|Food type||Jewish kosher style delicatessen|
|Street address||205 East Houston Street, Manhattan, New York City|
|City||New York City|
Katz's Delicatessen, also known as Katz's of New York City, is a kosher style (not kosher) delicatessen restaurant located at 205 Houston Street, on the southwest corner of Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York City.
Since its founding in 1888, it has become popular among locals and tourists alike for its pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs, both of which are widely considered among New York's best. Each week, Katz's serves 10,000 pounds of pastrami, 5,000 pounds of corned beef, 2,000 pounds of salami and 12,000 hot dogs.
In 1888, the Iceland brothers established what is now known as Katz’s Delicatessen on Ludlow Street in New York’s Lower East Side. Upon the arrival of Willy Katz in 1903, the establishment's was changed from Iceland Brothers to Iceland & Katz. Willy’s cousin Benny joined him in 1910, buying out the Iceland brothers to officially form Katz’s delicatessen. Their landsman Harry Tarowsky bought into the partnership in April 1917.
The construction of the subway system required the deli to move to the present side of the street, although the entrance remained on Ludlow Street. The vacant lot on Houston Street was home to barrels of meat and pickles until the present storefront facade was added in the period 1946-49.
In the early part of the twentieth century, the Lower East Side was home to millions of newly immigrated families. This, along with the lack of public and private transportation, forged a solid community such that Katz’s became a focal point for congregating. On Fridays, the neighborhood turned out for franks and beans, a long time Katz tradition.
During the peak of the Yiddish theater, the restaurant was frequently full of actors, singers and comedians from the many theaters on Second Avenue as well as the National Theater on Houston Street. During World War II, the three sons of the owners were all serving their country in the armed forces, and the family tradition of sending food to their sons became sealed as the company slogan "Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army". The slogan itself, however, was coined by Louis G. Schwartz of the now defunct Sixth Avenue Deli.
The next change in ownership took place with the death of Willy Katz, as his son Benny took over. In the late 70’s, both Benny Katz and Harry Tarowsky died, leaving the store to their offspring, son-in-law Artie Maxstein and son Izzy Tarowsky, respectively. However by the mid-1980s, the new generation of owners realized that they had no immediate offspring of their own to whom they could leave the business. Long-time friend and restaurateur Martin Dell, along with his son Alan (who was a chef and a manager at a neighboring deli) and son-in-law Fred Austin, officially bought into the partnership in 1988 on the establishment's 100th anniversary. Alan’s son Jake officially joined the business in late 2009 and is currently in charge of all major operations.
Support for American troops
During World War II, Katz's encouraged parents to "send a salami to your boy in the army" which became one of the deli's famous catch phrases, along with "Katz's, that's all!" which is still painted on the side of the building. The former phrase is referenced in the Tom Lehrer song "So Long Mom (A Song for World War III)", in the lyric: "Remember Mommy, I'm off to get a commie, so send me a salami, and try to smile somehow".
Katz's continues its "Send a salami to your boy in the army" to this day. The deli has arranged special international shipping only for U.S. military addresses and has been a source of gift packages to the troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As each customer enters Katz's, a door attendant hands them a printed, numbered ticket. As they receive their food from various stations/areas throughout the deli (separate for sandwiches/hot dogs/bottled drinks/fountain drinks/etc.), employees compute a running total of the pre-tax bill. If several people's orders are combined on a single ticket, a cashier collects the blank tickets.
Katz's has instituted a "lost ticket fee". If a customer loses a ticket, an additional $50 surcharge is added to the bill. The fee's purpose, as stated by the management, is to encourage patrons to go back and find the lost ticket in the hopes of preventing theft (substituting a smaller ticket for a larger one).
In popular culture
- Katz's was the site of Meg Ryan's famous fake orgasm scene in the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally..., followed by Estelle Reiner's iconic line "I'll have what she's having"; the table at which Ryan and Billy Crystal sat is marked with a sign that says, "Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had!".
- It was the site of Johnny Depp's character meeting with an FBI contact in Donnie Brasco (1997).
- Katz's Deli is the site for a scene in Across the Universe (2007), in which one of the main characters reveals he has been drafted into the Vietnam War.
- Katz's appears in the movie Enchanted (2007) with Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams.
- The deli appears in the 2007 film We Own the Night.
- Katz's appeared in the background of the claymation movie Mary and Max (2009), in most of Max's bus stop scenes.
- In the French film Nous York (2012), Manu Payet and Dree Hemingway visit Katz's, where Fred Austin greets them at their table.
- According to Jewish dietary law, or kashrut, milk products and meat may not be eaten together. (See Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws on the Judaism 101 website). Katz's menu includes a Reuben sandwich (which includes corned beef and Swiss cheese) and a cheesesteak, both of which violate this proscription. (See Katz's menu)
- "Katz's Delicatessen" on the Zagat website
- New York City Travel Guide: Katz's Deli, accessed September 24, 2006
- "Mile End" on the Zagat website
- Katz's official website
- 'Profiles: The Bard in the Delicatessen',The New Yorker, March 18, 1944; see also New York Historical Society
- "Salamis to Fend Off Military Blandness", The New York Times, May 22, 1991. p. C8
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