For the first time in its 132-year history, Katz's Delicatessen is adding outdoor seating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A New York City staple famous for its pastrami sandwiches, Katz's is known for its aisles of seats indoors. The deli had to innovate to comply or continue serving guests solely through take-out and delivery.
Jake Dell, the fifth-generation owner of Katz's, told CNN Saturday his business has been among the lucky ones throughout the pandemic, keeping all of its staff and their standard hours of work despite schedule changes.
"For some of our customers, doing take out isn't enough," Dell said. "For many, take-out or delivery isn't what they're used to; they grab it on the way home from work or take it home for lunch, eat in the car. Unfortunately for others, that isn't the case. I think being able to provide a service, sitting down to eat, is an amazing opportunity to have and we're immediately thankful for."
Katz's is adding seating capacity for between 50 and 70 people at a time on the sidewalk and street around the restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Dell said. The restaurant went through a trial period last week and is now operating with its outside seating until further notice.
Operating since 1888, non-New Yorkers may know the deli as the location of the famous "I'll have what she's having" scene in the 1989 romantic comedy, "When Harry Met Sally."