Are your meats hormone and antibiotic free? Are the animals treated humanely?
Why don’t you sell Dr. Brown’s soda anymore?
Why does the pastrami and corned beef seem more expensive than at other deli counters?
What size should a deli sandwich be?
Are the meats Kosher?
Is Saul’s Kosher?
Why isn’t there a good New York deli in the Bay Area?
Who is Saul?
Does Saul’s take reservations?
Our turkey, chicken, lamb, and Niman Ranch beef are all humanely and sustainably raised. Their feed is hormone and antibiotic free. Our meat producers include Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, Petaluma Poultry Niman Ranch, and BN Ranch. The only exceptions are our Kosher hotdogs and Best’s Kosher salami.
Herbal extracts mixed with mineral water were popularized at the turn of the century, conceived as health-inducing concoctions. While people seek these flavors for their enduring timelessness, and to revisit memories, the experience of them being made by small local purveyors has been lost. We want to put the authenticity back into these classics by making them ourselves from scratch.
Dr. Brown’s — which originated as a small producer — is now sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and owned by Canada Dry, which is owned by Dr Pepper/Seven Up, a unit of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. At one time, there were hundreds of celery sodas, each with their own interpretation on the market. One of the saddest changes in Jewish deli history has been consolidation of the soda industry, from hundreds of small-batch, regional and local soda alchemists in the New York area alone, to just one brand recalling that era and those flavors, in name only.
We’ve eliminated demand for nearly 20,000 bottled beverages a year, displacing out-of-season, corn-syrup sodas with seasonal, natural flavors, and 360,000 plastic straws a year by offering cardboard straws.Our classic, heritage flavors include celery, cream, cardamom, ginger ale. Our seasonal flavors have included strawberry, cherry, blood orange, mandarin, and meyer lemon.
Here’s to the movement towards seasonal connectedness, more local processing, lower carbon emissions, fewer cans and bottles wasted, fewer commodity crops (high-fructose corn syrup), and fewer heavy fossil-fueled bottled beverages transported across the country from centralized facilities owned by conglomerates . . . [glasses 'clink']
For many, it’s been a few years since visiting a deli in New York. Prices have gone up since then. Click here for Katz’s and Zabar’s prices on pastrami and corned beef per pound. Saul’s prices are considerably less.
Better yet, the production of Saul’s meat doesn’t externalize environmental and humanitarian costs like other deli meats.
Our meat is sustainably and humanely raised, not factory farmed.
The farms we source from pasture animals instead of caging them in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). They don’t routinely feed their animals antibiotics and hormones. Antibiotics in feed is standard despite the fact that the American Medical Association has opposed non-therapeutic use of anti-microbials in agriculture since 2001. The farms manage animal waste properly so it doesn’t contaminate our water and air and pose public health threats. The cows eat a vegetarian diet, not a cannibalistic one. We also believe in fairly compensating small family farmers. This is just the tip of the iceberg of differences between meat produced responsibly and meat produced with just one criteria in mind: cheap, quick, profit.
Just because most meat offered by our extremely troubled and often unethical food system may be cheaper doesn’t mean it’s right. Unfortunately, our expectations and ideas of how much food should cost is based on decades of harmful practices.
As it turns out, Saul’s pastrami is a bargain!
Our standard pastrami sandwich is made with 6 ounces, or a little over 1/3 lb.
Celebrating abundance is a part of Jewish culinary and immigrant history. Having the financial wherewithal to partake in a mountain of pastrami was one of our contributions to the idea of the American Dream. Consumption represented –and continues to represent–a significant accomplishment for many immigrant groups as they moved into the middle class. But excess isn’t as fun as it used to be.
Americans eat about eight ounces of meat a day, about twice the global average, and growing global demand is expected to accelerate the damage to the environment and public health. Click here for one of Mark Bittman’s hilarious and compelling rants against the amount of meat we consume.
Meat, especially beef, contributes greatly to global warming.18% of global greenhouse gases come from livestock production. As ruminants, cows produce methane, 20 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon. Livestock also plays a large role in water depletion and pollution, energy use, land degradation, oil demand/petroleum-based fertilizer use and biodiversity destruction.
What about grass-finished beef? Shockingly, grass-finished beef has the potential to generate as much as 50% more GHG emissions than grain-fed beef. Albert Straus of the Straus Family Creamery points out in this op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle that 100% pastured dairy cows may be less sustainable than grain and grass fed, depending on location and climate.
And eating vegetarian has a lower carbon footprint than eating local meat – no matter how many food miles those veggies, soy, legumes and grains have traveled.
What’s more: Pastrami and corned beef come from a small cut of muscle – the navel end of the brisket. This cut of beef yields 45% usable meat on average, and each cow yields just two briskets. At this rate, a single deli potentially requires 10, 20, 30 cows a day.
So, in addition to our standard 6 ounce sandwich, we offer half sandwiches and 2 ounce sandwiches. You can also stack on additional meat in 2 ounce increments.
Abundance, and our celebration of it, must come in forms besides so much meat-based protein in one sitting – the abundance of seasonal fruit and vegetables, an abundance of family and friends sharing dishes at the dinner table . . .
No. Our meats are sustainably and humanely produced.
We don’t serve pork or shellfish. We do serve pastrami reubens with swiss cheese.
Even in New York itself, only a few delis remain from thousands in business from early to mid-20th century. Saul’s is not a New York deli, and its non-New Yorker, 21st century audience has a different palate and different cultures and politics informing their dining desires. Even New Yorkers don’t patronize delis like they used to for many of the same reasons.
Recreating the New York deli is not our charge. Food, authenticity, flavor, sustainability, survival, and being true to the values of our culinary roots are our first priority.
Saul’s is engaging in a larger story than one generation’s mid-20th century New York experience, which is only one point in the evolution of our cuisine. We reference the New York deli, but we are not just looking backward, attempting to recreate/imitate/replicate that fixed dish, that moment in time. We don’t serve a purely nostalgic menu. We serve a forward looking cuisine with strong roots in the past, all along our culinary timeline, from the Old World to today.
The recipes of Old-world kitchens grew out of pre-industrialized food supply systems, local economic partnerships, community self-sufficiency, resourcefulness and hearty pragmatism.
In an effort to reconnect to these mores, Saul’s partners with local organic producers wherever possible, avoids industrial pre-processing, and embraces sustainability as the ultimate pragmatism. This is how Saul’s holds true to the hearty, authentic culinary traditions of Jewish culture.
Taste memories from a particular time, place or childhood are sweet and fugitive. We search for flavors and textures that remind us home, of loved ones, of carefree times. And recreating that experience is more often than not elusive. What’s more, memory does not accurately capture all the details of our individual history.
The Jewish deli will not survive on nostalgia alone. To stay relevant, we must:
- Value local commerce and local economies
- Revive local food security
- Provide for contemporary tastes: greater appetite for fresh vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits
- Acknowledge modern science: the relationship of food to health, and
- Recognize food production’s impact on the environment
- Humanely treat the animals we eat: know slaughter methods, quality of life
- Be resource conscious with regard to water, energy, oil, food production and transportation.
These are issues to which we are accountable, even when upholding cherished traditions and cherished dishes. Our menus cannot continue be vast and unchanging year-round. Menus must respect season, time, and place.
Authenticity is a moving target, too. No American had tasted corn-fed beef, less lean and more marbled than purely grass-fed beef, until World War II.
In the 1930’s, the building Saul’s is in was a produce depot right off the railroad tracks. Since the 1950’s, it has housed a delicatessen: First the Pantry Shelf, then Rosenthal’s, and finally Saul’s, established in 1986, in honor of Saul Lichtenstein.
Saul and his wife Ginny liked to feed people. Saul held forth and Ginny cooked. Friends and family would gather with him at his house to eat, talk with their mouth full, trade stories. We like all that.
We take reservations for parties of five and more.