The Jewish Delis of Los Angeles serve an important role for connecting heritage to food. Factor’s Famous Deli has been a central pillar for the community for 70 years while newcomers like Micah Wexler and Michael Kassar of Wexler’s Deli bring a fresh take to classic deli food traditions.
Delis are an indelible part of Jewish life and culture. On plate after plate and celebration after celebration, the story of the Jewish community and its impact on the greater population of Los Angeles unfolds. “Deli is fascinating, so are kebabs and hummus today,” says David Myers, professor, and Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish history at UCLA’s Luskin Center, “The way in which this tradition of culinary innovation reflects the arrival of different immigrant groups over the years, over the generations.” Myers has observed how different threads or layers of Jewish immigration framed different culinary traditions. “In my neighborhood, you have a classic Ashkenazi deli, you have a bunch of Persian restaurants, and you have Israeli restaurants reflecting the different cultural origins of the diverse Jewish communities.”
— Julie Wolfson
Factor’s Famous Deli is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Through Thursday, May 31, in-store diners will receive giveaways and be entered into daily raffles for $70 Factor’s gift cards and, on Thursday, May 31, one grand prize winner will receive 70 hand-cut pastrami sandwiches.
— Michelle Mills
“If you take care of this place, it will always take care of you.” Those are the words the late Herman Markowitz used to say to his family about his beloved business, Factor’s Famous Deli. His philosophy continues to resonate among his descendants and staff. On May 15, the West Los Angeles dining institution on Pico Boulevard will mark its 70th anniversary with a dinner at The Mark for Events in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood.
— JESSICA RITZ
— EMMA SCHIFF
HangTime opens: It's been on the horizon for coaster-obsessed people for several months: California's 'first and only dive coaster,' a mega mammoth mountain range of steel that loops and swirls in fantastical ways. All of that looping and swirling has been rising, rising, rising at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, and the opening day is nigh. How nigh? Friday, May 18 is when the first fans'll strap in. Are you ready for what's being called 'the steepest drop' of any coaster in the state? Get ready, fast, if you've been meaning to wrap your mind around that particular fact.
— Alysia Gray Painter
Factor’s Famous Deli, a West Los Angeles staple for decades, is celebrating its 70th birthday next week. Factor’s will turn 70 with a special gala dinner on Tuesday, May 15 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at The Mark For Events at 9320 W. Pico Blvd. For full story see the print edition of The Beverly Hills Courier, or download the e-edition.
— Matt Lopez
Jewish delis are one of the strongest aspects of LA’s dining scene, thanks to a rich, embedded culture in communities across the city. Places like Canter’s, Nate ‘n Al, and Langer’s represent a kind of timeless mid-century delicatessen experience, an affordable and casual place for everything from pastarmi and corned beef to breakfast classics.
— Matthew Kang and Farley Elliott
There are restaurants that perform wild gastronomical feats to get your attention, and then there are restaurants like Factor's. Occupying the same space on Pico Boulevard since 1948, Factor's shines brightest when it comes to the simple things—smoked fish, matzo brei, corned beef. While Canter's may attract more star power, Factor's does a brisk, no-frills business just fifteen minutes away, serving up food that can best be described as 'delightfully predictable.' Just to clarify, there's zero shade in that description; the best Jewish delis are marked by their predictability, serving up the same menu standbys—smoked salmon, whitefish, matzo ball soup—in a way that makes you feel at home, no matter what corner of the world you're noshing in.
— EMMA SPECTER
Everything’s bigger in classic Jewish delis. So when Houston deli maven Ziggy Gruber conceived a version of Restaurant Week, he made it last a whole month. Now, New York Deli Month is back for its second year, and Gruber — owner of Houston’s Kenny & Ziggy’s, and star of the documentary “Deli Man” — is kvelling. A celebration of “The Best Jewish Food Across the Country,” New York Deli Month 2017, which highlights true New York-style delicatessen fare, includes 19 iconic delis across the country — 10 more than last year. They span the land, from Hymie’s Deli in Merion Station, Pennsylvania, to Canter’s in Los Angeles, from Ben’s Best in Rego Park, Queens to Chompie’s in Scottsdale, Arizona, from Manny’s in Chicago to Corky and Lenny’s in Cleveland.
— Michael Kaminer
Factor’s Famous Deli (9420 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035) Aside from Mark and Dave Mandelson, there’s another sibling duo owning and operating a classic family deli. On Pico Boulevard, the Markowitz sisters, Debbie and Suzee, show that deli ownership is a woman’s game, too. According to Debbie, it’s the only deli out there run by two women. Factor’s opened in 1948 and came under Markowitz ownership in 1969. The décor is classic deli, but with a twist. The wood paneling and brown leather are still present, but sports and cinema memorabilia hang everywhere, including signed photographs of famous past patrons. A receipt of Dean Martin’s is especially eye-catching. Additionally, Factor’s is “more than just a deli,” as the sisters offer a catering service and the entrance room offers plenty of other treats behind glass.
— Niko Klein
Filmmaker and former academy President Arthur Hiller died Wednesday at age 92. For nearly four decades, Hiller was part of a loose confederacy of Hollywood comedy legends who would meet for lunch every other Wednesday afternoon, where they would 'kibitz, kvetch, eat pastrami sandwiches, trade gags and grieve when one of their members dies.' In 2012, Times staff writer Susan King met with Hiller and friends including Monty Hall, Gary Owens and Sid Caesar at Factor's Famous Deli on Pico Boulevard to discuss their long careers and long-lasting friendships. This article originally ran in The Times on Sept. 9, 2012.
— SUSAN KING
Framed by pomegranate seeds and bowls of honey, the roast on the Rosh Hashanah table might appear to be an all-too-familiar brisket. Look closer. See those little bumps on its surface? It’s a cow tongue, the culinary centerpiece of the Persian Rosh Hashanah meal. Where Ashkenazis place a fish head, some Sephardic Jews place a roasted cow tongue on the dinner plate to symbolize the hope that God will make us “the head, not the tail” in the coming year. This delicacy is perhaps the most polarizing food in the Rosh Hashanah spread — many young Persians find the dish repulsive, but a devout few (and their parents) savor the holiday specialty.
— GABRIELLA KAMRAN
— Los Angeles Magazine
— The Television
Dick Rickles rode shot gun in a blue Cadillac to this landmark restaurant where he had a salad and Seinfeld had eggs. Traditional dishes and large portions are their bag
— AMY JAMIESON
When it comes to celebrating birthdays, there are three personalities: those who are indifferent, those who hate to hear their birthday even mentioned, and those who extend the festivities for weeks, resulting in your text threads, Facebook invites and iCals piling up with so many event reminders that all you can do is put everything on night mode just to find some peace. Thankfully, Factor’s Famous Deli is one of the latter.
— Stephanie B
The deli on Pico Boulevard plans to have specials and giveaways for the rest of the month. Sharon Tay reports.
— CBS Los Angeles
Pico Boulevard icon Factor's Famous Deli has turned 70 years young. To celebrate the restaurant threw a star-studded chef dinner on Tuesday night and is now opening things up to the general public with a series of big-deal giveaways. Starting yesterday and running through the end of the month, every in-store eater is entered into a raffle to win one of several daily $70 gift certificates, with one ultimate monthlong winner walking away with a card good for 70 free pastrami sandwiches. To enter the big contest, just show up and eat, which shouldn’t be hard to do considering the restaurant is also giving away free food, swag, and more all month long.
— Farley Elliott