Reuben sandwich

The Reuben sandwich is an American grilled sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. It is associated with kosher-style delicatessens, but it is not kosher, because it combines meat and cheese.[1]

Reuben sandwich
Katz's Deli - Lunch.jpg
Place of originUnited States
Created byVarious claims
Serving temperatureWarm or Hot
Main ingredientsCorned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, rye bread, Russian dressing

Possible originsEdit

Reuben Kulakofsky, Blackstone Hotel: Omaha, NebraskaEdit

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, was the inventor, perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky's 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. 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 a national contest with the recipe.[2] In Omaha, March 14 was proclaimed Reuben Sandwich Day.[3] 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.

Reuben's Delicatessen: New York City, New YorkEdit

  • Another account holds that the Reuben's creator was Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of Reuben's Delicatessen (1908–2001) in New York City. According to an interview with Craig Claiborne, Arnold Reuben created the "Reuben Special" around 1914.[4][5] Bernard Sobel in his 1953 book, Broadway Heartbeat: Memoirs of a Press Agent states that the sandwich was an extemporaneous creation for Marjorie Rambeau inaugurated when the famed Broadway actress visited the Reuben's Delicatessen one night when the cupboards were particularly bare.[6]
  • Still other versions give credit to Alfred Scheuing, a chef at Reuben's Delicatessen, and say he created the sandwich for Reuben's son, Arnold Jr., in the 1930s.[2]


Montreal ReubenEdit

Corned beef Reuben sandwich

The Montreal Reuben substitutes Montreal-style smoked meat for corned beef.[7]

Thousand Island dressingEdit

Thousand Island dressing is commonly used as a substitute for Russian dressing.[8]

Walleye ReubenEdit

The walleye Reuben features the freshwater fish (Sander vitreus) in place of the corned beef.[9][10][11]

Grouper ReubenEdit

The grouper Reuben is a variation on the standard Reuben sandwich, substituting grouper for the corned beef, and sometimes coleslaw for the sauerkraut as well. This variation is often a menu item in restaurants in Florida.[12]

Reuben egg rollsEdit

Reuben egg rolls, sometimes called "Irish egg rolls" or "Reuben balls", use the standard Reuben sandwich filling of corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese inside a deep-fried egg roll wrapper. Typically served with Thousand Island dressing (instead of Russian dressing) as an appetizer or snack, they originated at Mader's, a German restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where chef Dennis Wegner created them for a summer festival circa 1990.[13]

Rachel sandwichEdit

The Rachel sandwich is a variation which substitutes pastrami or turkey for the corned beef, and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. [14][15][16] In some parts of the United States, especially Michigan, this turkey variant is known as a "Georgia Reuben" or "California Reuben", and it may also call for barbecue sauce or French dressing instead of Russian dressing. The name may have originated from the 1871 song "Reuben and Rachel".[15]

Vegetarian and vegan versionsEdit

Vegetarian versions, called "veggie Reubens", omit the corned beef or substitute vegetarian ingredients for it, including zucchini, cucumbers,[17] wheatmeat,[18] and mushrooms.[19] Vegan versions can use seitan, tempeh[20] or mushrooms with non-dairy cheese, dressing and butter.[21]

Kosher statusEdit

As a Reuben combines both meat and dairy ingredients in the same meal, it cannot be kosher.[22] However, it is frequently served at kosher style restaurants.[23][failed verification] Kosher versions may be made using non-dairy imitation cheese or omitting the meat or the cheese.[24][1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Genger, Tamar. "Making a Kosher Reuben Sandwich". Joy of Kosher. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b Rader, Jim. "The Reuben Sandwich". Reuben Realm.
  3. ^ Griswold, Jennifer. "Today is Proclaimed Reuben Sandwich Day". KMTV. Archived from the original on 2015-03-15.
  4. ^ Jared Ingersoll (2006). "Toasted Reuben sandwich". Danks Street Depot. Murdoch Books. p. 115. ISBN 9781740455985.
  5. ^ Craig Claiborne. The New York Times Food Encyclopedia. See also Arnold Reuben interview, American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936–1940, quoted on What's cooking America site.
  6. ^ Sobel, Bernard (1953). "Broadway Heartbeat: Memoirs of a Press Agent". New York City: Hermitage House: 233. OCLC 1514676. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "Montreal Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich", The Gazette
  8. ^ Holl, John (December 22, 2014). "America was sweet on its spicy Russian dressing — until Thousand Island, that is". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  9. ^ Minneapolis, Town Ball Tavern 1 Twins Way; MN. "Walleye Reuben @ Town Ball Tavern".
  10. ^ Otis, Ginger Adams (September 6, 2015). "Ohio proves to be a great destination for a history- and fun-loving family". New York Daily News.
  11. ^ Deptolla, Carol (May 17, 2012). "Chez Ballpark: What's good to eat at Miller Park". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. For the homestand against the Minnesota Twins this weekend, look for walleye Reuben sandwiches, for $9.25.
  12. ^ Calloway, Karin (September 21, 2010). "Takeoff on Reuben sandwich makes tasty meal". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved February 2, 2011. In Florida … many restaurants serve a grouper Reuben
  13. ^ Zeldes, Leah A. (March 10, 2010). "Irish' food in Chicago isn't quite so in Ireland: Who played a role in the reuben egg roll?". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 13, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  14. ^ Mary-Lane Kamberg (2004). "Grilled Reuben sandwich variation: Grilled Rachel sandwich". The I Don't Know How to Cook Book: 300 Great Recipes You Can't Mess Up. Adams Media. p. 42. ISBN 9781593370091.
  15. ^ a b Popik, Barry (November 13, 2004). "Reuben Sandwich (and Rachel Sandwich, Celebrity Sandwiches)". The Big Apple. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  16. ^ Rombauer, Irma S.; Becker, Marion Rombauer; Becker, Ethan (2006). "Reuben Sandwich". Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary ed.). Scribner. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-7432-4626-2. For a Rachel, substitute turkey for the corned beef.
  17. ^ Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking for Two, p. 82
  18. ^ Joy Nicholson, "Reubenesque", Los Angeles Magazine September, 2001, p. 52
  19. ^ Cameron Woodworth, Green Cuisine, p. 25
  20. ^ Editors, Vegetarian Times (May 10, 2017). "Vegan Tempeh Reubens". Vegetarian Times. Retrieved 7 November 2018.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  21. ^ {cite web|url= Reuben Sandwiches}
  22. ^ Jacob Rader Marcus, United States Jewry, 1776-1985, 1989, p. 334
  23. ^ Sue Fishkoff, Kosher Nation, 2010, ISBN 0805242651, p. 103
  24. ^ "Kosher Reuben Sandwiches" in Faye Levy, 1,000 Jewish Recipes, 2011, ISBN 0544189124, p. 347

Further readingEdit