It's Saturday afternoon and there's a line forming out the door of Junior's Deli on Westwood Boulevard. Toddlers fumble around the deli case, seniors clutch their canes while patiently waiting for a table. New York accents float through the air. The scene would make any restaurant owner proud. But it's the last weekend the deli will be in business, due to a hefty increase in rent. Many of its employees have made a career here. "Some of us have been around for more than 30 years," said a hostess in charge of catering. "All we know is that now we have to look for new jobs."
One patron, slurping the last drop of matzo ball soup, penned a note on her receipt: "Thank you for being an icon of West Los Angeles culture. I will miss you." We know a few mormons who will miss the deli too. "When I learned that the Jewish founder of Junior's had been a uranium miner in Utah, just like my grandfather, I knew that I had to try the place. Their turkey pot pie was my favorite," Dave Mills told the Jewish Journal in an article, "Mormons react to the closing of Junior's Deli."
Looking back on 2012 we think of food trends (more raw juicing, more pop ups, more tablet dining) and new culinary adventures. But it's hard to forget our favorite restaurants that closed. Mezze had a good run, as did Savory, Tar Pit, Sushi Nozawa, Campanile and the list goes on. Old timers such as 53-year-old Junior's serves its last matzo balls, sandwiches and potato pancakes (and free bagels!) on Monday, December 31. "If we were this busy all the time, we wouldn't be closing," said co-owner Jon Saul of the final rush. "Our chefs have been working tirelessly to make more black-and-white cookies, but they just can't keep up with the demand," Saul added, pointing to an empty bakery case. "Thank you so much for your years of support," he told a young lady who was snapping a photo of the last cookie.
So, what's to come in 2013? More izakaya in Santa Monica, Raw Restaurant on Robertson, replacing Oishi (probably a good thing since we found glass in our sushi), Hostaria del Piccolo opens a second location in Venice Beach any day now, Ricardo Zarate's Paichẽ is coming soon to Marina del Rey and a new deli is set to open in the Junior's space.
Bedford & Burns: 369 N Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 273-8585.
The Black Cat: 3909 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.
Doma: 362 N Camden; Beverly Hills; (310) 277-7346.
Eat This: 6547 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.
Figaro: 618 S Broadway, Los Angeles.
Maccheroni Republic: 332 S. Broadway, Los Angeles.
The Melt: 735 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles.
La Monarca Bakery: 1001 Mission St., South Pasadena.
The Morrison: 3179 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles.
Muddy Leek: 8631 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 838-2281.
LA Vegan Crepe: 930 S Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles.
Rice: 820 Manhattan Ave., Suite 105 Manhattan Beach.
Hot'N'Juicy Crawfish: 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.
Ritual Coffee and Wine Bar: 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Canoga Park, (818) 594-8740.
Tapenade: 11301 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles.
Oishi: 201 South Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills.
U-Sushi: 168 S Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills.
Fat Spoon: 329 E 1st St, Los Angeles.
Salerno's: 3902 W. Riverside Drive Burbank, (818) 845-8115.
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Click here for a list of 2012 restaurant openings and closings in the San Gabriel Valley.
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