CHICAGO (CBS)– For Foodie Friday, CBS 2’s Jamaica Ponder stopped by the famed Manny’s Deli in South Jefferson.
This cafeteria-style restaurant has been serving Jewish deli classics since 1942. This is everything from roast beef to Reubens and matzo ball soup.
How has a restaurant kept its doors open for more than 80 years?
“I think the way we’ve really done it has stayed the same,” said Dan Raskin.
When owner Dan Raskin’s great-grandfather, Jack, first opened Manny’s, you could find cafeteria-style dining all over town.
“That was very common for restaurants,” Raskin said. “People wanted the service to get through the line, get what they wanted and get back to work.”
But as the industry changed, Raskin said dining at the table started to become a trend.
“The families didn’t want to run them anymore and they were closing down, and we were really the last of the restaurants that survived at that time,” Raskin said.
It is a restaurant frozen in time.
“If you came here in 1942 and you came here now, it’s the same recipes,” Raskin said. “For a long time it was the same people who made those recipes. Today it may even be their children.”
He said several generations of staff work at Manny’s and the clientele is no exception.
Fred Matthews is a frequent diner.
“I’ve been coming here. I’d say it would be the mid-1980s. We got ways to enjoy the sandwiches,” Mathews said.
“Everyone relates to Manny’s in some way, and it’s just a comfortable place where you’re not judged. You can be whoever you want to be,” Raskin said.
He said the homemade food makes you feel “like a little kid sitting in your kitchen enjoying it with everyone”.