How to Order at Katz’s Deli Like a Local

Despite living in NYC for a while and visiting a couple times a year since, my pastrami sandwich-loving Husband had never been to Katz’s Deli.

Opened in 1888, it is equally known for it’s delicious sandwiches and it’s role in the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally.

While no one (thankfully) tried to recreate that scene while we were there, many people were on the hunt for the delicious sandwiches Katz’s Deli is known for.

Katz’s Deli is extremely popular, with a line usually snaking down the sidewalk. Thankfully, the process is a well-oiled machine.

You receive a ticket when you enter. Do not lose this ticket.

You take the ticket to the first counter, where you order your food. While they prepare your sandwich, they give you a sample of the meat to try.

When your food is ready, you hand them your ticket and they write your order on it and give the ticket back. Next you go to the next counter to order your drink. Same as when you order your food, you give them your ticket and they write your drink order on it and hand it back.

Drink counter to the left, food counter to the right

You then try and find a table to sit at. Don’t be afraid to share a table with another group.

I ordered a half of a turkey Reuben and the matzoh ball soup. No surprise, it was real turkey breast and it was delicious. The matzoh ball soup was exactly how I wanted it to be, no frills or weird additions.

The Husband had the pastrami sandwich and it lived up to every expectation he had.

Someone comes around to pick up dirty dishes, so when you’re finished you leave your dishes on the table. Now you have to take your ticket and pay. There is a cashier in the back, and a second cashier in the front. The back cashier had no line so we paid there. You hand them your ticket, you pay, then they staple the receipt to your ticket and hand it back. On your way out, you had them your ticket at the door and they rip off the receipt, keep the ticket, and then you leave. It is super important that you don’t lose that ticket!

There is also a full-service area in the back of the restaurant, but no one was sitting back there. I think you need to order at the counter and sit in the main dining room to get the full Katz’s Deli experience.

Do you feel ready to order at Katz’s Deli like a pro? Say thanks with a glass of wine!

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