From Romania to America: The Journey of Pastrami

As an American diner in Berlin, sometimes we incorrectly assume that our patrons are always familiar not only with our menu items, but also the context surrounding them. Point in case: when reading over this week’s specials, it occurred to us that we’ve been serving pastrami sandwiches for a couple of years now. But does everyone have the same understanding of what that is? Surely to some guests, pastrami is nothing more than a menu option, a collection of letters upon a page. To illuminate the topic, here’s a brief background on the delicacy that is the pastrami sandwich.

Pastrami—a cut of beef that is brined, rubbed with spices, and then smoked or slow-cooked—was brought to the US by Romanian Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century. Whereas they originally used inexpensive goose breast to make pastrami, the immigrants switched to beef navel (stomach) as it was much cheaper in the US.

 Pastrami from the infamous Katz's Deli in New York City.   Source:

Pastrami from the infamous Katz's Deli in New York City. 


A kosher butcher by the name of Sussman Volk is credited with making the first pastrami sandwich in the states. As the story goes, he received a recipe for pastrami in exchange for storing luggage for a friend. He started to make pastrami sandwiches in his shop and they became wildly popular.

Today, pastrami sandwiches are still a staple of Jewish delis and diners across the country—each establishment adding their own special touch.

This week, in honor of pastrami, the main feature on our specials menu is the pastrami amore burger. In the words of our chef, it is “a love affair between our homemade pastrami and our signature beef patty, topped with American cheese, grilled onions, and sliced pickles.”

Pastrami Amore Burger


 Pastrami and burger: an epic culinary collaboration. 

Pastrami and burger: an epic culinary collaboration. 

Also on the menu this week: bacon & beef mac ‘n cheese, caramelized onion & herb butter mac ‘n cheese, French onion soup, and pancakes or French toast topped with peach and apricot compote.