THE SHAPIRO ANCESTORS OPEN A GROCERY IN
LOUIS AND REBECCA SHAPIRO ARRIVE IN INDIANAPOLIS FROM
and begin selling flour and sugar on the street from a pushcart. They fled from their homeland due to the anti-Semite pogroms during the turn of the century that resulted in brutality and vandalism of their family grocery in Odessa.
SHAPIROS OPEN A
SMALL GROCERY DELI
After raising capital for two years, Shapiro’s opens for business in the working-class neighborhood a few blocks south of downtown Indianapolis. The Shapiros live above the store with their eight children, all of whom work there as business grows steadily. The family wakes every day at 3 a.m. with the admonishment, “The day is half over already!”
SHAPIRO’S PROUDLY DISPLAYS THE
STAR OF DAVID
In defiance of the election of well-known Ku Klux Klan member Ed Jackson as Indiana’s governor, Louis proudly redecorates his store in a modern art-deco style, emblazoning “Shapiro’s Kosher Foods” on the front along with the Star of David.
THE END OF
Shapiro’s begins to transition into more of a restaurant. They start selling beer for 10 cents a bottle, along with salami and corned beef sandwiches. Tables and chairs are added, then a steam table to showcase dinner entrees like Rebecca’s spaghetti and meatballs. Louis gradually turns over the running of the store to sons Abe, Izzy and Max.
THE FIRST SHAPIRO’S CAFE OPENS
Louis retires for good, with Abe presiding over the kitchen with his signature corned beef recipe, Izzy manning the counter and Max overseeing the business side. The cafeteria officially opens, and Shapiro’s becomes a Southside magnet for working families attracted to its moderate prices and downtown professionals who’ve heard tales of their legendary sandwiches.
SHAPIRO’S EXPANDS INTO PASSO’S DRUGS
Passo Drugs, a pharmacy opened in the 1935, was located next door to Shapiro’s Delicatessen. In 1976, they suffered a terrible gas explosion and fire that destroyed the building. The Passo family decided not to reopen and Shapiro’s expanded to take over their corner space.
MAX RUNS SHAPIRO’S FOR
Max continues as “major domo” of Shapiro’s for 65
years – past age 80 – directing several
expansions and rarely taking any vacations. His
wife, Ann Selig Shapiro, personally perfects many
of the store’s famous desserts, including the
SHAPIRO’S OPENS A SECOND
Shortly before Max’s death, his nephew and grand-nephew, investment banker Mort Shapiro and law school graduate Brian Shapiro, persuade Max to open a second location near Township Line Road and West 86th Street. Max had long resisted the idea of another store due to his insistence on perfection. But the new location takes off, and with Max’s passing Brian takes over day-to-day operations. His dad, Mort, handles the books and payroll.
USA TODAY DUBS SHAPIRO’S TRADEMARK OFFERING “THE FINEST CORNED BEEF SANDWICH IN THE WORLD.”
MORT PASSES AWAY
Shapiro’s Delicatessen and Cafeteria falls into Brian’s capable hands – the fourth generation of a family business heading into its second century of serving unparalleled kosher-style fare.
SHAPIRO’S OPENS A NEW LOCATION IN
After closing the West 86th Street restaurant, Shapiro’s breaks ground on Rangeline Road in Carmel for a new location to replace it. The doors open in June 2002.
IN FEBRUARY, SOMEONE WELDING ON THE ROOF STARTED A SMALL FIRE IN THE APARTMENT ONCE OCCUPIED BY LOUIS, REBECCA & THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN.
Located on the third floor of the downtown restaurant, the fire is quickly extinguished by firefighters and the sprinkler system. But the damage is done.
Scott Olson of the Indianapolis Business Journal reports on the rebuilding of Shapiro’s Delicatessen: “Water used to douse the flames has created a much larger headache for (Brian) Shapiro than the fire. Five inches left standing on the floor, and another foot in the basement, raised concerns from Shapiro’s insurance company about the spread of mold.” Delays mount. Shapiro’s reopens in late May – a full three months after the fire.
SHAPIRO’S AND VIENNA BEEF CELEBRATE
The deli marks the occasion by selling corned beef sandwiches for $1.
SHAPIRO’S OPENS A NEW LOCATION IN THE
Indianapolis International Airport is one of the first new airports to open in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. Opening in November 2008, the airport chooses locally owned establishments, not chains, to give IND visitors a true taste of Hoosier hospitality. Shapiro’s Delicatessen, St. Elmo’s and Indy 500 all partner with SSP America to oversee daily operations. Although the bakery downtown supplies desserts, all other food is hand-prepared on-site.
SHAPIRO’S CARMEL LOCATION CLOSES
Due to changes and delays in Carmel’s development plans for the area, the Carmel restaurant is forced to close. Once scheduled to be completed by 2005, the original plan to develop a walking-shopping-dining experience near The Carmel Performing Arts Center and the Monon Trail faced numerous delays and caused many businesses to struggle.
SHAPIRO’S LAUNCHES A NEW CONCEPT – TWISTED TRADITIONS
In January, Shapiro’s opens a new concept deli in the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing. Shapiro’s Twisted Traditions, a fast-casual dining experience, offers an array of dining favorites and some with a new twist, in the mall’s centerpiece “Fashion Cafe”.
Downtown, people still line up early for meals at Shapiro’s celebrated original cafeteria-style tradition on South Meridian Street. They continue to sell more than 3,000 pounds of corned beef a week, along with an expanded array of hand crafted specialties, from scratch.
In June 2017, Shapiro’s first franchise outside of the state of Indiana opens in Blue Ash, in Cincinnati.
Unfortunately, the franchise didn’t last long and they closed the following year.