Between digging into Corned Beef at St. Paddy’s Day, packing picnic provisions for the first day of Spring, and serving sandwich platters for March Madness, there’s plenty of opportunity to celebrate March as National Deli Meat Month. For today’s Foodie Friday, we’ll take a closer look at some top-notch delis across America and what makes them worth taking a number to enjoy their fresh, flavorful deli delights.
“March is a fitting time for Deli Meat Month because it’s also when we celebrate National Nutrition Month,” said Janet Riley, senior vice president of public affairs at the Meat Institute. “Deli meats are convenient and versatile choices, packed with protein, and also providing important nutrients like vitamin B-12 and zinc that help power you though the day.”
Here are some famous and favorite delis to check out next time you’re in the neighborhood—and have a craving for a sandwich.
Katz’s Delicatessen—Situated in the vibrant Lower East Side of Manhattan, Katz’s Deli boasts a rich and storied history as a gathering place for many of New York City’s diverse immigrant population over the last 130 years. One particularly inspiring service Katz’s provided was during World War II, when the owners’ three sons were serving in the armed forces. The family’s tradition of sending food to their sons became the company slogan: “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army.”™
Katz’s Deli has also long been a favorite spot for hungry entertainers:
“During the peak of the Yiddish theater, the restaurant was forever filled with actors, singers and comedians from the many theaters on 2nd Avenue, as well as the National Theater on Houston Street. Although the age of the Yiddish theater has passed, Katz’s is still has its fair share of famous customers, whose photos now line our walls.”
Next time you’re in New York, swing by for the best slow-cured pastrami-on-rye sandwich you’ll ever taste.
Zaftig’s Delicatessen—Boston’s classic Jewish deli, Zaftig’s, serves up all-day breakfast, soup and salad, specialty sandwiches, and loaded latkes. The inspiration behind Zaftig’s is a lady known as Nanny Fanny—whose plump silhouette denotes house favorites on the Zaftig’s menu:
“Our beloved Nanny Fanny stood for three things in life: family, food and fun. Infamous for never taking off her house coat, she strolled through the family home making sure everyone was together and fed. In every way she embodied the ‘Jewish mother’ and it is this very spirit we strive to bring to the table at Zaftigs Delicatessen.”
Looking for a delicious and authentic way to observe the upcoming Jewish holy day? See Zaftig’s beautiful Passover catering menu here.
Zingerman’s Delicatessen—Tucked tightly into a mere 1,300 square feet of floor space, Zingerman’s is a beloved icon of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founders Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw dreamed up the delicatessen as a way to bring their fond childhood memories of Jewish delis in Detroit and Chicago to Ann Arbor. They started out in 1982 with a menu of sandwiches, traditional Jewish foods like chopped liver and chicken soup, cheeses, smoked fish, cured and smoked meats, and breads and pastries from local bakeries. They named the deli Zingerman’s in part because it starts with a “Z” and would be easy to find at the end of the yellow pages! Eventually, Zingerman’s list of offerings grew to include desserts, house-roasted coffee, baked goods, candy bars, and even Zingerman’s Creamery artisan cheeses. They’re living proof that even a very small business can make a huge impact—and transform an unexpected college town into a foodie oasis.
Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen—A Chicago favorite, Manny’s is steeped in family tradition from its name to its staff to its recipes. As the Raskin family describe their business:
“The family tradition is nothing new at Manny’s. It can be traced back (along with some of the recipes) to the very beginning 75 years ago when Jack Raskin joined his brother Charlie in the first of the Raskin cafeterias located on Van Buren and Halsted streets. The Russian-born brothers specialized in Jewish cooking served up quickly and in large portions – the way Charlie had learned by watching his mother.
Manny’s Coffee Shop & Deli came into being shortly after World War II, when the Raskin brothers split up so that Jack could open his own restaurant on Roosevelt Road near the open-air market area known as Maxwell Street. The restaurant property Jack bought had been originally named Sunny’s. So rather than tear down the old sign and get a whole new one, Jack named it after his teenage son, Emanuel (or Manny, to family and friends), saving money by simply buying two letters and replacing the ‘Su’ in Sunny’s with ‘Ma.'”
Today, Manny’s serves up what they call “Next Level Comfort Food” in a bright, welcoming, newly renovated space on Jefferson St. Whether indulging in Jewish-inspired breakfast choices like Thick Challah French Toast, Corned Beef Hash and Eggs, or Cheese Blintzes, or stopping by for daily lunch specials that are so authentic you’d swear they were homemade by your grandmother, Manny’s has something to satisfy every healthy appetite.
Mitchell Deli—In a quiet residential area of au courant East Nashville sits a grouping of trendy shops and restaurants known as “Riverside Village.” Among these is a beloved sandwich destination: Mitchell Deli. Now ten years in operation, Mitchell Deli started out with a straightforward goal of offering fresh, quality, local food to the neighborhood:
“Mitchell Delicatessen first opened its doors in 2008. The idea was simple: provide East Nashville with a full service delicatessen that only uses the highest quality, natural ingredients from local sources. This idea immediately resonated with local residents, so much so in fact, that the first day Mitchell’s was open for business the delicatessen ran out of food! Humbled and amazed by this enthusiastic response, we immediately adjusted to the higher demand and began working furiously on expanding our menu and making our products even better.”
Each year, the Nashville Scene paper publishes an enormous “Best of” list as a year-end special, and Mitchell’s sandwiches have claimed the “Best Sandwich“ accolade on multiple occasions. Stop by on your next visit to Music City to take in the friendly, un-fussy environment and enjoy some of the inventive and delicious creations Mitchell’s offers—featuring some truly outstanding Southern-sourced ingredients.
Go treat yourself for National Deli Meat Month this weekend! Happy Foodie Friday!
And, of course, for something a little weird…
Speaking of March Madness, it’s also time to celebrate #MarchDadness. In March of last year, Jimmy Fallon shared some of his favorite submissions from viewers about their dads’ attempts at humor. We’ll put the “dishes” knock-knock joke at the top of our bracket.