PHOTOS: Behind The Counter At A Classic New York Lunch Spot

eisenberg's sandwich shop, eisenbergs, classic restaurant, old school new york, nyc, january 2012, bi, dng

Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop has been serving up classic Jewish deli and diner fare since 1929. When you enter the small luncheonette at 174 Fifth Ave. (between E 22 St. and E 23 St.), you feel like you have entered the New York of old.The space is dominated by a massive countertop, behind which there is a big mirror and tons of classic antique signs. The walls are covered in pictures of current owner Josh Konecky and the many celebrities that frequent the establishment. It is a cozy space, to put it nicely, and at lunch time it gets packed.

Famous for its hot pastrami sandwiches and tuna melts, Eisenberg’s menu boasts that the restaurant has been “Raising New York’s cholesterol since 1929.” From the look of the place at peak hours, it might be right. 

Konecky, the current owner, bought the place in 2005 and has mostly kept it the same. After all, if its charm is in the classic feel, you don’t want to mess with it. This isn’t to say he hasn’t put his own touch on it, like all the pictures on the walls and the addition of the Eisenburger. But for him, it is still all about tradition.

Eisenberg's Sandwich sits on Fifth Ave. near E. 22nd St., and has a classic old-school New York facade.

And it keeps that old-time feel when you walk in the door.

The tables are set simply with a menu and condiments.

But once the lunch rush starts, good luck finding a seat.

The walls are covered with pictures of current owner Josh Konecky with the many celebrities who frequent the place.

There is additional seating in the back.

A small outpost in the back area keep things moving quickly.

And this huge mirror helps give the place a larger feel. At the table, Norman Lapin (left) and Karishma Vohra (right) are having a business lunch. Lapin elected to try the place because he had heard about it for a long time and wanted to check it out. This is Vohra's first time trying matzoh ball soup, a classic item at the restaurant.

The place is full of small, vintage charms like this exit light.

And this fire alarm.

Behind the counter, vintage signs still hang.

And you can't miss their classic handmade menu. If you go, make sure to get the hot pastrami.

Like any classic luncheonette, the place is centered around this main counter.

Which has all the touches, including classic seats and a rail for feet and bags.

The sandwich makers behind the counter work like a team and are always on the look out for an order.

They have to work together in these close quarters so it is important they get along.

But the sandwiches are the centrepiece of the establishment.

To make things quickly the team has a good set up behind the counter.

A small kitchen around the corner...

This is where they keep the roasted meats before they are ready to be sliced for sandwiches.

It was hard to get a word in with these sandwich artisans because they barely have a free moment.

But we did get to talk with Jose Hernandez, who has been at Eisenberg's for six years. It is the longest stretch he has spent at the same restaurant and he said it is because he likes the environment, the boss, and his colleagues. He explained that behind the counter, everyone's a close team. His favourite sandwich to make: the Reuben or the BLT. His favourite sandwich to eat: the pastrami and corned beef sandwich.

One item Eisenberg's is famous for is its Egg Cream, a drink which oddly enough does not include eggs or cream. This is where they make it, with seltzer and chocolate syrup. Delicious!

The matzoh ball soup is also a favourite and there is almost always somebody dishing out a bowl.

But the guys behind the counter can't do it all. Beatriz Albrecht, a waitress, has been working at Eisenberg's since 2004. She said that with regulars you get to know people by name and can become more involved with customers. Her favourite item: the chicken salad sandwich or the egg salad. But the restaurant's top orders are pastrami and the tuna melt.

The pastrami sandwich. One of the best in town and about half the price of any comparable ones.

The tuna melt. So simple but so delicious!

You pay at the counter. Kim Madigan, who works the register, has been at Eisenberg's for about a year. She used to be a cook at other restaurants, but found she likes working outside the kitchen. Her favourite sandwich: the chicken salad and bacon sandwich.

Josh Konecky and Bonnie Taylor may be the most recent to run Eisenberg's, but they attribute their success to a devotion to tradition.

Some places are better known for their owners than for their cold cuts

NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Tagged In

features thelife-us