We were in LA yesterday and stopped to have lunch at Canter’s. It was a scrumptious experience!

Canter’s is one of California’s oldest delis, located on Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile District, the heart of the entertainment industry.

The Canter family originally opened a delicatessen in Jersey City, NJ in 1924. After losing it in the 1929 stock market crash, Ben Canter and his two brothers moved to California with just $500 in their pockets, and opened a delicatessen in 1931 in Boyle Heights, which was then the predominant Jewish area of Los Angeles.

After WWII the Jewish community moved to West Hollywood and Canters Deli followed to the current location in 1953. With its Art Deco décor and its trademark autumn leaves ceiling, the restaurant has hardly changed since, and is a time capsule.

Canter’s is known for its traditional Jewish cuisine, hearty pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, brisket, matzah ball soup, challah, lox and bagels, and a great assortment of bakery good. It received many awards over the years, and Esquire magazine called their Monte Cristo sandwich one of the best sandwiches in America.

Given its location and amazing food, Canter’s became a hang-out for show business personalities, musicians, actors and politicians, and to this day the stars came incognito for a late night nosh. In the 50s Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller ate here, as did Jack Benny and Elizabeth Taylor. Other celebrity noshers include: Sydney Poitier, Mel Brooks, Wilt Chamberlain, John Travolta, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Olivia Newton John, Muhammad Ali, Monty Hall, Dick Van Dyke and many others. The movie “I Ought to be in Pictures”, with Walter Matthau was filmed here, and a picture of Obama hangs proudly by the door.

The bar at Canter’s, called the Kibitz Room, has live music every night, and was the launch pad for bands like the Wallflowers, and many “A List” musicians sit in, including Fiona Apple, Phil Everly, Jackson Browne, Melissa Etheridge.

In 2003 Canter’s opened a deli at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. The bakery and deli counter are open 24 hours, every day, except on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The neighborhood changed dramatically. The bustling Jewish stores are closed, as is the Jewish theater. The Jewish community migrated to Pico. Instead, hip-hop shops selling expensive shoes and clothing line up the street, with security guards at the door. We stopped at Sami the grocery store, like Canters, they are committed to stay. It was wonderful to see my friend the owner, and reminisce about old times, and memories that will never fade. I đź’ť LA.

Photography by Asaf Fulks | The OC Recording Company