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Photograph: Martha WilliamsMatzoh ball soup at Au Cheval

Brendan Sodikoff opening Dillman's, a Jewish deli (probably)


Brendan Sodikoff has a barbecue joint and a ramen shop in the works. But those concepts have been pushed back to make room for a third restaurant: Dillman's, a Jewish deli that the restaurateur hopes to open in River North by March 1, 2013.

I should point out that there's a 1% chance the deal on the space (an undisclosed address) won't go through. But Sodikoff seems confident he'll sign papers before the new year, and that's good enough for me. Let's get into some details:

- Dillman's will eventually be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it will initially open only for dinner. "It's counterintuitive," Sodikoff admits. But he wants to "identify from the beginning that this is a dinner place." Dinner, and also drinks—there will be a full bar.

- The food will be—surprise!—Jewish. "We're going to invest in the signatures," Sodikoff says. Playing with Jewish food isn't necessarily new for Sodikoff, who has had the deli idea for some time. He notes that some of the food at Au Cheval actually previews the food at Dillman's: the matzoh ball soup, the chopped chicken liver. 

- Bagels are part of the plan. They will be baked on site. (Actually, they will be boiled-and-baked on site. Sodikoff on bagels that aren't boiled first: "That's like baking a French fry.")

- Aesthetically, Sodikoff is going for a "Lower East Side, old-world-mafia feel": wood panels, floor tiles, a long bar with a diner-style kitchen (much like Au Cheval). "I want a warm, glowing space," he says.

- The 120-seat space will be equipped with copious outlets, so that people can camp out. "I really just want people to hang out there all the time," Sodikoff says. If he gets those bagels right, I don't think he'll have a problem. 

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