Katz's has been a New York institution since it opened on East Houston Street in 1888.
The kosher-style deli is New York’s oldest and one of the last to still hand carve all of their pastrami and corned beef. The prices can get pretty outrageous (up to $17 for a sandwich), but the proportions are just as ridiculous, usually stacked higher than you could realistically bite. And they are delicious.
Everything about Katz’s feels like a ritual. The waiters wear pale blue jackets like they’ve done for years, and even paying has its own system. When you walk in, you pass through a turnstile and are given a ticket which serves as your check. When you get food from the counters, they mark up the ticket and give it back. As you leave, you hand the ticket over and pay your bill – just don’t lose the ticket, or they’ll charge you $50!
Even if you’ve never been there, you might recognize the dining room. It’s been in a ton of movies over the years, most notably ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ There’s even a marker above where they sat.
The walls are completely covered in framed photos of famous people and favorite customers posing with Katz’s workers. Over the food counters hang neon signs and old advertising. My favorite sign reads “Send a salami to your boy in the army,” which dates back to World War II, when Katz’s began a campaign to have families send their sons salami. You can still send salami and gift packages to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If you love NY cultural history or delicious food, go to Katz’s!
205 EAST HOUSTON STREET
NEW YORK CITY 10002