HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Aug 29, 2001 07:39 AM

Any delis of Zingerman's caliber???

  • d

When I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, everybody raved about Zingerman's Delicatessan and how it was the closest thing the Midwest had to a real New York deli. Imagine my surprise upon moving to NYC years later unable to find any delis that hold a candle to Zingerman's. Don't get me wrong, the delis here are great if you're looking for standard stuff like corned beef and chopped liver, but Zingerman's had a vast array of vegetarian sandwiches as well. Most of the delis I've encountered here are either Midtown tourist places that try to compensate for their shortcomings with staggering amounts of meat, or neighborhood convenience stores akin to gas station restaurants. I can't believe NYC doesn't have any decent gourmet delis.... Please help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i think there is a logic break going on here. the problem is comparing ZINGERMANS to a nyc deli---as you can see it's not! What it is is a super theme park style deli on steriods. this is something the midwest excels at, like big-box grocery stores & supersize new car lots. and they do it well, ZINGERMANS is great, you can load your car up on stuff there. however, to answer your question more directly, try GOOD FOOD DELI @ bleecker & 8th ave.,they have all those tasty sandwiches and stuff.

    btw, i hear ZINGERMANS is a copy of a deli in chicago, i don't recall the name. that suprized me i thought it was such an original idea. on the other hand, the concept is so popular that there is a copy of it in columbus called KATZINGERS.

    6 Replies
    1. re: mrnyc

      Another UM alum, and I third the motion. However, I have found a couple places in Manhattan with comparable sandwiches: Grey Dog's Coffee on Carmine @Bleeker in the Village is obviously owned by a fellow Wolverine, and Zigolini's down in the Wall Street district has excellent sandwiches (order the "Eric" on sourdough and grilled, best georgia reuben in town).

      I do, however, want to set the record straight w/r/t Katzingers Deli in Columbus: The two families that started Zingermans and Katzingers are old friends, and opened similar delis as a (somewhat) joint endeavor. Katzingers is not merely a "copy" of Zingermans.

      1. re: go4blue

        just curious......what is a georgia reuben???

        1. re: Cpalms
          Joe Schumacher

          From the Spring 1995 (Issue #128) Zingerman's menu and newsletter:

          #18 Georgia Rueben $7.75
          Turkey breast, switzerland swiss cheese, coleslaw, russian dressing on grilled rye bread.

        2. re: go4blue

          i did not realize that KATZINGERS and ZINGERMANS started at the same time, i always assumed it was a copy, thanks for the scoop. fyi i am not a UM alum (BGSU), but spent at lot of time in aa/detroit and later lived in columbus a few years. so, i have been to both deli's often, although some years back now. my question for you or anyone is, what is the name of the original chicago deli both of these famed midwest sandwich shops were inspired from? does anyone know?

          also, i second your nyc sandwich shop suggestions, but one made me lol on a side note---GREY DOG. it must be run by UM alums! i always thought this place and it's clientele reminded me of ann arbor. btw, guess which spot nearby is run by ohio state alums---CALIENTE CAB CO., says a lot about the two schools, no :)?

          1. re: mrnyc

            The Caliente Cab Co is owned by OSU alumni? You sure about that? If so, I'm taking my business there. (Figures a Mich man would talk about "real deli" with meat and cheese on the same sandwich!!!)
            Does Caliente Cab still have 2 locations, one on Bleecker and the other near NYU dorms on Waverly?

          2. re: go4blue

            My partner Ari Weinzweig and I opened Zingerman's in March of 1982. Katzinger's opened up a couple of years later. It was not a joint venture. We had previously worked with Steve Warren, the owner of Katzinger's. We allowed him to work with us in advance of opening his Deli in Ohio.

        3. firstly, i commend you on your bravery to post on this board you can't find a deli here as good as one in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

          As a fellow UM alum, I concur with your bold statement, albeit in a qualfied fashion...I agree that the sandwiches (including those pastrami, corned beef, chopped liver based) at zingermans are far better than anything i've had in manhattan. i'm talking quality and flavor of meat, cheese and bread combined.

          however, in terms of non-sandwich deli items a la smoked fish, knish, various pickle products, etc...the better delis here in manhattan (barney greengrass, katz's, etc) blow zingerman's away.

          in the end, i would heartily agree there is no SANDWICH SHOP in manhattan which holds a candle to zingerman's.

          10 Replies
          1. re: FattailS

            I, too, am a UM alum--and I put my support to your and Dave O's statements, though I think in your post you don't credit sufficiently Zingerman's vast array of condiments --mustards from around the world, condiments of every sort. And, of course, it has one of the best bread bakeries in the U.S.

            1. re: berkleybabe

              .not to mention the best mail-order catalog anywhere. Food porn! I love the smoked Spanish paprika and the Marash red pepper.

              1. re: berkleybabe
                David Ozharov

                Bethany, is that you?

                Thank y'all for the suggestions. Incidentally, Second Avenue Deli is my favorite one here. I can think of no better place for chopped liver. But if I'm looking for a smoked turkey sandwich with gouda and honey mustard, it's obviously not the place to go.

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  Hi - David--in answer to your question, no, I'm not Bethany. (But thanks for asking! There must be something about me, I'm often mistaken for other people's cousins or friends' sisters --go figure.) I love Zingerman's just for the bread alone--glad we can get it locally (Detroit area) now.

                2. re: FattailS

                  We now interrupt this chow discussion for a technical note!

                  While in many internet discussions it's standard practice to communicate via message titles (e.g. "here here"), that doesn't work for our particular set-up. So...please leave the subject title alone unless the topic of conversation has drifted, and do all your communicating via the body of your message.


                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    I know we're a bit off the topic - but would you explain why it does not work here? I always like when people change subject names and you can decide where or where not to pick up the thread. Thanks.

                    1. re: Jason W.

                      Fair question. But it IS off topic. It would have been best to post this question on our Site Talk board (where we handle all tech questions and site-related issues).

                      I'll answer there....look for the thread titled "Why Shouldn't We Communicate Via Subject Titles?"

                  2. re: FattailS
                    Bill Lukashok

                    excuse me: quality of meat, CHEESE and bread combined? Hello, a real deli does not do that combo.

                    1. re: Bill Lukashok

                      you mean to tell me that any shop serving a sandwich containing meat and cheese is not a 'real' deli?

                      if so, please continue to exist quietly in your small world.

                      1. re: FattailS

                        Perhaps because many New York delis are Kosher, which strictly prohibits the mixing of meat and milk products?

                  3. j
                    Josh Lichtman

                    Zingermans does not hold a candle to the 2nd Ave deli or David's House of Brisket. The deli meat is not made in old fashioned jewish way.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Josh Lichtman
                      Bill Lukashok

                      I am struggling with the question. I am sure that there are delis of Zingerman's caliber somewhere in NYC. The question you have to ask, though, is why, with some of the only good delis left on the planet, would you want to find something like Zingermans in NYC? The whole point of being in NYC is that you can eat real deli, unlike virtually anywhere else, including the entire state of Michigan.
                      As I have elsewhere noted, since Abe died, the Second Avenue Deli does not consistantly produce the finest deli on the planet. However, on most days you can find out what a corned beef or pastrami sandwich was meant to taste like in God's grand design. As for vegetable delli sandwiches, I don't know how to answer that. It's not quite as bad a question as "what is the best mayo for a pastrami sandwich" but it is similarly oxymoronic.

                      Go to the Second Avenue Deli at a busy time of day and enjoy.

                      1. re: Bill Lukashok

                        "As for vegetable delli sandwiches, I don't know how to answer that. It's not quite as bad a question as "what is the best mayo for a pastrami sandwich" but it is similarly oxymoronic.

                        I wholeheartedly concur and I'm a vegetarian. There's a universe of vegetarian options available to my ilk here in NYC but sandwiches in kosher and kosher-style delis don't inhabit it and I'm perfectly comfortable with that. If a friend wants to eat at Katz's, I nurse a Cel-Ray during the meal, possibly in tandem with a knish.

                        NYC delis are what they are and I love them for it. I just wish more of them had survived--there used to be so many and not once during my meat-eating youth did I have a less-than-wonderful meal in any of those I frequented, both kosher and non-kosher.

                    2. I agree that Zingerman's can't be beat for sandwiches (I'm also a UM alum), but Grey Dog does come as close as you can get in Manhattan. And, the atmosphere takes you back to those collegiate days. But, for the recent grads, tell me this...what do you think is in the Ann Arbor-style chipati sauce? I'd like to try to make it at home.

                      1. You like Deli food in NYC? Go to Katz Delicatessen at 205 E Houston St (corner Ludlow). As much as I used to like deli-food, I now stay away from sodium nitrite. I make my own sandwiches using cold-cuts without the preservatives. Whole Foods have all those cuts. Learn to eat healthy.