No gutbombs or paperweights allowed. You need fluffy matzo balls, the kind that suck up rich chicken broth. You also need freshly steamed moist corn beef, peppery handcut pastrami. Throw in a syrupy frothy egg cream, a couple of crusty charming countermen, deep vinyl booths, and a healthy dose of chrome, and you got yourself a old style delicatessen and late night diner.
A student of the legends like Katz’s, Langers, and the Rascal House, Bradley Rubin, the owner and visionary behind Chicago’s soon to open Eleven City Diner (March 30, 2005, 1112 S. Wabash ) knows this. It’s why the only sleep he gets nowadays is a few winks curled up on the diner’s leather banquettes shrouded by a thin blanket and guarded by carved art deco wood patterns.
Rubin’s devoted his days (and his nights) to the details, whether it’s installing an old Bastian Blessing soda fountain or pinching the kreplach right. Rubin is a firebrand, slinging stories like a good counterman slings corn beef, and he’s devoted to keeping alive the community and spirit of the old coffee shops, late night diners, and jewish delicatessans with Eleven City Diner.
In this week’s podcast, we talk to Rubin about the old deli legends, whether you need Brooklyn water to make a good bagel, the elements of a great deli/diner, and the perils of entrepreneurship.