A Foodie's Least Favorite Day of the Year

October 1, 2012

Waiting Area
What's a Jewish foodie's least favorite day of the year? Well, of course, it's Yom Kippur! The holiday involves a day of fasting so it's no wonder this holiday always presents me with a challenge. The silver lining is that I get to visit a restaurant to "break the fast" with delicious Jewish food. I was on the hunt to try a new place that serves deli-style food in Chicago and came across Eleven City Diner located in the South Loop.

Eleven City Diner successfully pairs the aesthetic of a New York style deli, with a small town diner. It's quite a large space with leather booths, white brick and traditional tiled flooring. I loved the waiting area which featured cases of typical deli favorites such as Halvah and a variety of candy, as well as bottles of their bloody mary mix. 

Menu Board
Bloody Mary Mix for Sale
Two of my lovely friends from my Birthright Israel trip joined me at Eleven City Diner to break the fast. The restaurant even featured some of its "Break the Fast" favorites on a special menu and placed a white tablecloth on our table. What can I say? We are classy.

Yom Kippur Break the Fast Features
One of my friends started out with a bloody mary, a specialty at Eleven City Diner, which came with traditional toppings such as olives and salami.

Bloody Mary
I always love to try a little of everything on menus, so I went with matzo ball soup and a half sandwich. The matzo ball itself was enormous and speckled with bits of parsley. The chicken broth was slightly sour which was odd but at that point I was so hungry I ate the entire thing. My only complaint was the soup was merely lukewarm!

Matzoh Ball Soup
For my half sandwich, I decided to try their corned beef, with a smear of chopped liver. If you're not Jewish, chopped liver is one of those things you either love or hate, kinda like gefilte fish. I happen to LOVE the liver. I enjoyed the beef on top of their homemade challah bread and love the sweetness of the liver paired with the salty beef. The sandwich came with a deliciously creamy coleslaw and a giant Kosher pickle spear.

Half of Corned Beef Sandwich with Chopped Liver
My diners-in-crime ordered sandwiches comprised of two other meats Eleven City Diner boasts as their specialties, beef brisket and pastrami. The beef brisket sandwich known as "The Schwartzy" was extremely tender and literally melted in your mouth. It came on a challah bun with au jus on the side for dipping. Next time I dine I will be getting that sandwich! Wow.

The Schwartzy with Smoked Beef Brisket
The "#24" sandwich came club style with pastrami, corned beef, chopped liver and swiss cheese. It was the beef trifecta, if you ask me.

#24 with Pastrami, Corned Beef, Chopped Liver & Swiss
Even though we were all pretty stuffed at this point, we had been fasting all day so it was only fitting we order dessert. The diner features a variety of freshly made cakes and pies, as well as ice cream. We had our heart set on a slice of triple layer red velvet cake. The cake was so light and fluffy and the cream cheese frosting was rich but not overly sweet. In all honesty, it was the best red velvet cake I've probably ever had. I always judge a cake on how moist it is and this cake got a "10".

Red Velvet Cake
Truly, a work of art
After our indulgent meal, we were stuffed! I enjoyed the spacious atmosphere and gigantic portions but my only complaint is related to the service. I'm not sure if they were understaffed on the evening we dined, but our waitress was inattentive and we found ourselves trying to wave her down several times. Despite the poor service, Eleven City Diner gets 4 stars for their fun diner atmosphere, decadent cakes and flavorful meats. I'll be back to have "The Schwartzy" and a new variety of cake!

Eleven City Diner
1112 South Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 212-1112

Eleven City Diner on Urbanspoon

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