A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 05, 2004
Pistol (Carnegie Deli); LEO (Stage Deli)
Carnegie Deli, 854 Seventh Avenue
Stage Deli - 834 Seventh Avenue

These two famous New York delis each have their own traditions.

"Pistol" is the term for "pastrami" at the Carnegie Deli.


Google News Archive
12 December 1977, Village Voice (NY), "Counter Code," pg. 60, cols. 5-6:
Pistol: Hot pastrami sandwich. If you don't understand the origin of this expression, have a hot pastrami sandwich and wait two hours.

14 September 1991, New York (NY) Times, pg. B1:
Want scrambled eggs? That's "wreck two." Rye bread is "whiskey," and anything toasted is "down." Pastrami is "pistol." A Western omelette is a"cowboy." Franks and beans are "FBI." Tuna on toast with lettuce and tomatoes is "merry Christmas."

LEO - lox, eggs, onions
NEO - nova, eggs, onions
KEO - kippers, eggs, onions

"LEO" is served at the Stage Deli.

Stage Deli - menu
THE CLASSIC LEO: LOX EGGS & ONIONS

How to Feed Friends and Influence People
The Carnegie Deli
A Giant Sandwich, A Little Deli, A Huge Success
by Milton Parker (Owner of the Carnegie Deli)
and Allyn Freeman
171 pages, $21.95
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
2005
Pg. 59 (DELI SLANG):
Pistol Pastrami
Betty Grable...Cheesecake
Dressed Russian dressing, coleslaw
Jack Grilled American cheese, tomato
Wreck 'em Scrambled eggs
One with Hot dog with sauerkraut
Brown cow Chocolate milk
Dry No butter on toast
Whiskey Rye bread
Full house Grilled cheese with bacon
CB Corned beef
Grade A Milk
Draw one Coffee
Combo Swiss cheese added to any sandwich
Dutch American cheese added to any sandwich
Schmear Cream cheese
Coney Hot dog
Down Toast
Seaboard A takeout order
One off Plain hot dog

Pg. 114:
Pastrami has its own ordering nickname, "a pistol." At the Carnegie Deli, you will hear the servers calling out, "A pistol on whiskey down," (rye bread toasted) or "A pistol dressed" (Russian dressing and coleslaw on the bread).

The reason is not because pastrami is the king of sandwiches and merits its own special name. You be the counterman for a moment. What would you make if you heard a server shout, "Ordering a ...ami on rye to go." Did you answer, "pastrami"? Or on (Pg. 115 -- ed.) second thought, do you think it was "salami"? When you hear the words pistol or salami, there's never any confusion.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, October 05, 2004 • Permalink