Say it with us: Ken ikh hubn a baygl mit shmirkeyz?
That would be Yiddish for: "Can I have a bagel with schmear?," which is the exact thing you'll have to say to the Katz's Deli staff today to earn some free treats.
As part of a new promotion in partnership with language-learning app Duolingo, the New York institution is joining four other delis across the country in offering free bagels and schmears to customers who are able to place an order in Yiddish.
The gimmick celebrates the app's upcoming Yiddish course, the 40th language it now teaches, which is why the five restaurants selected to be a part of it have deep Yiddish roots. In addition to Katz's Deli, they include Factor's Famous Deli in Los Angeles, Manny's Cafeteria & Deli in Chicago, Zak the Baker in Miami and Pigeon Bagels in Pittsburgh.
According to the official press release announcing the promotion, Yiddish was once spoken by over 13 million people—but only 600,000 folks are still familiar with the language today. That being said, there are some Yiddish expressions that New Yorkers especially count on on a daily basis, including the words bagel and schmear.
You don't have much time to dust off your language skills as the offering is only available today, so start heading downtown now. Just remember that the "ikh" and "kh" sound like you're clearing your throat.
Zol zayn mit mazl! That would be "good luck!" in Yiddish.
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