On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Broadway Deli was packed with diners digging into thick pastrami sandwiches, warm matzo ball soup and golden latkes — potato pancakes served with sour cream or applesauce.
Before Broadway Deli opened at 2121 Broadway Blvd. last month, those authentic Jewish deli specialties were hard to come by in KC.
The new business — whose website declares "A mostly Jewish Deli for a mostly not Jewish city" — takes cured meats very seriously.
The corned beef is flown in from Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen in Chicago. Manny's, which has been around since 1942, has salt-cured beef down to a science. You can taste the chemistry (and the love) in Broadway Deli's corned beef hash, which practically melts in your mouth.
The hash comes on an $8.50 breakfast plate with two eggs and a latke, and tastes great with a dash of Tabasco, or piled on a piece of buttered rye.
Here are five more things to know about the Crossroads Arts District's new deli.
1. The Reuben is amazing.
I'm a Reuben sandwich snob — and Broadway Deli's pastrami Reuben passed my taste test with flying sauerkraut.
The pastrami, which was recommended to me by general manager Nick Wysong, is peppery, smoky, paper-thin and piled high. The rye is perfectly toasted, the Swiss melted all the way through. The kraut adds just the right amount of crunch, and the Thousand Island dressing isn't overpowering.
I added a swipe of Manny's horseradish mustard for an extra punch of flavor. The sandwich costs $12, or $15 for the large "Broadway" size. The sandwich is definitely a splurge, but it's worth it.
Want a side? Angela Messina, director of operations, recommends the noodle kugel ($4). It reminds me of a lightly sweet and savory baked mac and cheese, only less cheesy, and with plump golden raisins.
2. Breakfast is served daily.
Downtown (and Crossroads) dwellers often complain about the lack of breakfast and brunch spots in their neighborhood. So here's some good news for morning people: Broadway Deli serves breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The breakfast menu features customizable omelets, eggs with toast and latkes, and challah French toast ($7). The French toast features two thick slabs of rich, eggy bread sliced diagonally and cooked on a griddle until golden. Maple syrup comes on the side.
Broadway Deli also serves bagels, but they're more light and airy than dense and chewy.
3. Parking can be a little confusing at first.
If you don't live or work in the area, you might be unsure where to leave your car. There is on-street parking, but spots fill up fast, and many are limited to one hour.
Your best bet is to park in the garage at 22nd Street and Northwestern Avenue, which is a block's walk from Broadway Deli. You can get your ticket validated at the cafe.
4. The cookies are a must.
Broadway Deli's savory sandwiches and soup are getting lots of buzz. But don't sleep on the sweet side of the menu, which features milkshakes, Eli's cheesecake from Chicago, and the most amazing fresh-baked cookies from Scratch Bakery.
The cookies cost $3 each and come in a variety of flavors. Peanut butter chocolate is already a favorite, but I'm a fan of the salted caramel, a flat cookie with crunchy edges and big flakes of salt on top.
5. The celery-flavored soda is not that bad.
Customers who grew up going to Jewish delis in Chicago or the Northeast can't get enough Dr. Brown's soda. It's a staple in New York City, and comes in a variety of flavors: cream soda, black cherry and Cel-Ray. Yep, that's celery-flavored pop.
The cream soda is delicious — it bursts with warm vanilla flavor. To my surprise, the Cel-Ray soda was sweet and herbaceous, with the slightest hint of green veggie flavor. Two Broadway Deli staffers told me they were too timid to try it, but I was into it, and I don't even like raw celery.
The soda pairs nicely with a Lox Club ($13), which layers toasted challah with buttery slices of smoked salmon, green onion cream cheese, crisp salty bacon and juicy tomato.