Memorable | One of the Best
Shapiro’s Deli | Corned Beef on Rye…in Indianapolis
Review by: Michael Stern
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.
Directions & Hours
- Monday: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
- Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
- Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
- Thursday: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
- Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
- Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
- Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|