Lower East Side Field Trip

Yonah Shimmel’s

Whenever I want an authentic NYC knish I head to Yonah Shimmel’s, 137 Houston Street, on the lower east side and very conveniently located near Katz’s Deli. Corned beef from Katz’s and a sweet potato knish from Shimmel’s – A perfect pairing. If you are looking for a square, everyday sort of, knish this is not the place to go. These knishes are round and stuffed with potato, spinach, vegetable, broccoli, sweet potato, cabbage and kasha (buckwheat groats) first brought to New York by Yonah, a Romanian immigrant . As a matter of fact the recipe for the Kasha knish is exactly the same as when he sold them out of his pushcart on the lower east side in 1890. Yonah Shimmel’s has landmark status and is currently owned by a great nephew of Yonah’s, Alex Wolfman.  I love going there on the weekend and sitting across the street on the steps of the park munching away on a delicious sweet potato knish and people watching.

Lower East Sidelower east sideLower east side

Katz’s Deli

Another Lower East Side institution is Katz’s Deli which is located at 205 Houston street.  Katz’s was founded in 1888 and is known for the very BEST Corned beef and Pastrami overstuffed sandwiches in the World… well my world anyway, New York City. Anyone who goes here for the first time will feel slightly confused.  The first head scratcher is the subway style turnstile you have to go through to enter, while a large bouncer sort of person slaps a ticket in your hand, and the hand of every member of your party entering.  The Pastrami Bouncer (I am so trademarking that) will say something in a gruff New York City accent like “Don’t lose em or you’ll have ta pay for every item on der!” Next you see lines of people waiting at different counters and rows & rows of tables. The walls are lined with signed photos of famous people who have eaten there and signs and tee shirts with their famous slogan “ Send a pastrami to your boy in the army.’ The slogan was originally created when both partners sons’ were serving in the armed forces during World War 2. I always skip the knish line and head straight to the meat line. I have to admit, no matter how hungry I might be, I have never been able to finish a Katz’s sandwich on my own. The ticket you are now holding, in your overly protective hand, has to be given to the counterman when you order so he can mark it off. The countermen are usually friendly and generous with their serving and should always be tipped in my opinion. I always go with my husband so one of us (me) goes in search of a seat while the other one (him) orders. When we are finally both seated we feast on either a corned beef or pastrami sandwich on rye bread and both old fashioned sour and sweet pickles.  I recommend, if you have any room left after eating at Katz’s, that you head over to Yonah Shimmel’s and enjoy a knish. A perfect combination on the lower east side!

Lower East Side

Pastrami Sandwich –
credit to Katz’s Deli website

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About The Author

Profile photo of Bleecker
Resident Tourist

Born here. Lives here and never leaving. The nicest person to ever not speak in public. Loves New York