Our Pastrami Passion


It started five years ago when we were on a food tour of NY. We got a tip from one of the founders of Chop’t Salads, Tony Shure that there was a “hole in the wall” modern Jewish deli in Brooklyn serving the best pastrami he had ever tasted!
We jumped in a cab, saddled up to the counter of a tiny deli in Brooklyn called Miles End and asked for the Pastrami Sandwich! It was just wayyyyyy better than any pastrami we’d had- compared to some of the most beloved Jewish delis in LA and NY. We asked the chef the obvious question, “WHY is this pastrami so much better?” The chef kindly responded that if he told us it would ruin our impression and esteem for our favorite Jewish delis.


We told him that we could take it. He proceeded to tell us that it was simple- he was actually smoking the brisket with hard wood like the Romanian Jewish delis at the turn of the century did. Which made us ask the next question, “what do our favorite Jewish delis do?” He then fulfilled his promise of breaking our hearts by telling us that almost all of the Jewish delis buy a hyber-manufactured product that gets injected with brining chemicals and never even gets smoked- just smoke flavored with chemicals. He went on to tell us that most of the delis in LA buy from the same manufacturer, so the difference is how they reheat with steam, the set and the bread. He even shared an article that discussed it. Here it is- WARNING it will bum you out!




After tasting the pastrami and hearing the story of the artisan method that they were bringing back, we wanted Mendo to be part of the movement of bringing back REAL PASTRAMI! So, we reached out to a couple of our chef friends that were smoked meat enthusiasts and had just started a smoked meat pop-up called Ugly Drum. Erik Black and Joe Marcos spent six months working with Mendo’s culinary team to perfect our pastrami sandwich. You might know Chef Erik from his meat genius at Osteria Mozza or his smoking artistry at Bludso’s. Erik and Joe helped Mendo build its smokehouse and they were the base architects on our house smoked, Real – Old School Pastrami.


It is our pleasure to share with you our passion for pastrami – we hope you appreciate the smoked with hardwood love!