What, what, what happened to Katz’s Deli?

Katz’s, you used to be my late night eatery.  I took my friends to get cheesecake shakes for their birthdays after late drunken nights at Slick Willie’s.  I craved your fried pickles at all hours when I could hardly afford them.  I learned to tie cherry stems in knots because a cute waiter patiently procured bowl after bowl of maraschinos for this express purpose.  And now, the charismatic waiters are gone, Viggo the manager is gone, your fried pickles are still there but now they cost $7.99.  What poor college student can afford that?

If I had to pinpoint a tipping point, it would be the hot chocolate.  Katz’s used to have 1 (one) refill for each order of hot chocolate.  Small, but significant, when your bank balance hovers $5 give or take from being in the red.  Who orders hot chocolate in Houston?  Expat Pennsylvanians feelin’ the winter chill and hankerin’ for a moment of luxury, that’s who.  Except one day the free refill was gone.  After that appetizers slowly increased in price each time the menu was revamped.  These days you don’t get free pickles and ‘slaw on your table unless you ASK for it.

My last visit to Katz’s was a disaster.  When I asked the waiter what the soup of the day was, he scooted around behind me so he could read the listed soups off the menu: mazto ball, chicken noodle, and borscht.  And today’s special? “Uhhhh… we don’t have none.”  That’s fine, I’ll just have the lunchmeat *ahem* tavern on the green salad.  The waiter recited our orders back to us.  Notice:

tavern on the greenmmmm… lunchmeat and bag salad

Here’s my lunchmeat salad.  Guess at least the portions are still huge.

where's dinner?????

Here’s the hunny’s… wait what happened?  (that’s remnants of fried pickles in the foreground, yo, that was an appetizer).  Apparently, even having the waiter recite your order back to you and write it down doesn’t guarantee a correct order.  Somewhere in the five feet between our table and the POS a Philly cheesesteak turned into a French dip.  But, apparently, it’s because he neglected to follow the instructions on the menu and “order by number” cuz the waiter thought he said “a number twelve,” not, “a Philly cheesesteak.”  I am baffled.

what kind of country is this that we can no longer order a sandwich by name?

I protest.  That was my final visit to katz’s.

Now, if only Beaver’s had milkshakes.  There is really nothing like fried pickles and a chocolate shake…

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