Thursday, August 6, 2015

Katz’s Delicatessen, where Harry met Sally

Katz’s Delicatessen is no secret to New Yorkers.  It is located on the corner of Ludlow and Houston Streets on Manhattan's Lower East Side.  Deli has been around for a long time. The story started in 1888 when two  brothers of an Yiddish poet  Reuven Iceland ( from Galicia)  opened  a small deli and named it  "Iceland brothers". in 1903 Willy Katz join them, and in 1910 with his cousin  Benny bought  deli. 

The deli was renamed Katz's Delicatessen.  A few years later, in 1917,  Willy and Benny  took another partner, their landsman named Harry Tarowsky. 

 In those days the Lower East Side was a   home to a population of largely Yiddish speaking Jews. United by their immigrant backgrounds and similar traditions, this insular neighborhood became a tight community.   In the early 20th century folks would gather at Katz’s to plan, gossip, and eat. 

It became a tradition on Friday nights for hot dogs and beans to be served to the locals.The era of the early-to-mid 1900s witnessed the rise of Yiddish theater groups in NYC's East Village and Lower East Side.  Actors, singers, and spectators were often found at Katz's before or after shows. The place offered the Old World charm and traditional eats ,   that Jewish immigrants found comforting.  Like any good deli at the time, meat was available by the pound, and a small menu featured pastrami sandwiches.

At the end of  19th  century  Jewish Immigrants from eastern Europe -   Bessarabia and Romania-  introduced  pastrami   to the United States.    The raw beef  is brined, partially dried, seasoned with herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed.   In North America, pastrami is  sliced and served hot on rye bread.
In addition to pastrami, Katz's corned beef has long been a favorite in the neighborhood - along with brisket, frankfurters, potato pancakes (latkes), and matzo ball soup.

During World War II, Katz’s gained global fame with its “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army” slogan. The owner's three sons were, in fact, serving overseas. 
The deli now offers the same deal that it did in WWII: Buy a hard or soft salami, and they’ll ship it to any U.S. military address  , anywhere in the world.

You should probably encourage your favorite recruit to share some with their friends, however — even hard salami doesn’t stay fresh for long in the middle of the desert.

After Willy Katz died, his son Lenny took over.  In 1980, both Lenny Katz and Harry Tarowsky died, leaving the store to Lenny’s son-in-law and Harry’s son. On the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1988   the two families decided to sell the business   to longtime restaurateur Martin Dell, his son Alan Dell, and Martin’s son-in-law Fred Austin . The Dell family still operates deli to this day.



On May 30, 2015 Daily news published an article about deli:  " Four presidents have eaten at Katz’s.   Katz’s serves up a mouth-watering mountain of meat every week: 15,000 pounds of pastrami; 8,000 pounds of corned beef and 4,000 hot dogs.  Katz’s franks and beans became the stuff of lore — but it wasn’t until the infamous Meg Ryan fake orgasm scene in the 1989 film “When Harry Met Sally” that Katz’s became a pop culture phenomenon. 

A neon sign that reads “Where Harry met Sally . . . hope you have what she had!” hangs above the table where the scene was filmed "


Rumor has it that Jake Dell, Katz’s owner, might be looking to open the deli’s second-ever outpost inside Dekalb Market Hall in Downtown Brooklyn.