Iconic Indiana Eats: Shapiro’s Delicatessen

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Shapiro’s Delicatessen has been a staple in the Indianapolis food scene for over 100 years. The family owned Jewish deli is a must try for visitors to the Circle City and regularly makes the lists of best places to eat in Indianapolis.

The Shapiro’s legacy in Indiana started in the early 1900s when Louis and Rebecca Shapiro immigrated to Indianapolis from Russia. They started selling grocery items on the street from a pushcart and a few years later opened a small grocery deli just south of downtown Indianapolis. Eventually, that deli morphed into the Shapiro’s we know today and remains a family run establishment.

So what to order when you go to Shapiro’s? I hadn’t been since I was a kid – my grandparents lived in Anderson for a while, so we would swing through and always make a stop there when visiting them. It seems to come down to two sandwiches that battle it out for the top spot on the menu: the pastrami or the corned beef.

Since Shapiro’s makes the claim that their corned beef sandwich is the number one pick, I decided to go with that! I also added two sides – some matzo ball soup and potato pancakes (or latkes). Everything is cafeteria style, so you pick up your tray, silverware and then order while the person behind the counter makes your sandwich fresh and right in front of you.

My entire meal came to a total of just over $31 with the bulk of the cost being that sandwich at $18.75. You can just order a half, but I took my leftovers home and had another meal. The rye bread is also made in house and it was perfection.

Everything about the sandwich was worth the price. Meat has gone up significantly in recent years and Shapiro’s has purchased their beef from a supplier in Chicago since the 1930s. To keep that same quality people expect, the price is going to be higher than if you purchased from a deli at your local grocery store.

The matzo ball soup, which is a Jewish soup dumpling, came with the option of broth or noodles. I picked both, but I think it would be better in a chicken noodle soup with some carrots! I think maybe that’s what the noodle option is, so next time I go back, I think I’d rather order it that way.

Finally, the potato pancakes (or latkes) were a crunchy, fried potato cake that I expected to be much thinner! I thought they were a great side item and went well with everything else I ordered but maybe not a must get item when stopping in.

Shapiro’s definitely lives up to the long-standing tradition and reputation they’ve built as Indianapolis’ best Jewish Deli. Be sure to watch my YouTube video for the full experience!

Stay tuned for more Iconic Indiana eats and check out other food reviews on my blog here.

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