Kaufman’s is back

In heartfelt celebration of the re-opening of Kaufman’s Bakery, I am reprinting Allan Zirlin’s recollection of the days when Kaufman’s was located in Albany Park:

“Shortly after WWII ended, a baker named Kaufman came to Chicago and opened a small bakery on Kedzie Avenue just north of Lawrence. Bagels have never been the same since. Mr. Kaufman created a new kind of bagel, one without the bullet-proof skin, one that you could bite into with ease yet still had that satisfying al dente feel. He created the now-famous double-bagel, one bagel made from the dough normally used for two. And it had a twist, literally, not just a flat uninteresting appearance.”

An excerpt from “Bagels,”  an article written by Allan Zirlin

Kaufman’s Bakery, now open again at 4905 Dempster in Skokie, turns out the bagels I’ve been eating since I was a child.


37 Responses to Kaufman’s is back

  1. Arnie Solars November 11, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I wish we would have Kaufman’s bagels in Surprise,AZ area.I miss Chicago style bagels in AZ.

  2. Eugene Schultz November 11, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Nothing like having a great bagel at Kaufman’s after visiting the cigar store/gambling joint Terry’s down the street.

  3. Frances Archer November 11, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Arnie, I feel for you. It was tough without Kaufman’s just for a year. Other bagels just aren’t the same for me. Kaufman’s had closed due to a fire.

  4. Frances Archer November 11, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    A true Albany Park experience!

  5. Arnie Solars November 11, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Most bagels found in AZ are the size of kids wagon wheels.I been here for 5 years and really miss Kaufman’s bagels.Anything comparable is a 45-60 drive from my house.

  6. Jerry Pritikin November 11, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    My brother-in-law used to be their books when they first started out at $25. a month. It was also his first account. He did it for years for that fee, even after he became a C.P. A.!

  7. Paul Warshawsky November 11, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Oh my god my mouth’s watering! I live in Southern California and I’d give anything to have a place like Kaufman’s nearby. Boy do I miss the Challah, corned beef/chopped liver combo sandwichs, great soups, any of the great Jewish cooking! I miss it sooooo much! Boy this brings back some wonderful memories about Chicago, I’d love to walk in to a restaurant and have the “Old Time” Chicago Hot Dog with a basket of fries and for dessert an Italian Beef Sandwich from one of the Cicero joints Oh what wonderful memories…..

  8. Arnie Solars November 11, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Paul I remember you from Albany Park and RHS Hope all is well with you ,you were always a great person.

  9. Paul Warshawsky November 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Arnie Thanks for the nice words, I remember the name but i can’t place you exactly Did you go to Roosevelt or Von? Are you my age 70? Were you in a club? I’ve been married 46 years, have 4 great kids, and live in Southern Cal. I actually lived on the west side , gave my brother’s address to get into RHS,took 4 busses to get to school and started RHS as a sophmore in 1957, I’m a Vietnam and Cuban Missile crises Veteran. Did you serve? Happy Veteran’s day to all my Veteran Brother’s and Sisters!

  10. Andy Romanoff November 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Does anyone have a picture of the original Kaufman s? for that matter are there any photo’s of or inside the Alba Bowling Alley, The Bonfire, the pool hall at Kedzie and Leland, etc. We get good bagels here in LA but not Kaufman’s.

  11. Arnie Solars November 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    We had a few classes together At Roosevelt.I was a Top Hat,we are the same age.Been married this time for 37 years,have 3 wonderful children,2 grand children and live in the Valley of the Sun ,outside of Phoenix,AZ.Sadly,I did not get drafted or serve in the military.Many of our classmates from Roosevelt live in CA and some around Phoenix.Thank you for your service to our Nation.

  12. Frances Archer November 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    Happy Veterans Day to you Paul and to all here who served.

  13. Carl Doering July 5, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I didn’t know from Kaufman’s in Albany Park. Of course I knew of the original Bagel on Lawrence. A good friend of mime went to high school with the son of the owner, Of coures nof Michael Glenzer Has the store on Broadway and in Old Orchard. The one on Devon closed several years age

    But, as for Kaufman’s, THe store on Dempster burned down a year os two ago and just recently reopened. A friend an I went there about a month ago and honestly were disappointed in the bagels. They’re not what they were. It almost seemed as if they weren’t boiled first. THeir meats are just fine and their lox are to die for.

    Back in the late 60s a store was in that spot or next door on Dempster called “Kosher Yiddish Essen” THey were originally on Roosevelt road with all the other Jewish meat manufacturers. They used to supply the meats for the odf Goldblats. They had a wonderful Goose Liver Sausage.:

  14. Frances Archer July 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Hi, Carl. Thanks for visiting my blog. I should do a story on the Bagel. I’m glad you reminded me fme of the place, and shared your other memories.

  15. Mark Magel July 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    I live in the Skokie area and stop at Kaufman’s at least once a week. Some days the bagels are terrific and some days they seem under cooked but I also go to all 3 New York Bagel’s in the area and I could say the same for all those places. The best is to walk in to the NY Bagel on Dempster in Skokie as they have just taken a fresh batch from the oven. Nothing beats that !

  16. Frances Archer July 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Mark, thanks for the tip. Will definitely try NY Bagel.

  17. len July 28, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Carl, I agree on the current status of the Kaufman bagel. Unfortunately, I believe Michael of the Bagel passed away a couple of years ago. His nephew Danny is at the Broadway location regularly and good to talk with about the old days.

  18. Carl Doering July 28, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    A friend of mine and I were just yesterday talking about the migration of the Babel from Lawrence to their other locations. Of course I went to the one on Devon often and one day my wife and I got i the car and pulled un in front and it was gone. I think they opened Old Orchard when Devon closed. My wife loved their chicken soup and when we went to Old Orchard she complained that it was different. She asked the waitress who confessed that in fact they changed the recipe. Why she said she didn’t know.

    More “bagelisms” I was never thrilled with their corned beef after they moved. I mentioned it to a friend who agreed but didn’t know why either so of course he called his mother who is retired in Phoenix. “Of course”, she said “It doesn’t have much flavor because they use very lean brisket to please all the old ladies.” Her words, not mine but it taught me not to order lean corned beed at a deli.

  19. Carl Doering July 28, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Oh yes, another thing re. your post. First it’s sad to hear of Michael Glenzer’s passing. but the interesting thing about him is that several years ago I had a friend who got into hockey and had season’s tickets. As it turns out his seats were directly behind Michael’s who he didn’t know at the time. They began talking only to find out that he was the owner of the Bagel and they had a mutual friend in Shelden Smulevitz who I told you about earlier. Damn, I thought Chicago was a big city not a small town.

  20. len July 28, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I think the history is that Old Orchard opened while Devon was still open and that when Devon closed Broadway opened. The conundrum of lean vs. fat corned beef and brisket. If it is lean it really isn’t appealing to the old timers who are used to the taste of the fatty version so they say it isn’t good and stay away. If it is fat then the much smarter modern consumers stay away. Either way the decreasing number of delis have a business challenge. The additional problem of attracting your friends “old ladies” with a lean product is they create a fiscal drain by stuffing the bread basket contents in their purses and pockets. Problems problems.

  21. Ben Kirman July 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    The mention of Mike Glenzer brings back a score of memories of the days of Al Jolson AZA and Mike as a member. This would be in the mid-50s when Albany Park was in its Jewish prime. The original Bagel just north of Lawrence on the west-side of Kedzie was the place where the core members of Al Jolson would meet for some of the best eats of that time. There may be other places along Lawrence that were good but for my money the original Bagel was the place to go.

  22. Arnie Solars July 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    We(the Al Jolson gang) ate many meals at the Bagel.Great times,great memories.

  23. Ben Kirman July 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm #


    Great to see you on here again. Facebook and I have parted company but Frances has my e-mail and if you e-mail her she can give it to you and maybe we can restart the Al Jolson story and possibly if there is enough interest it can turn into a blog about all of the north-side AZA and BBG chapters. There are a lot of us folks on this site and if the word gets out there may be some former members of these chapters who might just want to contribute their memories. I think Frances would be supportive of this endeavor.

  24. Arnie Solars July 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    You have my e-mail please sent me Ben’s or send mine to him.

  25. Carl Doering August 1, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    I was just talking to a friend and telling him about your blog. He often went to the Bagel on Kedzie in the early 60s but doesn’t remember Kaufman’s there. When did the close on Kedzie? He wasn’t sure when The Bagel Opened there other then it was probably sometime the 50s

  26. Frances Archer August 3, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    I think the Bagel may have been there in the 1940s.

  27. Carl Doering August 3, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Well actually, the question was when was Kaufman’s there and what was its relative time line and geography as relates to the Bagel.

  28. Frances Archer August 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    OK, I looked up my original post and this is a quote from an article Allan Zirlin wrote that he gave me permission to use on my blog. If you don’t know Allan, he’s contributed quite a bit to this blog, including fabulous photographs.

    “Shortly after WWII ended, a baker named Kaufman came to Chicago and opened a small bakery on Kedzie Avenue just north of Lawrence. Bagels have never been the same since. Mr. Kaufman created a new kind of bagel, one without the bullet-proof skin, one that you could bite into with ease yet still had that satisfying al dente feel. He created the now-famous double-bagel, one bagel made from the dough normally used for two. And it had a twist, literally, not just a flat uninteresting appearance.”

  29. Amy Weber March 1, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    I believe the Kaufman’s bagel bakery was just north of Montrose, not Lawrence, in the 60s and 70s. I still remember the aroma.

  30. Frances Archer March 13, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    Amy, I think there were two locations and the one I remember was the later one. I’ll have to look it up. Thanks for stopping by.

  31. Paul Malevitz December 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    I’m with Amy Weber–I remember Kaufman’s on Kedzie just north of Montrose on the east side of the street, but I don’t seem to remember Kaufman’s on Kedzie north of Lawrence. Thanks for your comments, Amy. It confirmed what I had remembered!

  32. Frances Archer December 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Paul, I stand corrected. It’s very likely I’m not remembering the location.

  33. len December 15, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    Frances, I think it is more likely that you are correct. In addition to the quote at the top of this post I remember reading somewhere that the Bagel restaurant on Kedzie took over the space of the original Kaufmans bakery and the restaurant got the name because they didn’t have to change the sign the bakery had used. I will try to confirm this through Danny, the family member who still operates the Bagel on Broadway.

  34. len December 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    Update-there is an article about The Bagel on Dining Chicago.com dated 8/12/10 which notes the 60th anniversary of the restaurant opening at Kedzie & Lawrence. It describes the scenario of the restaurant moving in the space of a bakery called The Bagel Bakery and not changing the sign etc. I am not 100% certain that bakery was the forerunner of what is now known as Kaufmans but I definitely recall that the Kedzie north of Montrose location was also known as The Bagel Bakery and I am pretty certain it was owned by the Kaufman family.

  35. Frances Archer December 19, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Thanks Len. I just remembered that I had posted an excerpt from an article about bagels that Allan Zirlin wrote and gave me permission to quote from. Allan has contributed photographs as well as stories to this blog. Here is his reminiscences about Kaufman’s: http://skokienet.org/node/380 He’s in the north of Lawrence camp, too.

  36. None February 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    I know this request for a picture was a long time ago but here is a picture of Kaufmans on 4411 N Kedzie

  37. Frances Archer February 19, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    Thank you!!!!

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes