocks north of its original location, and Frances, the man, is long gone. And replacing the Eastern European staff and old Jewish customers are crowds of 20- and 30-somethings from the surrounding Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The menu straddles the line between traditional Jewish deli food and modern comfort cuisine but stops short of preciousness. Breakfast can be a big plate of matzo brei, spiked with onions and salami if you so desire, or a plate of homemade blintzes, but there's also breakfast corn dogs made with Amy's Chicken Sausage and breakfast sliders. Head in whichever direction your mood leads you.

The lunch menu centerpiece is the list of numbered sandwiches like The "King" Levinsky, #7, which piles hot brisket, hot pastrami, and Muenster between the bread slices of your choice, or the Douglas Boulevard, #1, featuring hot corned beef, chopped liver, and onions. There's matzo ball soup, too, and if you want potato pancakes for breakfast, here's where to look.

Shakes are a big thing here, which you can get spiked. We're suckers for toasted marshmallow shakes, and Frances' makes them, but their Toasted Toasted Marshmallow Shake is spiked with (real drinkers close your eyes for a moment) marshmallow vodka! Who knew there was such a thing?

There's a Greetings From Frances' mural on one wall, some old wooden icebox doors on another. You'll find a Scripto pen vending machine at the entrance and an ancient Coke machine too. But most importantly, what you'll find is a comfortable, popular, reasonably priced neighborhood breakfast and lunch deli that combines Jewish comfort food with Makers Mark milkshakes.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Fried Matzo with Salami and Onions
Fresh Squuezed Orange Juice, Large
Famous Potato Pancakes
Fried Corned Beef
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Fried matzo, known elsewhere as matzo brei, is perhaps the ultimate Jewish soul food. Here it's supplemented with onions and salami, creating something of a hoppel-poppel effect.
"Fried matzo, known elsewhere as matzo brei, is perhaps the ultimate Jewish soul food. Here it's supplemented with onions and salami, creating something of a hoppel-poppel effect."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle





Potato pancakes are crisp, moist within, and will please fans of the batter-style of latkes.
"Potato pancakes are crisp, moist within, and will please fans of the batter-style of latkes."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Why not get a plate of fried corned beef alongsied your pancakes or eggs instead of bacon or sausage?
"Why not get a plate of fried corned beef alongsied your pancakes or eggs instead of bacon or sausage?"
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Decor combines the genuinely old with nostalgically (but not ironically) retro.
"Decor combines the genuinely old with nostalgically (but not ironically) retro."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


The tile in front of the entrance has probably been here longer than Frances'.
"The tile in front of the entrance has probably been here longer than Frances'."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


We're guessing that the sign came along with the deli during the move way back when.
"We're guessing that the sign came along with the deli during the move way back when."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Frances Deli is the perfect casual spot for breakfast or lunch in Lincoln Park. Dinner is served only on weekends.
"Frances Deli is the perfect casual spot for breakfast or lunch in Lincoln Park. Dinner is served only on weekends."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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