Iconic New York stronghold Katz’s Deli (205 East Houston Street, 212-254-2246) is a brisk lunch counter by day and a beacon of late night sustenance after the bars have issued last call. This 24-hour restaurant (on the weekends, at least — the place closes at a reasonable 10:45 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 2:45 a.m. on Thursday) is also perpetually packed. So what is the difference between the 2 p.m. crowd and 2 a.m. crowd here?
At 2 p.m., Katz’s mix of tourists and locals leans toward out-of-towners (including, at least on the day we stopped by, groups of adults wearing the same shirt so, presumably, they could find each other in crowded places like Times Square and, um, Katz’s).
At 2 a.m., the pendulum swings the other way, so if you’d rather avoid the confused masses, this is definitely the time to go. But while the throng for pastrami — and the cash register — dissipates in the wee hours, the canteen still does a brisk business.