Chef Stefano Coppola, Morse Block Deli
NEC Season 5 - Episode 05
Reuben Kulakofsky and Bernie Schimmel, Blackstone Hotel: Omaha, Nebraska One origin story holds that Reuben Kulakofsky (his first name sometimes spelled Reubin; his last name sometimes shortened to Kay), a Jewish Lithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, asked for a sandwich made of corned beef and pastrami at his weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel from around 1920 through 1935. The participants, who nicknamed themselves "the committee", included the hotel's owner, Charles Schimmel. Schimmel's son, who worked in the kitchen, made the first Reuben for him, adding swiss cheese and thousand islands dressing to his order, putting the whole thing on rye bread. The sandwich first gained local fame when Schimmel put it on the Blackstone's lunch menu, and its fame spread when a former employee of the hotel won the national sandwich idea contest with the recipe. In Omaha, March 14 was proclaimed Reuben Sandwich Day. Mention is made of this sandwich in a scene within the movie Quiz Show, where Richard N. Goodwin (known as Dick) orders and eats one in a restaurant with Charles van Doren, and they discuss the sandwich's origins.
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