Shapiro’s Deli | Corned Beef on Rye…in Indianapolis

Review by: Michael Stern

Vintage Delicatessen

Opened by Louis and Rebecca Shapiro in 1905 as a small grocery store, Shapiro’s became a restaurant in the 1930s. Today it is a full-service kosher-style deli. Get your meal cafeteria-style. You can buy smoked fish and cold cuts by the pound. Heroic sandwiches abound at lunch. Corned beef on rye is a stand-out. Hot meals are big at dinner. Traditionally, customers have come for three meals a day. But covid has moved opening hour to mid-morning. We hope that’s temporary, because breakfast at Shapiro’s has always been an Indianapolis city highlight.

Culinary / Cultural Incongruity

In what other Jewish deli will you find biscuits and gravy alongside bagels and lox? Such cultural incongruities made eating a fascinating experience. One morning long ago we asked a server in the cafeteria line about an item listed on the menu board as a matzoh omelet. She shrugged and offered her opinion that she couldn’t imagine that crumbled crackers could be any good in eggs. But we tried it anyway. It turned out to be a mid-American gloss on matzoh brei. That’s the traditional Jewish breakfast dish in which the cook scrambles bite-size scraps of matzoh into eggs. It makes us think of jumbled French toast, but with distinctive unleavened munchyness.

Classic Jewish Deli Fare

Corned beef in every form wins accolades. Corned beef dinner features plenty of meat, boiled potatoes, and cabbage. Sliced thin and piled high between thick slices of crusty seeded rye bread, Shapiro’s briny red meat virtually glows. Side it with a couple of extra-thick latkes (potato pancakes). There you have a lunch to remember. Do note that an excellent corned beef sandwich is, in fact, a pride-of-Midwest dish. Many heartland cities boast a deli famous for it.

Other good sandwiches include butter-soft beef brisket, garlicky salami, and chopped liver. Shapiro’s matzoh ball soup would make a Jewish grandma proud. Like she did, the cooks here use extra-strength chicken broth. That makes it a home remedy guaranteed to cure whatever ails you. This dish, after all, was the inspiration for Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Shapiro’s other locations are at Indianapolis Airport and in the Fashion Mall at Keystone Crossing.

What To Eat

Corned Beef Sandwich

Matzoh Brei

Custard Pie

Corned Beef Omelet

Beef Bacon


Shapiro’s Deli | Corned Beef on Rye…in Indianapolis Recipes



What do you think of Shapiro’s Deli | Corned Beef on Rye…in Indianapolis?

3 Responses to “Shapiro’s Deli | Corned Beef on Rye…in Indianapolis”

Billy Del Rosario

January 26th, 2024

To anyone who may be interested, my name is Billy del Rosario and I would like to be part of your work team to show my ability in what I am assigned to and demonstrate that together we can provide a good service with efficiency and effectiveness in everything that is assigned to us. impose on this food service center


Fred Friedman

September 17th, 2021

Folks in our family have a serious sesame allergy. Is there sesame in your awesome rye bread? We ate there last night and bought two loaves.. thank you


Rocky Enfield

December 19th, 2011

After mayor al said that it was the best sandwich within 500 miles it meant that I just had to go to Shapiro’s for lunch. When we got there we knew we were in for a treat because the line was so long. So many things looked fabulous but I had already decided before I got there that I was in the mood for a Rueben. I was wishing that I could get a half of a Rueben and a half of a pastrami but I couldn’t (they don’t sell the Rueben in halves) and it wasn’t until after I had my food that I found out I could have solved my quandery by ordering a pastrami Rueben. Nevertheless, when I got my Rueben I recevied an immense sandwich that was satisying in every way except one (the corned beef was a bit dry for my taste), otherwise it was near perfection. Thick and delicious with the right amount of kraut and dressing where everything worked together in perfect harmony to make a great Rueben.

I had a side of marinated mushrooms that were just OK (could have gotten the same in any supermarket) and an incredible slice of butterscotch praline pie. I was going to forgo the dessert but I just couldn’t resist trying a slice of a pie that I had never heard of before. My curiosity was rewarded. This pie was spectacular! The sweetness of the filling was perfectly balanced by the tangy, slightly sour cream topping. Without the topping the pie would have been overly sweet but together it was great.


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