It’s an awesome spectacle: pastrami on rye, extra pickles, coleslaw and melted Swiss cheese served by older ladies who handle the midday crush at Schreiner’s Fine Sausages with grace. The last supper — or lunch, depending on when the end comes — might well consist of a line of faithful patrons at peace with the final countdown, unnerved only by the prospect of not having their sandwiches toasted, or the fact that cash is now just as useless as credit at Schreiner’s. This part of Glendale, bordering the city of Montrose, bears the traces of an earlier émigré past, mostly German and Italian — a past that was once emblematic of Los Angeles but has long been paved over and reconfigured (e.g., the late Gelsinger’s Meat Market and Deli, replaced by the rib peddler Zeke’s).
Pre-apocalyptic tension: Walk down Ocean View Boulevard on your way to the feast and see the fading green lampposts, their bases festooned with swastikas, installed in the city in the mid-’20s and patterned on a Greek design. For almost 50 years — 10 of which redoubtable manager Inge Saxe has been in charge — Schreiner’s has carried more than 200 kinds of sausages, cheeses, knockwurst, tongue and other protein-rich delights — more than enough to lure the hungry doomed from surrounding metropolitan areas. With prepackaged food mixes from Germany, root-beer exotica and German-language publications, it’s as Deutscher a deli as you’ll find on the West Coast — outside of Alpine Village, at least. And German comfort food, like sad songs, is a perfect accompaniment to Sturm und Drang.