Prices at Saul's in Berkeley

This is not a post where we argue about whether we like Saul’s. I love Saul’s. I’ve been going there for years and years. My daughter had her first pickle there. My late father argued with the servers about the lack of fat on the pastrami. You get the family history. Today my mother and I had lunch there as we do occasionally. I got a bagel and smoked salmon and a Dr. Brown’s. She had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a decaf coffee. The bill was $41! With tip, it was close to $50. The service was excellent, as always, and the food was great, as always. That just seems awfully high to me, and I live in overpriced Marin. Guess we won’t be going to Saul’s much. Sad…(And yes, I checked the bill.)

I think between high labor wages (which I support, btw) and rising food costs, it’s inevitable to see menu prices rise to levels that make us feel like ‘old fogeys’; e.g., “I remember when I could spend $25 on the two of us and we’d eat the leftovers for three days” kind of thing.

We have been retired since 2009 and like to travel around the Bay Area in a regular circuit - usually 3-5 day trips, midweek. The cost for just the hotel and 2 meals per day in mid-priced restaurants has gone up 45+% in nine years.

My DH and I sometimes joke about how California even has any tourists at all, considering how expensive we are!

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I can sympathize. One of my favorite comfort meals is the cup of matzoh ball soup and half pastrami sandwich at Saul’s. It’s up to about $16.50 with t/t now.

Great minds! I often order a cup of matzoh ball soup and half a bologna sandwich.

I haven’t done a specific search lately but I recall the price of smoked salmon (lox or, more pricey Nova) being something like $25 a pound at a deli counter. What passes for a deli here serves a bagel with lox ‘spread’ (lox nuts in cream cheese) tomato and red onion for around $4… but the same bagel with sliced lox is almost $9.

I’m just commenting on the probability that both items in the OP include what’s probably the most expensive thing per pound on a deli menu. That said, it hasn’t escaped be that a pastrami on rye at Nate ‘n’ Al’s is now $18. High cholesterol can be pricey!!! :o)

It’s the same in NY:

At Russ and Daughters in NY, bagel and lox is as much as $14

At katz’s In Manhattan, lox and onions omelette is $18, $4.70 total for coffee and soda.

Add in tax, and you’re at $40!

I didn’t realize Saul’s had Dr. Browns again. They didn’t for years—- I think it was a high fructose corn syrup vs. house made soda kind of issue.

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I attended an event moderated by Joan Nathan in 2010 called “the deli summit.” The owner of Saul’s, wise sons, and Kenny and Zune’s spoke about challenges of modern Jewish delis, including pricing motivations for pickles and pastrami. Pretty eye opening. Here’s a link:

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At Russ & Daughters’ sit down in March, the “Classic” salmon bagel board was $17, before t/t. The salmon was perfect for us, just lightly smoked. Rich, luxurious and flavorful. The bagel did not meet expectations of NY being best of breed, not bad, just ordinary.

We felt $17 for lox and bagel was a fair price for a well put together nosh and professional attentive service.

We rarely eat smoked salmon or bagels. We enjoyed our bites at R&D so much that we shopped the store for fixin’s to snack on back in our hotel room for a final NY salute.


Yes, we used chopsticks to assemble. Our Chinese influence on deli eats. :slight_smile:


It’s interesting to me to see the prices people have listed. We enjoy bagels and lox quite often at home so it’s not something we think of paying for at a restaurant!

Unless we’re specifically seeking out a first-class lox or gravlox, we usually settle for the Ducktrap brand as our choice of what’s easily available. A 4-oz pkg covers 2-4 bagel halves, depending on how generously you want to layer it.

The Ducktrap Kendall Brook is less than $15 at Safeway, per 4-oz pkg. The Echo Falls brand is less expensive but has a smokier flavor my DH isn’t so fond of.

So a 4oz pkg at $15 translates to $60 a pound. I was WAY off, even allowing that it’s a packaged product.

Russ & Daughters is listing a pound of belly lox at $36 online - plus shipping of course.

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It’s a question of waste and availability. I seldom use a lot of lox. Do you? What do you use it for?

I freeze a lot of stuff, but lox needs to be vacuum sealed to really freeze well. And even then, it’s one of those things I don’t think is worth it in my overall cooking. I roughly plan out meals, but we are retired so 2-4x/wk we are “oh, I feel like xxx today so let’s eat out instead.”

I buy lox for my spouse because he adores it. Left to myself I’d probably never bother. Buying it in small pkgs is portion control, makes it simple.

It’s the same reason I don’t shop at Costco. For two people it’s a waste of time.

Mentioning Russ & Daughers in a discussion of Saul’s is shooting [even smoked] fish in a barrel. We’re all for your fine motor skills respectfully treating such delicacies – also good for identifying young budding string players (depending on parents?).