Ashkenaz Restaurant and Delicatessen

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Ashkenaz Restaurant and Delicatessen Soundex Code A252

Ashkenaz Restaurant and Delicatessen was owned by partners Sam Ashkenaz and Hy Kalman and was located at 1432 W. Morse Avenue from 1940 until the early 1970s.

The business was sold to a corporation and was relocated to 12 E. Cedar Street, where it survived until 2013 (see below). A successor, known as "Ashkey's," hoping to cash in on the reputation of Ashkenaz, took over the site of the original restaurant. It burned down January 17, 1978.

The popularity of Ashkenaz was far and wide. According to Ira Ira Berkow, a Pulitzer prize winning New York Times sports columnist, and the author of several books, including Maxwell Street, To The Hoop, and How to Talk Jewish; who wrote "Better than this there isn't," in the June 16, 2002, Chicago Tribune (following):

"A quest for the nation's greatest blintz ended at the door of Sam Ashkenaz's steamy, clattery, pungent kitchen on Morse Avenue in the heart of Rogers Park.

"It happened this way. One morning in 1975, Barbara Walters, in her "Not for Women Only" NBC network television show, planned a week of ethnic food specials. Staff researchers were assigned to locate the most ambrosial restaurants of five nationalities in the country. For Jewish-style cooking, Ashkenaz Restaurant and Delicatessen was chosen.

"The beloved and no-nonsense proprietor, the balding, Sam Ashkenaz himself, with glasses gleaming under the TV lights and natty in tied and clean white apron, wowed them by whipping up his stupendous, succulent and, yes, beautiful "Ashkenaz Cheese Blintz Treat," topped, naturally, with fresh blueberries--I emphasize fresh since the congealed frozen variety generally found elsewhere wouldn't have lasted five minutes with Sam or his picky patrons. For good measure, Sam added a decent dollop of sour cream to the inimitable blintz."

After Ashkenaz was destroyed in a fire, Sam opened one in Wilmette at Edens Plaza which didn't last too long, and another on the [[wikipedia:Gold Coast Historic District (Chicago)|Gold Coast at 12 E. Cedar Street. Howard Cohan bought the restaurant in 2005.

The Ashkenaz family opened the deli in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood in 1910 and later moved it to Rogers Park. Sam Ashkenaz, the son of the founders, operated it between 1940 and 1976, when he retired, according to a 1985 Sun-Times obituary of Mr. Ashkenaz.

Cohan noted that the recession and the passing away of an older Jewish clientele in the Gold Coast had hurt the business. So, he had no choice but to close Ashkenaz in March 2013. It will be replaced with a new restaurant, Da Lobsta, dishing up lobster rolls instead of corned beef sandwiches.

Photos

RPWRHS photo L036-0101 shows Jimmy Carter at Ashkenaz, 1432 W. Morse Avenue in the 1980s. Person shaking Carter's hand not identified. Carter was President from 1977-1981, so if he was President at the time, the photo had to be in that time frame.

RPWRHS photo S088-001 shows Ashkenaz Restaurant, 1432 W. Morse Avenue, 1967.

RPWRHS photo S088-002 shows Ashkenaz Restaurant, 1432 W. Morse Avenue, Sam Ashkenaz putting mustard on sandwich. 1967.

RPWRHS photo S088-003 shows Ashkenaz Restaurant, 1432 W. Morse Avenue, booth, 1967.

RPWRHS photo S088-004 shows Ashkenaz Restaurant, 1432 W. Morse Avenue, 1967.