NEW BUFFALO — Corned Beef was on the menu (it basically was the menu) during the 13th Annual Corned Beef Off held Sunday, March 12, at David’s Delicatessen & Coffee in New Buffalo.

A steady stream of corned beef fans lined up to sample a variety of different offerings (there were 14 on the Corned Beef Off Official Ballot including R. Whittingham’s from Alsip, Illinois; Grobbel’s from Detroit, Michigan; O’Grady’s from Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Manny’s from Chicago.

Other corned beefs sampled on the Sunday before St, Patrick’s Day consisted of: Vienna Beef (Chicago); Wichita Packing Co. (Chicago); Old Fashioned (Chicago); Patty Shea’s (Alsip, Ill.); Bare Bones (LaPorte, Ind.); Smoking Goose (Indianapolis); Sy Ginsberg (Detroit); Morton’s of Omaha (Omaha, Nebraska); Davis Creek (Kalamazoo, Mich.); and Carnegie Deli (flown in from New York City).

The top vote-getter on those ballots was the entry from Bare Bones gastropub in LaPorte (the defending champs). Patty Shea’s and Sy Ginsberg’s Meat & Deli tied for second. Every single beef entered had at least one first place vote.

Potatoes and cabbage along with bread for those who prefer their corned beef in sandwich form also were served.

Some Corned Beef Off patrons color-coordinated their beverage choice by going with Green River. The False Front bar featured its collection of 70-plus Irish whiskeys.

Before Emma Brewster welcomed the early birds lined up in front of the downtown New Buffalo deli on a snowy Sunday, her husband (and David’s co-owner) Joe Lindsay introduced staff members who would be serving all of that corned beef to the different varieties featured this year.

He also gave a history lesson on how corned beef became a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.

“Irish immigrants moved into tenement neighborhoods in big cities like New York Chicago, Detroit. And they moved in next to Jewish neighbors. In Ireland if you were having a big celebration you’d eat bacon … but bacon in the United States was super-expensive at the time.”

He said they started substituting cuts of the less expensive brisket that was served by their Jewish neighbors for special occasions – and it has become an Irish-American tradition.

The 2023 version of the annual event was a benefit for Neighbor by Neighbor.

“We are so grateful to David’s for recognizing Neighbor by Neighbor and the work we do,” said Executive Director Keri Haskins. “We have a lot of clients in need right bow, we’re seeing increased food insecurity, housing insecurity, people struggling with inflation and increased bills, so every little bit helps.”

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