Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz's Reuben with Corned Beef and Pastrami on Rye

If you visit New York City, you probably have a list of places to visit, and if you really know what you’re doing, one of those places is Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side.

Katz’s may be well-known for its appearance in When Harry Met Sally, but more importantly, it has crazy-good food.  The pastrami and corned beef are unlike any I’ve had anywhere else, and even as a resident of the city, it is a treat to make a trip to Katz’s.

Katz’s is both a delightful and worthwhile trip, but it can be a slightly intimidating and, potentially, stressful experience.  The place is always bustling, and the staff, while friendly, is curt.  You need to know what to do before you walk in the doors, and you need to be assertive.  If you walk in unprepared, you could be swallowed by the crowds.  So, to help you out, I’ve put together 10 tips to make your trip to Katz’s as stress-free and delicious as possible:

  1. Go hungry.  You are going to need a hefty appetite to consume the amount of sandwich you will be receiving.
  2. Take cash.  Katz’s does not accept credit cards, and you cannot leave the establishment to run to the ATM.
  3. Hold onto your ticket.  When you walk in the door, you will be handed a ticket.  Your orders will be recorded on your ticket (so always have it on hand), and before you leave, you will need to give the cashier your ticket, so he/she can ring you up.  If you lose your ticket, you will be charged a hefty fee!
  4. Don’t just stand around!  People walk in, are overwhelmed, and create roadblocks.  This causes frustration and yelling.  Instead, walk in with purpose.  Push through the roadblocks up to the counter.  There are lines in front of every carver.  Get in a line.  Often, the lines farther from the door are shorter.  People are just too lazy or unaware to find them.
  5. Be patient.  There are always lots of people at Katz’s.  Once you’re in line, just wait your turn.  That’s all you can do.
  6. Order the right thing.  You can get a delicious cheesesteak in many restaurants.  Despite the fact that it’s on the menu, Katz’s is not the place for cheesesteaks.  This place is about the pastrami, the corned beef, and if you can stomach it, the tongue (I’ve never tried it).  All should be on rye with mustard or as a reuben.
  7. Tip your carver.  You’ll get better service, and if you do, you’ll probably receive more . . .
  8. Pickles!  If you don’t speak up, you’ll probably get one kind of pickle.  If you do speak up, you can ask for both kinds of pickles (sours and half-sours) and pickled green tomatoes.  The latter are my favorite.
  9. Look up.  If you want drinks, sides, or dessert, you will need to go to the specified areas of the counter.  If you look up, you’ll know where you need to go.  Take a moment, and look for the signs.
  10. Trust in turn around.  Only sit down when you have all of your food and drinks.  It is rude to sit at a table without any food while someone else is doing the ordering.  The only way the table system works is if people respect the system.  It is unfair to have someone sitting at a table with no food when others are wandering around with full trays.  This is such a pet peeve of mine.  To add to that, when you’re finished, don’t dawdle.  Others want your table.
If you follow all 10 tips, you are sure to have a delightful, delicious, and meat-filled experience at Katz’s Deli!  Enjoy!


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