Katz’s Deli is celebrating its 125th anniversary with "a pop-up gallery of Katz’s-inspired art," reports Richard Morgan in The Wall Street Journal (10/24/13). Katz’s, founded in 1888, "bills itself as the nation’s oldest deli." The story goes that "two German-speaking immigrants … borrowed the French word for delicateness (delicatessen) to describe their new shop of fine German fare." Originally it was called Iceland Brothers, but the name was changed to Katz’s after its first year in business when it was purchased "by three entrepreneurs by the name of Katz, Mackstein and Tarowsky."
The Deli remains Katz-owned – fifth generation (although the family name now, appropriately, is Dell), and 26-year-old Jake Dell is curator of a three-month art exhibit that includes "a drawing of a rabbi made of tongues and a series of Katz-related etchings carved into vinyl records of say, the soundtrack to the musical ‘Cats’ or Cat Stevens’ greatest hits." Rich Tu, a local artist, "contributed ‘Army Brat’ (as in bratwurst: it’s a painting of a salami wearing a camouflage helmet and the text ‘send a salami to your boy in the Army,’ a World War II slogan of Katz’s)."
Relatively more recently, Katz’s place in popular culture was set by the famous Meg Ryan "I’ll have what she’s having," scene in "When Harry Met Sally." (link) The gallery opening attracted "mostly hyper-cool 20 somethings," as well as longtime employee Franklin Veras who said: "It’s super New York. It’s super neighborhood. It’s super family. It’s super everything man." Luther Young, 25 and a graphic designer took another view: "It’s a tourist spot, but it’s great," he said. "It’s a New York thing that New Yorkers don’t do, like the Statue of Liberty." The gallery "will feature a rotation of art for the next three months."