At the just opened Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette, co-owners and siblings Will and Julie Horowitz display a modern take on assembly-line lunches in FiDi, with a midcentury modern aesthetic. The fast-casual version of the sister restaurant in the East Village marks the rise of their mini-empire with the two locations as well as Ducks Eatery.
While the look may be retro, unlike Jewish delis of yore, Will Horowitz is looking to the future, namely the health of his body and his business: Earlier this year, the 34-year-old ended up in the hospital with high blood pressure, and realized he had to cut down on meat in his diet. So he gravitated toward vegetable dishes as he hashed out plans for the new place. The result is a menu that is three-quarters vegan, with plenty of examples of his pickling, curing, and smoking skills on display.
The menu also looks to two other modern dilemmas for a New York City restaurant: food waste and the cost of labor. The fix is that the owners are working in partnership with Baldor’s SparCs program, a food waste initiative, using items like their broccoli stems and excess eggs in various dishes. And as far as labor, Horowitz has created a menu that allows him to do most of the prep work up front.
Here now, a closer look at three dishes from the new spot:
Lunch Plates With Hot-Smoked Maple Salmon and Smoked Apricot Chicken
Lunch plates comprise the core of the menu, with a model similar to the grain bowls taking over Manhattan. Diners pick a base (kasha, greens, or grains), and two vegetables for $9.50. Proteins are an add-on for $2.50 or $4.
Braised broccoli stems with fermented black beans, pictured on the top left of the salmon plate, show off lesser-used vegetables cooked in one of Horowitz’s signature methods that is meat-free. Protein options include completely vegetarian chopped liver and coconut babaganoush with baked tofu. Vegetable options will rotate based on what’s available.
The Pops Pastrami Sandwich
This is the pastrami sandwich that drew Horowitz much of his acclaim. In a city where locals base pastrami comparisons to Katz’s, it’s impressive for a newcomer to draw so much attention.
Horowitz shies away from the traditional and beloved rye bread with mustard, instead pairing his intensely smoky meat with buttermilk-fermented cucumber kraut, cracked rye berry, anchovy mustard, and a fistful of fresh dill. The result is “amazing,” says Eater critic Robert Sietsema. “Instantly, this is one of the best pastrami sandwiches in town.”
Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette is now open at 11 Park Place between Broadway and Church Street, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.