Every once in a while, you need the comfort of a great deli sandwich. Not any of the national fast food sandwich chain fare for me. A real Kosher deli big bite.
Shapiro’s Deli located at 808 S. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, has been carving out great delicatessen delectables since 1905. The atmosphere is simple and understated, a bit of a throwback to mid-Century deli/cafeteria counters with steam tables filled to the max with freshly made menu items. And they host a bakery where epicureans can take home loaves of freshly baked rye bread, bagels, poppy seed hot dog buns (I haven’t found these available anywhere else.) , and scrumptious desserts – cakes, pies, and cheesecakes.
My husband, Richard, worked in New York City for a while, and I’ve heard many stories about Kosher deli-style food readily available just about anywhere he frequented. So it was on our way to the Indianapolis International Airport early in our marriage that I suggested we stop by Shapiro’s for lunch. He’s never forgotten the sandwiches ordered: classic Rubens, perfectly toasted, piled high with corned beef, sauerkraut, cheese and thousand island dressing, topped with a slice of a Kosher dill pickle. Outstanding!
Here’s what I ordered with a side of potato salad. Honestly, the potato salad is nothing special, but on this day, I preferred this to a bag of chips, which I rarely order.
My husband caught me eyeing the potato pancakes (Yes! Those are potato pancakes.) so he ordered one for us to sample. Most definitely fried in bacon grease or a combo of bacon grease and lard, the pancake was ample and flavorful. It was the first bite I took. I didn’t know what to expect. The pancake is a little heavy on filler. But it was crispy and hot, even after prepared and on the steam table. Would have benefited from some applesauce or sour cream. We took half of the pancake home, and it was delicious the next day, maybe even better.
Pricing is not for the faint of heart. Our sandwiches were $16 each! Including the sides and a soda to share, we spent over $40. Ouch!! Whatever the price, the quality is right on. There’s no tip. It’s a line cafeteria-style setup. Soda refills are free. There are to-go cups that make this option even better.
In my mind, it was worth the price for a special treat. Shapiro’s offers lots of sandwich and steam table options. Here’s a link to their menu:
And Shapiro’s has locations at Keystone at the Crossing, and the Indianapolis Airport. Patrons can order deli meat by the pound (corned beef, pastrami, brisket, peppered beef, etc.), whole desserts or by the slice, and specialty items like their cabbage rolls. I mean, who doesn’t love stuffed cabbage??
We enjoy Shapiro’s, if only for the iconic, traditional, good food aspect of gastronomic delight. In business for over 100 years, there’s plenty of popularity, support, and regular patrons to sustain Shapiro’s for many decades to come. I can’t imagine the business they do on an Indianapolis Colts game day. Just what Richard remembered. Who can ask for more than that??