Hal’s Deli, now 55 years old, continues a Downtown Ithaca tradition

Happy 55th birthday this spring to Hal’s Deli! The downtown eatery on Restaurant Row has offered inexpensive breakfasts and overstuffed sandwiches to countless generations of students and locals. Hal Kuntz, the original proprietor, passed away years ago, but his memory lives on in the tasty food, and his wife, Sandy, still presides most mornings.

Update: Hal’s Deli is closing this spring!

Eggs and mini potato pancakes make a great basic breakfast at Hal's.

Eggs and mini potato pancakes make a great basic breakfast at Hal’s.

Starting at 6 o’clock each morning, Hal’s plays the role of downtown diner, offering breakfasts starting under two bucks for a bagel or about three bucks for a breakfast sandwich or waffles, but we suggest The Coach — two eggs cooked however you’d like, served with mini potato pancakes, toast, and a cup of coffee — or a mushroom or pastrami omelet, or french toast. They’ll keep the coffee coming.

At lunchtime or for an afternoon snack, Hal’s is a deli, with everything from grilled cheese for a few bucks to their famous triple-decker sandwiches. Check out the Cornell Big Red special, with roast beef, swiss, tomato, cole slaw, and russian dressing… or the Ithaca College Bombers sandwich, corned beef, pastrami, and turkey with cole slaw and russian. Or keep it simple with a well-stuffed pastrami on rye.

Pastrami on rye is a good pick.

Hot sandwiches include comfort food like hot turkey with gravy or that quintessential New York deli sandwich, the reuben, hot corned beef and swiss cheese with sauerkraut on grilled rye. You’ll want that with one of Hal’s knishes. Never had a knish? Think of a square of mashed potatoes, deep fried until the outside’s crisp. Or stay cool and healthy with a chef’s salad or tuna salad bowl.

Plan on spending four to ten bucks for breakfast or lunch, and yes, Hal’s delivers a piping-hot breakfast as early as 6am. Call Hal’s Deli at 607-273-7765 or visit them at 115 North Aurora Street on Restaurant Row, and tell them you heard about them here.

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