Katz’s. It’s the pastrami, stupid!

There are good delis. There are great delis. And then, there is—the best deli. Photos by the author.

Katz’s Deli in Manhattan

This is Katz’s. Where Harry Met Sally (under the round sign hanging from the ceiling). But never mind that. I’m just here for the food.
Katz’s pastrami. This is the half sandwich.

Navigating Katz’s

The place can be confusing, so here is your guide to the peak experience at Katz’s.

  • Come very hungry.
  • Expect to wait but the line moves quickly. It’s ok, talk to people. They come from all over the world. Use Google’s Popular Times function to see best times. Generally, avoid 1–4 PM. And yes: Katz’s is open on the Sabbath.
  • It used to be cash-only but now they take cards. Hey, when you do it one way since 1888, changes come slowly. Still cash only at the main register — you’re your credit card to the last station, where you will buy a black and white cookie.
  • Ask the staff if you have questions. New Yorkers seem abrupt but they are very friendly and happy to help and are kind to first-timers. Soon, you will be navigating like a taxicab on 40th Street.

Welcome to Katz’s

Now you have arrived. Come on in, they’re ready for you.

At the frontmost station

No egg, no cream.

Sandwich stations

There are several stations. Choose a line. When you get to the front, say hi to your cutter. Right now, this is your best friend in the world. Talk to them, they are nice folks and part of the Katz’s experience. Tip them.

They train for years to become a cutter. This is your friend.
This one is a lean trim. As in, not juicy.

Drink station

Meh. I have my egg cream and tap water is self-serve on the back wall. Yes, tap. New York City tap is the best, most delicious water in the world (seriously). Fiji? Feh.

Last station

Latkes. Creamy in the middle, a bit of onion, fried crisp, with sour cream. Gigantic.

Essen, mein kind

Schlep your fabulous treasure over to the nearest table and have a seat. Take in the Katz’s experience as you take in the Katz’s food. There is nothing like this anywhere else.


Around the corner:

  • Economy Candy, which dates back to 1937 (when Katz’s was only 49 years old).



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Moe Rubenzahl

Moe Rubenzahl

What CEOs need to know about marketing. I bring 35 years of big-company marketing experience to small companies and their CEOs.