Katz's Deli and Bar
Katz's Deli in Austin (related to but not affiliated with Katz's Famous Delicatessen in New York) first opened in downtown on the corner of 6th and Rio Grande back in 1979. I don't eat here as often as I used to, but I've never had a bad experience or meal.
618 W 6th ST (78701)
HOURS: "Katz's Never Kloses"
These are pretty expensive sandwiches, to be sure, but I've always enjoyed them and the portions are huge. It's also a fun place to eat - it's a pretty classy dining room for a deli and, if you can find parking, it's always a treat to eat downtown.
The fried pickles are popular, there's a full bar, and it's pretty much the only place downtown that's open 24 hours. That means it does a ton of business around and after 2 am when all the local bars close.
In all honesty, however, my enthusiasm for the place may have a lot to do with nostalgia for my early years in Austin. There's been a lot of speculation, in fact, that Katz's food and service have declined in recent years. Recent online reviews have included a sizable number of negative reviews (granted, a negative experience is more of a motivation than a good experience for getting someone to write an online review).
Much of the perceived decline undoubtedly stems from the unfortunate business and legal disputes between the owners - 51% majority owner and semi-retired Marc Katz and the 49% co-owner, Barry Katz, his son.
Marc Katz - colorful, larger than life, and a fifth generation kosher butcher - has been a tireless and first-rate promoter. He was the only local restaurateur I'm aware of who actually ran television ads. He also ran for Mayor of Austin unsuccessfully back in 2003. And Small Business School featured Marc Katz a while back on one of their PBS distributed episodes.
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