After last week’s egg cream controversy stirred up by the City Room’s article "Can the Egg Cream Make a Comeback?” in which the proprietor of Chocolate Bar offered to reinvigorate the lost egg cream for New York City by fancying it up with flavors like hazelnut and espresso, many people replied that the egg cream never died, so it isn't lost and doesn’t need any reinvigorating. An egg cream fan, Eater special correspondent Jeremiah Moss decided to embark on a tour of the Lower East Side to check in on the true state of this New York delicacy.
Along the way, he talked with Fred Austin, co-owner of Katz’s, who assures us, “The state of the egg cream is good. But it has to be served by a middle-aged Jewish guy with an unlit cigar clenched between his teeth and a wet napkin draped over his arm. Otherwise, it’s not a real egg cream.”
Traditionally, because they didn’t serve dairy, Katz’s didn’t do egg creams until about 15 years ago. Fred, who grew up on Grand, used to get them from kiosks on the street. “Those were the best.” What does he say to the claim that Chocolate Bar is bringing the egg cream back to life? “Not if they’re making them hazelnut they’re not.”
(As for those perennial whispers that Katz’s might be vanishing, Fred says, “Every so often I drop the rumor we might be closing, just to boost our business, but I like this place too much. We’ll be around for a long while.”)
— Jeremiah Moss