Pastrami, rye, pickles to go — Far


Make text smaller Make text larger


Katz’s Deli’s young owner wants to ship old-school fare around the world


Photos



  • Katz's Delicatessen has been serving kosher-style fare on the Lower East Side since 1888. Photo: Scott Edmunds, via flickr




  • Katz's Delicatessen’s Reuben sandwich and other delicacies could soon be finding their way to tables all over the world. Photo: brando.n, via flickr



Katz’s Delicatessen has been urging customers to “send a salami to your boy in the Army” for generations. Now, the New York City restaurant, where everyone’s favorite scene from “When Harry Met Sally” was shot, is expanding its shipping capacity so it can send perishable delicacies like pastrami and corned beef around the globe.

The plan to offer a taste of authentic, old New York by mail is part of an ongoing effort by Katz’s young owner to modernize a business that hasn’t changed much since it was founded on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1888.

“I can’t necessarily replicate the entire experience for you, wherever you are at home,” said Jake Dell, 29. “But I can give you the food. I can bring it a little bit closer to you.”

A granddaddy of the city’s vanishing Jewish delis, Katz’s has become a draw in recent years for tourists looking for bits of the old, immigrant experience in a gentrifying neighborhood where gleaming condo towers are replacing old tenements.

And unlike some New York City eateries packed with tourists, it is as popular with foodies as it is with the masses of out-of-towners.

Visitors and locals filled the 300-seat restaurant Thursday, polishing off 6-inch high sandwiches under the gaze of the celebrities whose photos line the walls. Waiters threaded their way through the packed dining room amid the clatter of tables being cleared. A sign hanging from the ceiling indicated the spot where Meg Ryan was sitting when she acted out a fake orgasm in the 1989 film about Harry and Sally.

Dell represents the third generation of his family to run Katz’s. He celebrated his bar mitzvah there. And as owner, he’s balancing tradition with some gentle changes.

A new 30,000 square-foot shipping facility in Hackensack, New Jersey, will open sometime in the next year. Katz’s is also opening a takeout-only outpost in Brooklyn’s new DeKalb Market Hall next month. Katz’s, lucky to own its building in a city where rent increases have a habit of putting even iconic spots out of business, also recently gave itself a financial cushion by selling off adjoining properties and air rights to a condominium developer.

“We’re looking at ways of connecting to people that want this food,” Dell said. “There’s really no limit to the amount of pastramis I can send to people.”

Katz’s began encouraging customers to “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army” during World War II and the business still ships salami overseas. But cured meats that require refrigeration are shipped only within the United States. A triple classic sandwich combo includes a pound each of sliced brisket, pastrami and corned beef, a loaf of rye bread, 1 pound of mustard and 2 quarts of pickles.

Dell isn’t sure exactly when the expanded delivery service will start or which countries he’ll market to first.

“Canada seems to be the easiest first step,” he said. “South America has a strong passion for cured meats. The UK and Australia have been clawing out to us and just craving this food. But it’s difficult and navigating those customs waters has been an eye-opening experience. I hope to get there soon.”

Customers leaving the restaurant said they’d be in favor of global expansion.

“The food is delicious. Why not let everybody enjoy it?” said Christine McGee, of Indianapolis.

“Each time I’m in New York I have to visit at least once,” said Yaakov Sabbagh, of Jerusalem.

Would he order the food from home?

“If it comes to Israel, yes, definitely,” he said.



Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments



MUST READ NEWS

Image Hurricane victims to get help from city

Armories could house those displaced; education, health care and other services will be available

Image The psychics of Chelsea

The area has a high proportion of the city’s seers, tarot-card readers and mediums

Image Contesting the ‘Con-Con’

Pols, unions, citizens, advocates, lobbyists, special-interest groups – and strange bedfellows – take to the barricades over the November 7th referendum on a...

Image Remembering Chelsea Girls

It’s the 50th anniversary of the brooding ballad based on Andy Warhol’s iconic film

VIDEOS



Sign up to get our newsletter emailed to you every week!

  • Enter your email address in the box below.
  • Select the newsletters you would like to subscribe to.
  • Click the 'SUBSCRIBE' button.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters


MOST READ

Local News
Shelter from the storm
  • Oct 11, 2017
Local News
2017 Building Service Worker Awards
  • Oct 17, 2017
Local News
Grocer at the crossroads
  • Oct 18, 2017
Local News
Carmen vs. Maria
  • Oct 10, 2017
Local News
Obamas eye ‘Far East Side’
  • Oct 11, 2017
Business
Hooking up, for nearly 75 years
  • Oct 10, 2017
Local News
Contesting the ‘Con-Con’
  • Oct 17, 2017
Local News
No boundaries
  • Oct 17, 2017
Local News
81st St. bridge project near completion
  • Oct 13, 2017

MOST COMMENTED