The Hands-Down Best Reuben Sandwiches In The US, According To Reviews

To the uninitiated, the Reuben sandwich is an anomaly. Generally made with German rye bread, it's a combination of corned beef, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese, which would otherwise seem to clash with the deliberate tang of the added Russian dressing. And yet, it's one of the most beloved sandwiches of all time — meaning that finding the best Reuben in the U.S. has become something of an obsession for some people.

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Despite an ingredient list that spans continents, everyone agrees on one thing: The Reuben is an all-American creation born from the melting pot of gastronomy that's become typical of the United States. Though its origin story has many theories, the most obvious contender is the man who almost certainly gave the sandwich its name, Arnold Reuben. He once owned the now-closed Reuben's Restaurant and Delicatessen in New York City, and is said to have created the sandwich in 1914 for hungry actress, Annette Seelos, who was making a Charlie Chaplin movie. 

Others claim it arrived much later, either in the 1920s by one of Reuben's cooks or in the 1950s by a New York accountant named William Hamerly, who named it in Reuben's honor. Regardless of the truth — and some whisper that the Reuben was actually invented in Nebraska – it has become an all-American classic. But, where can you find the best one?

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Katz's Delicatessen in New York City

Katz's Delicatessen

(212) 254-2246

205 East Houston St, New York, NY

Katz's first opened its doors in 1888, making it a contender for the oldest deli in New York City. Situated in the Lower East Side, the restaurant offers both traditional and regional variations on the classic Reuben. Corned beef is the standard, but for those looking for something a little different, there's also a pastrami variation — one that even Anthony Bourdain swore by.

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The Girl Who Ate Everything blogger Robyn Lee referred to Katz's pastrami offering in glowing terms, describing it as, "meltingly fatty" with "tender pastrami" and " a generous plate of pickles." Eater New York was similarly impressed, describing the meat as "lustrous, crusted with blackened spices, veined with fat, and flaunting a carmine color that will set your mouth to watering."

Food lover and editor at JamieOliver.com, Merlin Jobst, likewise praised the bitterness of Katz's sauerkraut, the perfect melt of its cheese, and the "delightfully moist fall-away meat." Katz's Reuben currently retails for $28.45 — although the pastrami version will cost you an extra dollar. Those interested in experiencing this culinary masterpiece at home can purchase a make-it-yourself kit direct from Katz's website to create four sandwiches for $130.

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Crescent Moon Ale House in Omaha, Nebraska

Crescent Moon Ale House

(402) 345-1708

36th and Farnam St, Omaha, NE

The Reuben's association with New York City is unquestionable, but that does not confer the Big Apple automatic founder rights. Many residents of the Cornhusker State are adamant that the sandwich was in fact invented in Omaha, by an immigrant hotelier named Charles Schimmel.  Schimmel's connection to the contested origin of the Reuben seems closely linked to his friend — Reuben Kolakofsky, who after running out of lettuce during their weekly poker game decided to use sauerkraut instead. The decision to grill the sandwich was also Kolakofsky's who wanted to melt the cheese and hide the taste of pickled cabbage. Today, this Blackstone version of the Reuben — named after Schimmel's hotel – at times eschews Swiss cheese for Gruyere and combines brined brisket with a Thousand Island dressing.

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Origins and twists on the classic recipe aside, Beth Price-Williams, who writes for Only in Your State, described it as: "both delicious and filling," adding "If you haven't had the Reuben sandwich at this tavern in Nebraska, add it to your culinary bucket list."

Over on Tripadvisor, one patron insisted the sandwich exceeded her wildest expectations and another described it as the best they had ever had before praising both the price and service. As with Katz's, Crescent Moon offers a meal kit, so those unwilling to make the pilgrimage can still try it out if they so wish.

Friedman's in New York City

Friedman's Restaurant

(212) 932-0600

50 West 72nd St, New York, NY 

New York's Friedman's — a chain of seven family-owned restaurants noted for its commitment to having a gluten-free menu — manages to compete with the best the Big Apple has to offer. Named in honor of the economist Milton Friedman, the first restaurant opened in 2009, shortly after one of the founders was diagnosed with celiac disease.

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Its signature pastrami Reuben comes with the traditional sauerkraut, Gruyere cheese, and Russian dressing, but is served on gluten-free bread instead of the traditional German rye. The sandwich-obsessed, self-proclaimed Reuben Nomad blogger took the time to visit the restaurant and praised Friedman's use of high-quality ingredients, delighting in the fact that it sources its "pastrami from a local supplier who uses only the best cuts of meat, and they make their sauerkraut in-house using a traditional fermentation process."

Several Tripadvisor reviews agreed with the premise that Friedman's was onto something special with their signature dish, with one customer enthusing over its melt-in-the-mouth meat while another simply described it as: "The best Reuben sandwich ever."

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Court Street Grocers in New York City

Court Street Grocers

(833)533-3200

485 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 

Located in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens Manhattan and Williamsburg — Court Street Grocers might lack the historical pedigree of some of the other locations on this list. However, it more than makes up for it in the quality of its products. Owners Matt Ross and Eric Finkelstein opened the original spot in 2010 and quickly established their restaurant as one of the best places to find a Reuben in New York.

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Combining traditional ingredients such as straight-from-the-jar sauerkraut with local delicacies – including bread sourced from the nearby Orwashers Bakery — Court Street Grocers' famous Reuben is, according to Grub Street, "A sweet, salty, fatty package of pickled meat and zingy condiments wrapped up tight in slices of caraway rye."

Of particular note here is the presence of what is known as comeback sauce, a spicy sauce similar to Thousand Island that is used in place of the more familiar Russian dressing. Traditionalists who bemoan such tampering with perfection might also want to avoid the establishment's vegetarian Reuben Brocc, made with roasted broccoli, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut.

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Haskel's Delicatessen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Haskel's Delicatessen

(833) 564 -7437

Pittsburgh, PA

Local foodie site Discover the Burgh, in their quest to find the best Reuben in Pittsburgh, visited a staggering 22 establishments and are unequivocal about where to go to the get the best Reuben in town. Their search is still in flux — the Burgh are eating their way through everything the city has to offer — but Haskel's Delicatessen has been named their current champion. Interestingly, Haskel's is not a traditional brick and mortar joint but rather the only food truck that has made its way onto this list.

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Like many other outfits, Haskel's opts to use pastrami over the more traditional corned beef. More controversial is the fact that its sandwich veers far enough from the traditional recipe to raise questions as to its authenticity. Described as "Reuben-esque" by the Pittsburgh locals behind the blog, they note that muenster stands in for the usual Swiss cheese, and a slaw and spicy mustard combo is in direct contrast to the more usual sauerkraut and Russian dressing.

Discover the Burgh, however, remain unapologetic in their love of the creation: "Different flavors? Sure. Reminiscent of this classic sandwich? We can see it, and we're going to go with it. They can throw their pastrami on just about anything, and we'd devour it without a moment's hesitation." Over on Yelp one user noted that "The brisket was killer, my friend got the schnitzel and raved about the crunchiness."

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Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Zingerman's Delicatessen

(734) 663-3354

422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 

In October 2023, Zingerman's brought its award-winning sandwich to New York City for just one day via a pop-up, and locals flocked in to see what all the fuss was about. Shortly before its arrival, The New York Times welcomed the chance for New Yorkers to try the sandwich. That they did so speaks to the fame and quality of Zingerman's Reuben; New York's historical association with the sandwich might have caused them to snub any lesser, out-of-state creation.

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Zingerman's first restaurant opened in 1982. Situated close to the historic Ann Arbor Farmer's Market, it was the brainchild of two entrepreneurs, Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig. They had an observation that the region's vibrant food culture was in need of a traditional Jewish delicatessen, and their point was soon well-proved. The establishment quickly built up a reputation as the place to go to for a classic Reuben.

A towering construct of Swiss Emmental cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut, and in-house Russian dressing, the sandwich remains the deli's best-selling product to date. Tripadvisor users were unequivocal in their love for this sandwich with one customer declaring it to be the best Reuben they had ever had. Another customer — a New York resident no less — was so impressed that they poured praise upon the hand-cut, freshly-baked bread and rough-cut, juicy pastrami.

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Woody's Family Restaurant in El Paso, Illinois

Woody's Family Restaurant 

(309) 527 3100

609 W Main St, El Paso, IL

When a website named Reuben Realm gives out a near-perfect score to an otherwise little-known establishment, it's probably a good idea to try it. Reuben Realm has sampled the famous sandwich from over 200 locations across the country, and has given a perfect 5.0 to less than a dozen restaurants. One of the anointed few is in Idaho (more on that later), while another is Woody's Family Restaurant in Illinois.

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Its offering sounds like standard fare: Corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese on rye, with Thousand Island dressing on the side and a cup of soup and fries thrown in for good measure. Retailing at just $7.99, the sandwich nevertheless refuses to compromise on flavor. According to Reuben Realm, the sandwich is "amazing." The writer added, "I don't give a lot of A+ values for taste, but this one got an A+ for taste and value, and I ended up giving an A+ overall for the entire experience."

Other diners concurred. One Tripadvisor user noted that whilst most places ruin a Reuben, the one they had at Woody's was "Absolutely perfect." Another gave it a full five stars, praised the homemade vibes it gave off, and gifted the sandwich the honor of a single adjective review: "Terrific."

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Frankel's Delicatessen in New York City

Frankel's Delicatessen

(718) 389-2302

631 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 

It probably comes as little surprise that New York – a city filled to the brim with famous foods — makes as many appearances on this list as it does. Like Court Street Grocer's, Frankel's Deli is relatively new to the scene. Situated just south of the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn, Frankel's opened in 2016, offering authentic New York deli fare including bagels, hot pastrami, and of course, Reubens.

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Time Out has described the spot's Reuben as a "hand-cut thick-sliced pastrami as a fatty marvel," before suggesting customers order it "Reuben-style: dressed in Thousand Island, laced with sauerkraut, and dripping in its own juices." New York Magazine seemed even more impressed. Proclaiming Frankel's as something of a love letter to old-school New York Jewish delicatessens, it noted that the "pastrami, prepared to the brothers' specifications at a nearby facility under a characteristic veil of deli secrecy, is terrific, and can be had on classic rye or as a fiendish pastrami-egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich." A pastrami Reuben with all the trimmings retails for $16.95, but you are, after all, paying for quality.

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Elmer's in Pocatello, Idaho

Elmer's

(208) 232-9114

851 S 5th Ave, Pocatello, ID 

Elmer's began life as a single Oregon-based restaurant under the original name of Elmer's Colonial Pancake House. It opened in 1960 when founders Walt and Dorothy Elmer set their sights on bringing home-style cooking to the people of the Northwest. Today there are over 25 Elmer's dotted around the country with the majority in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington State.

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The Reuben here is of the traditional variety, but with a turkey twist. Elmer's uses grilled corned beef, roasted turkey breast, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut stacked on grilled marble rye, spread with Thousand Island and dijonnaise. Reuben enthusiast Chris Rowland – owner of the Reuben Realm — had this to say: "The sandwich all blended perfectly with a deep satisfying taste with just the right amount of messiness," while adding, "The Reuben was absolutely delicious, and was a full centimeter taller (at 5 cm) than most Reubens that I have gotten from diner style restaurants, and the workmanship showed." Over on DoorDash one customer indicated that they would be making a return trip while also stating that: "The old fashioned Reuben was amazing. Very flavorful and filling."

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Kenny and Ziggy's in Houston, Texas

Kenny and Ziggy's Delicatessen

(713) 871-8883

1743 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX

Kenny and Ziggy's has been around since the turn of the millennium, after Houston businessman Ziggy Gruber decided that what Texas really needed was its own version of a New York-style deli. It serves Reubens open-faced, New York Style with all the familiar trappings of corned beef, melted Swiss, hot sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. The sandwich certainly seems to have made an impression on local blogger Hank on Food who opined that, "The beef was sweet, salty and chewy, very high-quality corned beef. The sauerkraut was sour, hot, crunchy, and delicious. The Swiss cheese, perfectly melted on top and the in-house made Russian dressing was no Thousand Island substitute. It was robust, full of flavor and complemented the whole sandwich well."

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Other customers have echoed the sentiment, with one Tripadvisor reviewer proclaiming it to be the best Reuben ever and another noting that they actually "felt like they were in New York." Such high praise stands as a testament to owner Ziggy Gruber's claim that being a deli man was something he was destined to be.

Attman's Deli in Baltimore, Maryland

Attman's Delicatessen

(410) 563-2666

1019 E Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 

Topping the list of the 15 best places for Reuben sandwiches in Baltimore, Attman's authentic New York Delicatessen has been a local fixture since 1915 and is situated in the middle of what locals refer to as Corned Beef Row. Baltimore Food Chronicle described its signature heavy Reuben sandwich as "thick, served on soft rye slices with a firmer crust to balance out the textures."

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Tripadvisor user Bernie Dan also had this to say about Attman's Reuben when recommending the spot as a place to get a great Reuben: "This deli is the quintessential kosher-style emporium. Corned beef, pastrami, brisket, sweet and dill pickles in open vats, all the stuff to make yourself an unforgettable sandwich and/or meal." Four Square reviewers have thanked Attman's for keeping the spirit of Corned Beef Row alive, with one describing its Reuben as being simply "on point."

How we chose the best Reuben sandwiches in the US

This comprehensive list was compiled using professional reviews with particular emphasis given to well-known local publications and bloggers that were willing to share their expertise on their hometown cuisine. Where possible, such positive reviews were also cross-referenced with Tripadvisor and other popular user-based review sites that specifically mentioned the Reuben sandwich.

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