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Katz’s Deli Celebrates 125th Anniversary With Charity Dinner, Pastrami Eating Contest

Katz's Deli First Opened For Business In 1888
Katz's Delicatessen at the corner of Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side.   (Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Katz’s Delicatessen at the corner of Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side. (Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Katz’s Delicatessen is celebrating its 125th anniversary this weekend.

The New York City staple sits on the same Lower East Side corner at East Houston and Ludlow streets since first opening for business in 1888.

Katz’s has survived through three depressions, numerous recessions and two world wars. It solidified its place in pop culture when actress Meg Ryan famously faked an orgasm at the deli in the 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally.”

A neon sign hanging over the table where the scene was filmed reads “Where Harry met Sally…hope you have what she had!”

Katz’s Delicatessen - May 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Katz’s Delicatessen – May 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Not much has changed at the deli since it opened more than a century ago, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

Web Extra: Best Jewish Delis In NYC

“Tradition…it’s people who want to recapture what they may remember from their youth; an iconic experience of old New York,” customer Abby Perlman said.

Katz’s is world famous for its hand-carved pastrami and corned beef. The deli sells up to 20,000 pounds of meat a week.

“You don’t even have to chew it. It melts in your mouth,” Gwendoline Robinson of Brooklyn told WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond. “My mother and father was bringing us here when we were little kids. I love his place. I’m tellin ya’, nothing like Katz’s.”

“I got a pastrami and it’s pretty incredible,” said a man from London who was visiting the deli for the first time. “We’re pacing ourselves.”

Sandwiches lined up at Katz's Delicatessen - May 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Sandwiches lined up at Katz’s Delicatessen – May 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

To celebrate its anniversary, the iconic deli will hold a charity Shabbat dinner Friday night featuring Katz’s signature dishes prepared by celebrity chefs including Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro, Mission Chinese’s Danny Bowien, Telepan’s Bill Telepan and noted pastry chef Sarabeth Levine.

All proceeds will benefit the Henry Street Settlement.

Katz’s Delicatessen - May 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Katz’s Delicatessen – May 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

On Sunday, the deli will hold a pastrami eating contest.

Ten professional eaters, including Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, will have 10 minutes to eat Katz’s pastrami sandwiches.

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