katz delicatessen

about as new york as it gets

New York City has no shortage of tourist traps. There are countless iconic establishments that lure in visitors from all around the world, but while some may be overrated, Katz’s Delicatessen seems to be one institution that is consistently agreed upon to be worth the hype. The business has been a fundamental part of the Lower East Side community for over a century, and the lines only seem to get longer, and its patrons more global.

The deli was first established in 1888 (under a different name, but then bought out by the Katz brothers and renamed), and over the decades has remained family run. To many visitors, its claim to fame is by way of Hollywood (ie: When Harry Met Sally), but the walls of the deli share a much richer history, filled with photos of celebrity patrons throughout the years and proving just how ingrained this local business is to its neighborhood and home city.

A visit to Katz’s is a cultural experience. Overwhelming at every phase, but that’s a part of the deal. The line out the door, the ticket, the part where you wonder how hard the guys behind the counter are judging you. The energetic buzz filling the room inside, transporting you to a timeless New York. The people watching through it all. But of course the most important part is the food, and no matter how many piles of pastrami they dish out everyday, that part never disappoints.

the details

Address205 E Houston St, New York
Hours8am – 11pm everyday
Price$$ – you likely won’t leave spending sub $20, but you’ll leave happy
Aestheticold school with no frills

good to know

Go here for: when you want to make a meal a cultural experience

Order this: pastrami sandwich, obviously

Amount of time to spend: about an hour or two

When to come: off hours on weekdays, or mornings on weekends tend to be less hectic

Getting here: closest stations are the F at 2nd Ave (just walk a couple blocks east on Houston), and Delancey/Essex (FM, JZ) about a 5 minute walk north.

Other things to note: 

  • They take reservations for groups of 10 or more, call for availability or submit a request online. There are special menu options for large groups.
  • They have a smaller outpost with a limited menu, A Taste of Katz’s, in Dekalb Market Hall in Downtown Brooklyn.

Last visited: June 2021

Last updated: July 2021

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