Best Reuben Sandwiches to Try Right Now

BY Linnea Covington

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The Reuben sandwich has long been a favorite of deli counters and casual restaurants. But while ordering the dish is simple enough, the history surrounding the sandwich proves tricky.

We know the Reuben started making waves around the 1920s, but whether it started in New York City or Omaha, Nebraska has been hotly contested. Some claim the sandwich came thanks to a poker game in Omaha’s Blackstone Hotel, now a historical landmark housing the Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel. The other story centers around Arnold Reuben and his sandwich shop on East 58th Street in NYC. Ancestors from both sides claim the classic dish. 

However, the real push to fame came due to a woman by the name of Fern Snider, who really solidified the exact ingredients in the sandwich. In 1956,  Snider, a cook at the Blackstone, entered the Reuben recipe in the first National Sandwich Idea Contest. It won and the sandwich has been made in thousands of kitchens ever since. In fact, little has changed to the recipe, which features corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, served hot on rye bread. 

But where to get the best one in Denver? We have a verified answer to that question with these three hot picks. 

Blackbelly Market Denver

cheesy sandwich with sauerkraut
Don’t sleep on the Reuben from Blackbelly Market, it’s worth every bite. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Though chef Hosea Rosenberg just launched his Denver outpost of Blackbelly Market, it has the same great menu as the popular Boulder spot. Head butcher Kelly Kawachi, who helped earn the original restaurant its green Michelin star, handles the meat program in Denver too. This means not only is the charcuterie on point, but the Reuben sandwich on the menu is one of the best in town. Unlike the traditional recipe, the $17 dish features pastrami, which in some cases proves just as classic a choice as the corned beef. It’s so perfectly balanced, you may say you’ll only eat half and then down the whole thing. 4324 W. 41st Ave., Denver, blackbelly.com

Leven Deli

When Anthony Lygizos opened Leven Deli in 2018, it quickly became a hot spot for anyone looking for a really good sandwich, soup, baked goods, and a plethora of killer deli sides. The Reuben on the menu also impresses. On it find 12-day, house-made pastrami, Jarlsberg cheese, pickled white cabbage, and Leven’s own sauce, all piled onto toasted, freshly-baked rye bread. Yes, it’s pricey at $20, but given the time, ingredients, and size of this masterpiece, totally worth it. 123 W. 12th Ave., Denver, eatleven.com

Zaidy’s Deli and Bakery

Three white people standing in front of zaidy's sigh
Gerard Rudofsky, center, opened the first iteration of Zaidy’s Deli. Fifty years later Beth Ginsberg, right, runs it but has kept on the classic Reuben. | Photo by Linnea Covington

I never made it to the original Zaidy’s, opened by Gerard Rudofsky in downtown Denver in 1985. Or when he moved it to the Cherry Creek neighborhood. The first time I had the pleasure of dining there was after Rudofsky retired and sold the business to Beth Ginsberg. Lucky for me, both Rudofsky and many of the original dishes were present, the former behind the host stand. The iconic Reuben made that list, to the joy of my sandwich-loving heart and taste buds. The $17.50 order is exactly what one expects, though diners can get a variation with pastrami or turkey. There’s also an option for gluten-free bread so everyone can try it. 600 S. Holly St., Denver, zaidysdeli.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linnea Covington

Linnea Covington is the managing editor of DiningOut. She comes to us with a long background in food, restaurant and drinks journalism. Over the last two decades she’s written for tons of publications including Denver Post, Washington Post, Forbes Travel Guide, 5280 Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, Time Out New York and more.

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