Katz’s Deli NYC | When Harry Met Sally

Katz’s Deli – Where Harry Met Sally
205 East Houston Street (corner of Ludlow), New York, NY 10002 (map).  Take a look inside.
Open: M-W:  8am-10:45pm, Thu: 8am-2:45am, Fri: 8am- all night!, Sat: All day!, Sunday: until 10:45pm.


What’s the hype about Katz’s Deli?

When it comes to Jewish delicatessens, Katz’s is the undisputed champion. Located  on the corner of Houston and Ludlow Street in the historic Lower East Side of New York, this iconic eatery (actually, the very first Jewish delicatessen) has been serving up the best  pastrami and corned beef sandwiches in the world, not to mention great hot dogs, knishes, and knockwurst, since 1888.

If you’re looking for more than just great food, look no further. Inside, it’s pure authentic Lower East Side. You want cafeteria style? You got it. You want old school New York staff? This place invented it. If that’s not enough, how about sitting where the famous Meg Ryan “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in When Harry Met Sally was filmed?  While you’re there, make sure you take a walk around. The walls are covered with photos of famous folks who have eaten there.

Katz’s was originally called ‘Iceland Brothers’, and then when Willie Katz came along and partnered up with the brothers, ‘Iceland and Katz’. Then Willie and his cousin, Benny, bought out the Iceland Brothers and it’s been Katz’s ever since. The restaurant is now owned by the Dell family, longtime friends of the Katz family.

Katz’s calls itself a kosher style restaurant. So what is kosher style? Definitely not kosher. Here’s a few basics. According to the   KOF-K Kosher Supervision website: 

  • “Kosher” in Hebrew means “fit” or “proper.” in terms of food, kosher meets the dietary requirements of Jewish law.
  • Jewish Law; Written Torah (the Bible) and the Oral Torah, observed by Jews for over 3,000 years.  
  •  Jews eat kosher because G-d told them to do so.
  • Kosher is not a style of cooking. Knishes, hot dogs, blintzes, schnitzel, and kreplach can all be non-kosher if they doesn’t meet the dietary requirements of Jewish law…
  • When a restaurant identifies itself as “kosher-style”, it almost invariably means that the food is not actually kosher!
  • Kosher dietary laws are observed all year round.

What Makes Kosher Food – Kosher?

  • The written Torah specifies which animals may be eaten and which may not:
  • YES:  Land mammals – Only those with cloven hooves and chew their cud (Cattle, sheep, goats, deer and bison). Sea creatures (Fish with fins and scales, such as tuna, salmon and herring).
  • Fowl: chicken, geese, ducks, turkeys. Produce: unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
  • NO: Pigs, lobsters, shrimp, clams, eels, octopus, sharks, and whales, birds of prey.
  • Any product derived from these forbidden animals, their milk, eggs or fat, also may not be eaten.

Kosher preparation of meat

  •  An animal or fowl that is permitted is forbidden under Jewish law unless it is slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law.
  • Meat and dairy must not be served together.

So if kosher style is actually not kosher, what is it?  According to website Judaism 101, “there is no such thing as kosher style food. Kosher is not a style of cooking. Chinese food can be kosher if it is prepared in accordance with Jewish law.”   

Yet, Katz’s still considers itself kosher style. The menu features a kosher section, including a disclaimer that reads:  ‘Ingredients/products are kosher. However, they are not necessarily prepared according to Jewish Dietary law.” But Katz’s does prepare its food in strict adherence to New York Jewish Deli Law. They’d better; they wrote the book.

Weekdays and weeknights are great times to avoid long lines. But there’s something special about being in there when it’s jamming!! Get thee to pastrami!!!

Where is Katz’s Deli?

Where is Katz Deli

Katz’s Deli is located in the Lower East Side on Houston Street. The easiest way to get there is by taking the orange F train to stop “2nd Avenue“, it’s a 3 minute walk eastwards when you exit the subway. The other subway lines close by are:  J,M,Z line stops at “Essex Street” (7 minute walk northwards to deli), green local line 6 stop “Bleecker Street“,  (11 minute walk eastwards away from the deli), or Orange B,D lines at stop “Grand Street” (14 minute walk northeastwards to deli).

Tip: There is much more to explore in the Lower East Side! Check out our Lower East Side Guide!

+++Check out Free Tours by Foot’s a pay-what-you-like Lower East Side Food Tour!+++


Written by: Dante Salerno