NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Katz’s Delicatessen has been urging customers to “send a salami to your boy in the Army” for generations. Now, the New York City restaurant, where everyone’s favorite scene from “When Harry Met Sally” was shot, is expanding its shipping capacity so it can send perishable delicacies like pastrami and corned beef around the globe.
The plan to offer a taste of authentic, old New York by mail is part of an ongoing effort by Katz’s young owner to modernize a business that hasn’t changed much since it was founded on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1888.
“I can’t necessarily replicate the entire experience for you, wherever you are at home,” said Jake Dell, 29. “But I can give you the food. I can bring it a little bit closer to you.”
A granddaddy of New York City’s vanishing Jewish delis, Katz’s has become a draw in recent years for tourists looking for bits of the old, immigrant experience in a gentrifying neighborhood where gleaming condo towers are replacing old tenements.
And unlike some New York City eateries packed with tourists, it is as popular with foodies as it is with the masses of out-of-towners.
Arlene, who was visiting from Ft. Lauderdale was overjoyed at the proposed culinary expansion.
“That sounds fabulous,” she told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern. “We need a good pastrami sandwich down there.”
Dell represents the third generation of his family to run Katz’s. He celebrated his bar mitzvah there. And as owner, he’s balancing tradition with some gentle changes.
“Our customer base has broadened quite significantly and so to be able to provide them with the foods that they know and love, we’ve gotta do this,” he tells 1010 WINS.
A new 30,000 square-foot (2,787.07 square meters) shipping facility in Hackensack, New Jersey, will open sometime in the next year. Katz’s is also opening a takeout-only outpost in Brooklyn’s new DeKalb Market Hall next month. Katz’s, lucky to own its building in a city where rent increases have a habit of putting even iconic spots out of business, also recently gave itself a financial cushion by selling off adjoining properties and air rights to a condominium developer.
“We’re looking at ways of connecting to people that want this food,” Dell said. “There’s really no limit to the amount of pastramis I can send to people.”
Katz’s began encouraging customers to “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army” during World War II and the business still ships salami overseas. But cured meats that require refrigeration are shipped only within the United States. A triple classic sandwich combo includes a pound each of sliced brisket, pastrami and corned beef, a loaf of rye bread, 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of mustard and 2 quarts (1.89 liters) of pickles.
Dell isn’t sure exactly when the expanded delivery service will start or which countries he’ll market to first.
“Canada seems to be the easiest first step,” he said. “South America has a strong passion for cured meats. The UK and Australia have been clawing out to us and just craving this food. But it’s difficult and navigating those customs waters has been an eye-opening experience. I hope to get there soon.”
Customers leaving the restaurant said they’d be in favor of global expansion.
“The food is delicious. Why not let everybody enjoy it?” said Christine McGee, of Indianapolis.
“Each time I’m in New York I have to visit at least once,” said Yaakov Sabbagh, of Jerusalem.
Would he order the food from home?”
“If it comes to Israel, yes, definitely,” he said.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)