Dinner served: Kaufman’s on Dempster opens again in Skokie
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:35AM
SKOKIE — The corned beef and pastrami are flowing freely again on West Dempster Street now that the popular and iconic Kaufman’s Bagel & Delicatessen has opened for business again.
Nearly a year after a fire closed the restaurant down, Kaufman’s opened this week with a new exterior and interior layout. Customers had been calling owners Bette and her mother, Judy Dworkin, for months asking when the eatery would reopen.
Having never been through such hardship before, the Dworkins were not certain about how quickly they could come back. But that day finally arrived this week, and many were in the parking lot Monday morning.
“I’ve missed it,” said Diane Goldberg of Morton Grove. “It’s been a long time for us without Kaufman’s corned beef.”
Kaufman’s has expanded with a new design, and an airier and more modern delicatessen and bakery. The facelift cost more than $1.5 million, $150,000 of which is being paid for from three Skokie grants. Almost every aspect of the building is upgraded. The Dworkins now own the building rather than just leasing it like before.
Kaufman’s added 1,600 square feet. The front of the store, where the deli and bakery are still located, occupies about 2,800 square feet. No longer separated, the deli and bakery includes a 20-foot sandwich bar so people can sit and eat. And Kaufman’s has public bathrooms for the first time.
Bette Dworkin said the old place was a bit “tired” and in need of some revamping. The fire a year ago sped up the process.
Kaufman’s reflects the latest major Dempster Street economic development project. Weeks ago, a new prototype Oberweis Dairy with a hamburger restaurant opened at Dempster and Skokie Boulevard, just a few blocks away. A new Walgreens on the other end of Dempster is scheduled to open soon.