Pastrami on rye
A pastrami sandwich from Katz's Delicatessen
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateNew York City, New York
Main ingredientspastrami, rye bread, spicy brown mustard

Pastrami on rye is a sandwich comprising sliced pastrami on rye bread, often served with mustard and Kosher dill pickles. It was popularized in the Jewish delicatessens of New York City and has been described as New York's "signature sandwich". It was created in 1888 by the Lithuanian immigrant Sussman Volk, who served it at his deli on Delancey Street in Manhattan.


Pastrami on rye, served with the classic accoutrements of spicy brown mustard and Kosher dill pickles.

Sussman Volk emigrated from Lithuania in the late 1800s and opened a small butchershop on New York's Lower East Side. He befriended another immigrant, from Romania, whom he allowed to store meat in his large icebox. In exchange, the friend gave the recipe for pastrami to Volk, who began to serve it to his customers. It proved so popular that, in 1888, Volk opened a delicatessen at 88 Delancey Street, one of the first delis in New York City, where he served the pastrami on rye bread.[1]

The pastrami on rye became a favorite at other delis, topped with spicy brown mustard.[2] Delis in New York City, such as Katz's Delicatessen, have become known for their pastrami on rye sandwiches.[3][4] In her description of the book on Katz's,[5] Florence Fabricant, the food critic for the New York Times, described the volume "as overstuffed as Katz's pastrami on rye".[6]

The pastrami on rye sandwich is a symbol of the classic New York Jewish deli,[7][8][9][10] featured in delis around the world attempting to recreate the ambience of the original New York delis, in cities such as Los Angeles,[7] Buenos Aires,[11] Boca Raton, Florida,[12] and San Diego, California.[13] The classic, which the Wall Street Journal called New York's "signature sandwich", consists simply of sliced pastrami, placed on rye bread, and topped with spicy brown mustard.[14] It is usually accompanied by a Kosher dill pickle.[15]

Notable delis and restaurants

pastrami on rye from Katz's Delicatessen


Corned beef and pastrami on rye may be prepared using rye bread, pastrami, corned beef, cole slaw, and Russian dressing. Preparation involves placing both meats on a slice of rye bread and topping it with coleslaw. Russian dressing may be added to the top slice of bread.[22]

Pastrami, lettuce, and tomato (PLT) may be prepared using two slices of toasted sourdough bread, mayonnaise, pastrami, lettuce, tomato slices. Preparation involves placing the pastrami on a toasted slice of sourdough bread and topping it with the lettuce and tomato slices. Mayonnaise may be spread on the second slice of sourdough, and placed on top of the sandwich.[23]

Delicatessen establishments in Montreal offer a similar sandwich with rye bread and mustard, although with Montreal-style smoked meat instead of pastrami. [24]

See also


  1. ^ Moscow, Henry (1995). The Book of New York Firsts. Syracuse University Press. p. 123. ISBN 0815603088. Retrieved March 25, 2016. pastrami sandwich origin.
  2. ^ Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0544186316. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  3. ^ Weissmann, Jordan (October 27, 2014). "The Ur-Deli". Slate. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  4. ^ "NYC Jewish Delicatessens: The Ultimate Guide". New York Eater. December 22, 2015. Archived from the original on March 30, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  5. ^ Dell, Jake; Richman, Adam (2013). Katz's: Autobiography of a Delicatessen. Bauer & Dean Publishers. ISBN 978-0983863267. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  6. ^ Fabricant, Florence (September 10, 2013). "Laotian Banh Mi, Surprising Cupcakes and More". New York Times.
  7. ^ a b "Not just pastrami on rye". Ynet News. January 31, 2013. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Sax, D. (2011). Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen. McClelland & Stewart. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-55199-583-0.
  9. ^ Zukin, Nick; Zusman, Michael (2013). The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. ix. ISBN 978-1449441326. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Merwin, Ted (January 17, 2016). "A pastrami-on-rye goodbye: The sad death of once pervasive Jewish deli culture". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  11. ^ Sax, David (2011). Save the Deli. McClelland & Stewart. p. 191. ISBN 978-1551995830. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  12. ^ Sentenac, Hannah (June 22, 2015). "Atlas Meat Free Deli's Rachel on Rye Is a Vegan Pastrami Dream". Broward Palm Beach New Times. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  13. ^ Anderson, Ian (April 28, 2015). "What's in a name? Pastrami on rye". San Diego Reader. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  14. ^ Dunn, Deborah (January 8, 2016). "Pastrami on Rye: The 6 Best Places to Eat New York's Signature Sandwich". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  15. ^ Taylor, Tracey (March 11, 2016). "Saul's Deli is for sale, but there's no need to panic". Berkeleyside. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  16. ^ Austin, Tom (March 1, 2005). "On rye, no mayo: Jordan Mozer's update of Canter's deli, a Tinseltown landmark, is a hidden gem at Treasure Island.(fireworks)". Interior Design. Archived from the original on April 18, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  17. ^ Levine, Harry G. "pastrami land, the jewish deli in new york city" (PDF). QC Pages. p. 69. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 19, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  18. ^ Buxton, Bonnie; Guernsey, Betty (November 1, 1974). "The Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich". The Montreal Gazette. p. 39.
  19. ^ a b The two Montreal locations in this list serve Montreal-style smoked meat, though, which is usually considered a different specialty. Bonem, Max (June 15, 2017). "The Differences Between Corned Beef, Pastrami and Montreal Smoked Meat". Food and Wine. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  20. ^ Ephron, Nora (August 19, 2002). "A Sandwich". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  21. ^ Richardson, Nikita (November 8, 2022). "How's the Jewish Deli Doing?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2024.
  22. ^ "Sandwich Report Card: Corned Beef and Pastrami". Travel Channel. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  23. ^ "P.L.T. (Pastrami, Lettuce & Tomato)". Nations Best Authentic New York Deli. Archived from the original on April 5, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  24. ^ Note: "Old Man Kravitz, a shameless self-promoter ... Throughout the years Ben claimed that he introduced the smoked meat sandwich to Montreal. But it is a well-known fact that the British-American Delicatessen Store had been dispensing quality smoked meat sandwiches for a period of four years prior to the establishment of Fanny's Fruit and Candy Store. Old Man Kravitz also implied that he introduced smoked meat to Montreal, but we know that is a pile of baloney". Eiran Harris, Montreal-Style Smoked Meat: An interview with Eiran Harris conducted by Lara Rabinovitch, with the cooperation of the Jewish Public Library Archives of Montreal, Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures: Volume 1, numéro 2, 2009.

Further reading