Sunday, April 24, 2011

Katz's Delicatessen: NYC's Oldest Deli Meets NYC's Newest Blog

Katz’s Delicatessen New York City Lower East Side Vintage Destination
By Mitch Broder

This month, I have learned, the world-famous Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side of Manhattan is launching a brand-new slogan.

The old slogan was “A Delicatessen For 122 Years.”

The new slogan is “A Delicatessen For 123 Years.”

I have picked this milestone as the occasion on which to launch my brand-new blog. You can count on me to bring you this sort of breaking news yearly.

Actually, I was already planning to launch the blog this month, because I had originally planned to launch the blog last month. But I am happy to share my debut with Katz’s Delicatessen’s slogan, because Katz’s is the perfect example of what I’m launching for.

It’s a New York City haunt that’s old but beguiling. It’s a place that takes you back in time and makes you want to stay. It’s a revelation not just to tourists but to procrastinatory New Yorkers. It’s a landmark that you think will always be there — but might not.

Katz’s Delicatessen New York City Lower East Side Interior
Katz’s is a roisterous emporium where people go to eat pastrami in peace. Everyone else is eating it, so everyone can eat it without guilt. Along with the pastrami, Katz’s has hot dogs, corned beef, brisket, salami, and other delicacies that have long fueled hardy Eastern European Jews.

 Katz’s Delicatessen New York City Lower East Side Lunch Receipt
My ticket curled up at the
bottom because it fell
into the sauerkraut.

It is very exclusive. You need a ticket to get in. A man hands you one, and signs warn you of a fifty-dollar fine if you lose it. Katz’s has both waiter and cafeteria-style service; all purchases are marked on the ticket. If there’s a better system, they haven’t found it.

The roisterousness and the tickets are among the reasons why I used to begin my visits to Katz’s with an anxiety attack. But now I swagger in, secure that I am fully capable of ordering two frankfurters and a knish and finding a seat. Katz’s builds character.

I swaggered through lunch, after which I was joined at my table by Alan Dell, whose slogan is “A Katz’s Owner for 25 Years.” Alan is often on the floor, chatting with the regular customers, and he’s always on the walls, in photos of him with the famous customers.

Katz’s Delicatessen New York City Lower East Side Neon Sign
He reminded me that Katz’s has two other slogans.

One is “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army,” coined during World War II. The other is “That’s all,” coined by a sign painter. Grandpa Katz, Alan says, ordered a sign for the store. The painter asked what he wanted on it. A testy Grandpa said: “Katz’s, that’s all!” That’s what the painter painted.

Yet somehow I remain fondest of “A Delicatessen for 123 Years.” So I’ve decided to steal it. Mitch Broder’s Vintage New York: “A Blog for One Day.”

Join me as I explore the things that make Manhattan vintage. I am confident that, together, we can make my slogan change, too.

Discover Katz’s Delicatessen at 205 East Houston Street, at Ludlow Street, in Manhattan.


  1. What a great beginning! I love the picture of Katz's. Keep it up!

    Lisa C.

  2. Great story. You've left me hungry for more....


  3. Palindrome du jour: Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog

    Love downey