Upon finding a $29 ham-and-cheese sandwich at the New York deli, an Eli Zabar’s E.A.T. cafe customer declared it “peak Upper East Side” and wondered how the price could be justified.
The customer, Ally Shapiro (@allyshaps), posted a TikTok on May 22 that has drawn nearly 344,000 views to the expensive sandwich.
@allyshaps Peak upper east side is the $29 ham and cheese sandwich from Eli Zabar. How in the world could this ever be worth that price please tell me #zabar #eat #nycfood #expensivefood #uppereastsidenyc #nyceatss ♬ original sound – Raeann Langas
In the video, Shapiro uses audio from lifestyle blogger Raeann Langas. She also includes a slightly altered version of Langas’ message in an on-screen caption that mostly matches the audio.
“Everyone’s like don’t spend money on material things; spend it on experiences,” Shapiro writes.
Then, as the camera pans past a $24 egg salad sandwich before settling on the $29 ham-and-cheese, she adds, “Yes, I get that, but like, what are we eating?”
In the video’s accompanying caption, Shapiro asks, “How in the world could this ever be worth that price; please tell me.”
Commenters were similarly flabbergasted.
“Can someone explain to me why? Like, I genuinely cannot process the price for that,” one wrote.
“I don’t even understand how they could charge that?” another remarked. “And who buys it? Insane.”
“People who don’t notice and are too embarrassed at the register to put it back,” someone quipped in response.
“Is it gold plated?” another joked.
Some people noticed that the sandwich’s description says the fixings are nestled between slices of “health bread.” Though the sandwich was priced the same as the rye bread one next to it, commenters had fun with this fact.
As one cracked, “Does the health bread comes with a dr consultation or something?”
“Is the cure to all known diseases in the bread or something?” another wondered.
One person had a theory on the market for E.A.T. sandwiches.
“I’ve only ever seen extremely old people buy their prepared foods lol too rich to care.”
Another had a more insidious theory: “Yeah, that’s an easy way to launder money.”
The Daily Dot contacted Shapiro via TikTok comment and Eli Zabar’s via email for further information.
Update 7:17am CT, May 26, 2023: An earlier version of this story identified the eatery as Zabar’s. We have updated the story to reflect that the eatery was E.A.T, which is owned by Eli Zabar. The two businesses are not connected, per Zabar’s statement to the Daily Dot.