A Commitment To Tradition – Where It All Began … December 15, 2015 – Posted in: Katz's Delicatessen, pastrami – Tags: , , ,

Remember the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’ with the famous scene where Meg goes orgasmic in a restaurant while eating a sandwich? This restaurant is Katz’s Delicatessen, at the corner of East Houston and Ludlow in New York, a place which serves the best pastrami sandwiches. Out pastrami creates the effect of longing for this memorable taste. It’s a taste that has over 100 years of tradition.

A long time ago …

… in 1887 a man called Sussman Volk, a Jewish butcher and an immigrant from Lithuania, served his customers his first pastrami sandwich with beef. The recipe he reportedly received from his Romanian friend who rewarded him by storing his luggage for him. The sandwich quickly became a bestseller with the number of fans increasing so quickly that Volk turned his slaughterhouses into restaurants. In 1903, fleeing from the pogroms of Jews in Russia, Willy Katz became co-owner and soon opened his own restaurant with pastrami on Houston Street. This was the beginning of Katz’s Delicatessen.

During the Second World War the slogan, ‘Send a salami to your boy in the army’ became famous and encouraged Americans to buy meat from Katz and send it to soldiers. Its author was the wife of the then co-owner, Rose Tarowsky. Meat was sent to the two sons of the owners of the restaurant, something which has since become a family tradition. It continues to this day with Katz sending their meat products to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 1988, after more than 80 years of restaurant management, the Katz family sold the restaurant to a Jewish family coming from Poland, Fred Austin and his half brother Alan Dell who continue the tradition of serving the best pastrami in the world.

The most famous sandwich in New York …

… can actually replace dinner. Between two slices of rye bread you can find as many as 460 grams of tasty, juicy pastrami. Eating it all in one bite can be a problem as the size of the sandwich is 10cm. During the week customers of Katz’s Delicatessen eat five tons of pastrami. It has definitely dethroned other forms of meat served in restaurants such as corned beef, salami or hot dogs.

The fame of pastrami sandwiches …

… from Katz Delicatessen has reached people such as Bill Clinton, who while on a diet, regularly visited the restaurant with other equally well-known and popular colleagues. Another pastrami lover of Katz is Marco Pierre White (the youngest chef ever to receive Michelin three stars).

The restaurant has a peculiar way of billing customers. Upon entering every customer gets a special ticket on which everything that is ordered is written down on. At the exit the cashier takes your ticket and adds up the bill. You’d better not lose the ticket or else you face a $50 penalty.

During a visit to Katz Delicatessen you can’t miss the table where Meg Ryan sat at the beginning of the film. You can easily find this table – over it hangs a large inscription ‘Hope you have what she had.’ We wish you the same when you taste our pastrami …