Katz’s Deli is a New York institution, having been established in 1888 and still going strong to this day. Located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, as the sign says, it’s “known as the best!”
But as Mod B found out the hard way, their unique way of doing business can be a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated, so here are a few tips, so you don’t make a fool out of yourself…like someone I know did
See this ticket? You’ll get handed one when you first walk through the turnstile at entrance. Make sure you keep track of it, as you need to turn it in before they allow you to leave the building. Kind of random and old fashioned, but Mod B likes that type of stuff. When she knows that’s what it’s for, that is….
See this crazy busy place? This is how Katz’s has been pretty much any time I’ve been there, and if you don’t know the lay of the land, or the menu it can be pretty intimidating. So here’s the deal:
If you know what you want to eat proceed directly to the counters on the right hand wall, where you’ll order your food and they’ll mark your ticket to let the cashier know what you ordered. Move down the line and order your drinks, and when you’re done hopefully you’ll find a free seat at one of the tables in the middle of the room (and won’t be left standing there with your tray in your hand, wondering where to sit, with a flashback of your high school cafeteria happening right before your very eyes..!) While you may have to share a table with a stranger, DO NOT sit at the tables against the walls – those are just for waitress service. And remember to keep track of your ticket!
- If you get easily overwhelmed with all that is going on and don’t know where to order or what to get and it’s freaking you out and all you want to do is look at a menu and make an informed decision about what you want to eat and drink….
- OR you don’t feel like approaching a stranger and asking to share a table.
- OR you just want someone to bring your food to you. which isn’t an unreasonable request in a restaurant, really.
THEN ask at the front for waitress service.
They will seat you at one of the tables against the walls, give you a bowl of complimentary pickles and answer any questions you may have. If you’re lucky your waitress will be as sweet and nice as our waitress Katy was. Even though we felt like complete tourists, she was very helpful, like when she highly recommended the Hot Pastrami Sandwich and gave us a slice to try. (They do that at the counter, too)
Take a look at that sandwich. I don’t know about you, but I had never seen such thickly sliced succulent pastrami in my life. Granted I’m not a big deli eater, but this was a revelation to me.
One thing I DID know I wanted to do was to order a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda. Yes. Celery flavored soda. I had read somewhere that this was a hard to come by drink (what, not everyone wants celery flavored soda?) so when I saw it on the menu I had to have it – in the name of research at least!
And if the thought of vegetable flavored carbonated beverages doesn’t appeal to you, they also serve regular soda and beer. OR you can get a glass of water from THE COOLEST water dispenser ever:
So if you’ve made it this far hopefully you’re sitting at a table with food and drink aplenty and enjoying yourself, either late at night or any time during the day, as Katz’s is open 7 days a week (We’ve been there late after Retro Roadhusband played a gig just down the street, and it’s quite the scene.) Safely on your perch, as you munch on your oversized sandwich and sip your vegetable tonic you can look out over the crowd and see how this whole previously unknown system works, feeling confident that you maneuvered through it like a seasoned pro. Or that you’ll know what to do differently next time.
Just don’t forget your ticket!- remember you need to hand it in when you pay at the cashier on the way out!!! They won’t let you out of there without it. Trust me
205 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002
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