Matt Weinberg

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How to order for the best experience at Katz's Deli

Katz’s Deli has the best pastrami in NYC, and maybe in the world. Everyone should go there when they visit New York. Here’s how to make the best of your visit:

  1. When you go in they’ll give you a ticket. Don’t lose the ticket; anything you order has to be put on it so they know what to charge you later.
  2. Go directly to the counter on the right (for counter service). Don’t sit on the left (the left tables are waiter service).
  3. Each cutter/slicer has their own line. The line on the closest one is usually longest because people don’t realize that. So move in a little bit.
  4. While waiting in line, have visible cash in your hand as a tip. A few singles, maybe $5 if you’re ordering for more than one person. Make sure to tip your cutter.
  5. When it’s your turn, walk up to the cutter and make sure they see you put the cash in their cup. This should happen before you order.
  6. Your order is a pastrami on rye with mustard. Ask for it juicy (fatty). If you’re getting two sandwiches, corned beef on rye with mustard or russian dressing is also good. You can split with the people you’re with so you all try both.
  7. Your cutter will give you some slices and pieces on a plate while he’s preparing the sandwich. Grab and eat them with your hands.
  8. You definitely want pickles. I prefer sour pickles but I understand not everyone feels that way.
  9. Once you get your sandwich, give your ticket so they can mark it.
  10. Take your sandwich and go in a little more to the drinks area. Your drink order is a Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda, Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda, or Dr. Brown’s Cel-ray Soda.
  11. Want something on the side? Potato salad is good, but a hot dog or knish is even better.
  12. Go find a seat! Make sure to sit in the “self-serve” tables. There are more if you go around to the side/back.
  13. On your way out, you’ll pay at the register by presenting your ticket.

Like this? Also read my Chinatown (Manhattan) Food Suggestions.