After a devastating fire that left the iconic Skokie deli known as Kaufman’s inoperable, many wondered if the sandwich shop would ever reopen.
However, thanks to the latest batch of TIF grants handed out earlier this week by the Skokie Village Board, Kaufman’s is coming back to town.
The village board handed out a $150,000 grant to Bette Dworkin, owner of Kaufman’s, as she continues her pursuit of rebuilding the Skokie destination that’s been here for generations. The money specifically comes from the West Dempster TIF District that was created in November 2010.
Skokie Community Development Director Tom Thompson explained how the procedure would work in an e-mail to Patch stating that Dworkin will take on and pay for the rehabilitation expenses at first.
“Once reopened, if she can prove at least $300,000 of qualified expenses relative to the exterior of the building, site improvements, and building expansion (which we are confident she will be able to), she will receive a TIF reimbursement of $150,000,” Thompson said. “If less than $300K, then 50% of whatever the amount is.”
Last month, Patch was the first to report Dworkin had decided to rebuild on the same Dempster Street location after pondering a move west to Morton Grove. This new store is scheduled to be 1,500 square feet larger than the previous incarnation with many modern amenities, including having only one checkout area.
This matching grant will be a small portion of the million plus dollars Dworkin estimates will be spent to get the bakery and deli back in operation.
Dworkin noted construction continues at the new store and hopes to have can welcome customers in person by Rosh Hashanah, which lands on Sept. 16.
Dworkin’s commitment to Skokie was emphasized Monday night.
“This is a salute to Bette Dworkin and her mom that they felt Skokie was the heart and soul of their wonderful establishment and they were going to find a way to make it work,” said trustee Michael Lorge, who has been working with Dworkin on the project. “We’re very excited.”