Last Bite

Wich Craft at the Modern Cafe

By Andrea Bosco Stehle / Photography By Michael Fornataro | March 01, 2015
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Reuben Sandwich

The Reuben sandwich’s origin is as mysterious as it is delicious. Some say its name comes from a Lithuanian-born grocer from Nebraska. Another theory suggests that it’s named for Arnold Reuben, a German immigrant who founded Reuben’s Restaurant and Delicatessen in New York City in 1908.

The melt-in-your-mouth variety is ever-popular at The Modern Cafe in the North Side — especially around St. Patrick’s Day, when corned beef consumption is at an all-time high. Third-generation owners Irene and Dean Zotis stack their well-dressed Reuben using marble rye from neighboring business Breadworks, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, lean corned beef, and sauerkraut.

“Our Reuben was one of our first sandwiches,” says Irene. “It’s all about the placement of everything — it all comes together really well.” In 2005, the Pittsburgh natives opened the deli, which houses a Prohibition-era bar that lends itself nicely to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and events, such as North Side Sandwich Week and Allegheny West’s Neighborhood Mixer. This month, the Reuben will be on special and paired with beer tastings. With its first-rate crunch factor and dash of acidic zing, it’s easily its own perfect pairing.

The Modern Cafe, 862 Western Ave., North Side. 412.321.4550. themoderncafe.com.

+ FOR UPDATES AND SPECIALS, FOLLOW THE MODERN CAFE ON FACEBOOK, FACEBOOK.COM/MODERNCAFEPGH, AND TWITTER, TWITTER.COM/MODERNCAFEPGH.

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