Grilled 'Reuben'

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The origin of this iconic New York sandwich loaded with pastrami and swiss cheese is hotly disputed and debated. Here’s our take served at The Living Space.

Watergate grilled Reuben.jpg

One story has it that the German owner of the famed and defunct Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City made the first ‘Reuben’ for a hungry diner in 1914 when his cupboards were pretty sparse – it would explain the inclusion of sauerkraut.

Our favourite story though is that it was created for Charlie Chaplain’s leading lady Marjorie Rambeau who visited the deli and said “Reuben, make me a sandwich and make it a combination. I’m so hungry I could eat a brick.” Either way, it’s one hell of a sandwich.

The sandwich Ingredients

Serves two
1 loaf of Da Bara bakery’s Rye and onion bread or a rye blend (not to heavy)
80g sliced Swiss cheese
140g sliced pastrami (The Living Space have their own secret recipe)
100g Sauerkraut
100g Thousand Island dressing


1. Slice and butter your rye slices.

2. Smear with Thousand Island dressing and lay sliced Swiss cheese on both sides.

3. Then layer with pastrami and Sauerkraut on top and bring together.

4. If you have a sandwich press, then great! But if not you can place in a dry pan on medium heat to toast the bread and then place in the oven 180oC for 2-3 minutes to melt the cheese and warm the ingredients through.

Serve with more Thousand Island dressing.

Thousand Island Dressing


100g mayonnaise (we make our own)
5 tablespoons ketchup (we make our own)
50g chopped dill pickle
1 finely diced shallot
½ finely minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt to taste
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce


Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix well.

Taste and add additional seasoning if required.


The Reuben sandwich originates in New York with variations spreading across America, including the West Coast Reuben which substitutes Thousand Island dressing for Dijon mustard.