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The Origin of Pastrami
(Short Version)

Delirama is a California deli with East Coast and Midwestern influence. We’re proud to make all of our rye bread, Italian rolls, bagels, and bialys by hand. Our number one goal is to nourish you with a smile. Our restaurant is our home and we strive to treat every customer like family.


The origin of American delis is mom-and-pop shops founded by Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in the late 1800s. Delirama is not a Jewish deli, but we are honored to be a very small part of a story of delicatessens that highlights doing everything from scratch and feeding our customers: our friends, family, and community members.

The History of Pastrami

*DISCLAIMER: We are cooks and by no means food historians. This is the short version of a completely self-researched article. If you'd like to read the full version, drop a comment, or see any cited sources, please click HERE.*

Pastrami is a cured, spiced, and steamed meat made originally from goose, but adapted to beef, usually navel or brisket cut. It originated from Romanian Jewish immigrants settling in New York.

The word “pastrami” originates from pastirma (also known as basturma), a dried and cured meat delicacy similar to jerky, made and eaten by Ottoman Turks.* The recipe migrated to Eastern Europe, and then eventually to Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1890s as pastrama, continuously evolving along the way until it became the pastrami we all know and love. How the name ended up as “pastrami” is somewhat of a mystery, but one theory is that it rhymed with “salami”, also sold in the same delicatessens.**

The history of bagels, bialys, pickles, chopped cheese, and philly cheese coming soon!

*The Artisan Jewish Deli At Home by Nick Zukin and Michael Zusman

** Amy Sherman’s article “Pastrami Everything” on

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