How Katz’s Became The Most Legendary Deli In NYC | Legendary Eats

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Spencer: There’s nothing more New York than a pastrami on rye, and no one does it better than Katz’s. I’ve tried to eat deli all over the world, but the only place to
have it is New York City. I have to have it at Katz’s. Hey, guys, it’s Spencer, and I’m outside Katz’s Delicatessen. This is one of the most legendary
places in New York City. It’s been here since 1888. So I’m gonna go try their
famous pastrami on rye and see if it lives up to the hype. Katz’s Delicatessen has been a New York
institution for over 130 years. The old-school deli is
like a living museum. Not only is it the oldest
Jewish deli in New York, but it’s one of the only delis of its kind still in operation at all. Jake: Coming to Katz’s is a throwback. It’s a snapshot in time. It’s being connected to your
parents, to your grandparents, to your great-grandparents, to your great-great-grandparents ’cause they all came here. We do not believe in
changing pretty much anything from the walls, to the neons, to the pictures, to the staff, to the food, to the recipes. We don’t really believe in changing it. You come here because
you want that nostalgia and that tradition and that
food that you know and love. Spencer: Jewish-deli food dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when waves of Eastern European Jews immigrated to New York’s Lower East Side, bringing traditional
Eastern European foods like cured meats and pickled
vegetables along with them. Delis became a meeting ground where tradition blended
with new American culture. At one time, kosher-style delis like Katz’s were a dime a dozen, but thanks to things like gentrification and changing food trends, Katz’s is the only one that’s
been able to survive the ages. Part of its success is due to exposure. Over the years, Katz’s nostalgic setting has been the backdrop for
countless movies and TV shows, the most famous of which
is Meg Ryan’s iconic scene in “When Harry Met Sally.” The scene with Meg Ryan, it’s
one of my favorite scenes in all the movies we’ve ever seen. You can reenact it now, right? Oh, not right now, thank you. Yes, yes, yes. I’ll have what she’s having. Spencer: Hollywood fame
aside, Katz’s success is also thanks to the fact that their food is really just that good. The menu has all the classics you’d expect from a Jewish deli, but most people show up for their legendary pastrami and corned beef. Can you describe what their
pastrami tastes like to me? Heaven. It’s the only place in the world to get a pastrami sandwich. I mean, I wouldn’t have it anyplace else. It’s about treating the piece of meat like you would a child and
knowing what to do with it and how to take care of
it from start to finish that makes it so special. We cook it longer than anyone else. We cook it so long that
it would fall apart if you try and put it in a slicer. So it’s so juicy, so tender, that you have to carve it by hand. Spencer: Their hand-sliced approach means each sandwich is
expertly carved to order. To keep the crowds moving,
Katz’s is set up with multiple carvers at multiple counters. And let’s just say, you better be prepared to order when you get in line. When you walk in, you’re
gonna get a ticket. That’s our system, we’ve been doing it the same way for 131 years. Feed me. Be prepared because if you get all the way to the front of the line and
don’t know what you want, you’re gonna get yelled at. I would like pastrami on rye. But you already know what you want. You want a pastrami. You want some latkes. You want some matzo ball soup. You’re good, no problem,
don’t worry about it. So that was the easy part. Finding a seat is the hard part. I don’t know. I might have to eat it
standing up, which I would. All right, so we have here the pastrami. It’s just classic,
juicy, perfect, fantas… You can’t go wrong. Do you have any tips for digging into this monster of a sandwich? Just do it, just embrace it. Just go for it. Yeah. Cheers. Cheers. All right. Oh, my God! Go for it, don’t let me stop you. All right, I’m gonna take another bite. That is unreal. It’s really good. Oh, man, hand me one of those napkins. I gotta fix my face. So this is the juiciest
pastrami I’ve ever had. Thank you. How is that possible? One hundred thirty-one years of practice, that’s how it’s possible. All right, there you go. Eating that sandwich was
a religious experience. I’m talking mouth-watering perfection. Even still, it almost took a back seat to the actual experience of just being in that noisy, chaotic room, literally surrounded by Katz’s history. Photos from everyone who’s come before and signs from a near-forgotten era, all of it a reminder that Katz’s will always be here for you, just as it always has. Timeless in a city
barreling toward the future. There’s nothing like nostalgia. I mean, there’s nothing more
powerful than those traditions. I can’t believe that this is my life and this is what we
get to do for a living, is to preserve a tradition and
make people happy, hopefully. It’s humbling, and it’s a
wonderful, wonderful place to be.


  1. Pastrami is dangerous. Compare to steak it’s goes down too easy. We had self serve in our worker food line and I took a huge potion and it’s just goes down so easy is so soft and it’s too yummy. And it’s doesnt fill you as it’s not oily as a steak that chew and chew and feeling full.

  2. When I was little my Grandpa would always take us there and as I grew up teenager into adult I would always eat there when in the neighborhood it is a privilege and an honor to be born and raised in New York City and to grow up eating of cats when it was cheaper then $10 for pastrami on rye what the sack of fries and the pickle and the knish I mean it doesn't get better than that once again it's an honor to eat there.

  3. This shit needs to go out of business who tf is paying for a 32 Dollar sandwich that you can find anywhere else for 7 ???????

  4. visit Rudy's in Oswego N.Y. Right on lake Ontario,best water "FRONT" dining in the country.Good old fish house plus.

  5. Okay let's say what if the person doesn't know what they want to order cuz they never been to this place how do they go about that

  6. We’ve been there, had one of those pastrami sandwiches it was great I ever go back to New York I’m going there for sure.

  7. God the overacting and stupid questions like how is this possible ? Then getting a shitty ass answer. LoL

  8. I hear people complaining about this places price but i don't know why this place is a museum, u don't really go there to eat, you go there for the experience

  9. How do you make a good sandwich with crap bread ? Seriously?! Langer’s Deli all the way! For life !

  10. Why must we always be reminded that it is a Jewish this, or a Jewish that…why can't it just be a corn beef sandwich from Katz's Deli…this is not a trait of other religions, only theirs…why is that? Why do they constantly project their faith onto others…it is actually quite rude…they should stop that nonsense…it is not in-line with the new order…if everyone is equal and the same, there is simply no need to ever express such archaic qualifiers…

  11. Being from Chicago the 2nd city I would Cherish having this deli We had Morts Deli Since the late 1800s and Chicago Taxed them right out of Business no longer on Wabash so Sad my mouth is watering for a real old fashioned Corned beef on Rye Swiss Tomato Mustard and Sauerkraut long live Katz Deli ???

  12. I am definately sure that, this owner said that the pastrami wasn't kosjer, in another interview which was digging much more into the details of the deli. Maybe I heard it wrong, but you said that it was the "only kosjer deli" left.

  13. Louie's Lunch in New Haven CT – Home of the first hamburger invented and Pepe's Apizza in New Haven CT -The first Naples style pizza in America. Disclaimer: If you use my idea I want to be in your review some how. Please message me for details if interested.

  14. i am from montreal canada and when i visited new york the only thing I really wanted was some Katz… it was a delight

  15. USA = DEATH MEAT, nobody needs the USA, only USA (trump) does not yet know that, fat people, only eat sugar, argue everywhere, low intelligence (eg an American cannot speak French or German) everywhere wooden houses or caravans where Americans live in, cars etc are of very low quality , no social services, at least 3 shootout every day at schools or hospitals, I am convinced that God loves Europe and certainly not America

  16. Anyone notice she has a hole in the right armpit of her shirt? When shes ordering and handing over the ticket. Just askin.

  17. The owner is laughing because he's charging $25 a sandwich and the place is full. I'd be laughing my ass off too!!!

  18. food is delicious, but "religious experience?" that's a sign that you haven't had one, if you think that. I love pastrami!


  20. They really are a victim of their own success. You can't really both stay relevant and busy without becoming some sort of tourist trap in one of the most expensive cities in the world. After all it's mostly tourists we're going to spend their money on eating out.

    but I would agree their prices have gotten a little out of line.

  21. went here last week. Crowded as shit, overpriced as shit, and honestly it wasn't that good. It wasn't bad but im sure i could find cheaper places in nyc that tastes the same.

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