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Thursday, June 13, 2024 — Houston, TX

Kahn's local sandwiches win



By Anthony Lauriello     8/31/11 7:00pm

The first time I went to Kahn's Deli this summer, I knew I had made a good choice.  Not only did the fresh deli ingredients, showcased on the counter, look delicious, but the owners, James Burke and Jeremy Pakalka, talked with me for a good half-hour about the history of the sandwich shop and the joys ?of pastrami.

Conveniently located in Rice Village, Kahn's Deli came under new management less than a year ago when business partners Burke and Pakalka decided to take over the deli, which was established in 1948. While I have never been to the original, the Rice Village restaurant offers an array of delicious sandwiches, all priced ?around $10.

And what sandwiches they are. Named after regulars and local sports teams, including the Rice Owl's Hoot, a combination of turkey, ham, salami and provolone,  the tasty offerings aren't exactly innovative but they are deli classics done right.

Friendly staff will gladly help you customize your sandwich. The meat is cut to perfection and is some of the best animal flesh I have had in Houston. The vegetables are delightfully fresh and are combined with the perfect amount of zesty spices to make a sandwich symphony that will not just please your stomach but your ?very soul.  

The Montrose area Katz's Deli feels like a cheap Subway sandwich shop in comparison.

My personal favorite of their offerings is Alfred's PLT, which is exactly like a BLT with pastrami instead of bacon. However, I recommend adding bacon for an unholy creation that is as delicious as it is artery clogging. However you really can't go wrong with the menu and all the other sandwiches. The Reuben and the Bagel and Lox were also superb.  The serving size of the sandwich is perfect for lunch especially combined with chips and a drink, which come customary with all menu items.  Kahn's also sells breakfast for extreme diners who wake up before 10 a.m., including pancakes and croissants with bacon, egg and cheese. While the restaurant does not currently open late enough for dinner, the owners hinted that their hours could change ?very soon.

The decor of the recently renovated restaurant is pleasant enough, albeit a bit sparse. The hand-drawn chalkboard with interesting and illustrative typeface reminds you how local this restaurant really is. A new bar-type seating arrangement gives a good view of the ever-increasing selection of drinks, including alcohol.  The owners have also decided to showcase Houston Area street and graffiti artists on one of the restaurant's large ?brick walls.

The best thing about the restaurant is how it's renewing its historic relationship to Rice. Long before Kahn's came under new management, the sandwich shop sold box lunches to those attending football games.

While this is no longer an option, you can now buy a limited selection of sandwiches at Coffeehouse in its new location.  The sandwiches are smaller in size than those sold in the proper restaurant, making them a good option for snacking. Unfortunately the sandwiches don't approach the complexity of those in the restaurant, so those wanting the full experience will have to make a trek to ?the Village.

Another drawback is the logo, which depicts the Empire State Building and other skyscrapers. The New York skyline might denote deli greatness, but Kahn's is purely a local affair, something we as Rice students should be proud of having ?on campus.

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