Junior’s deli, the Westwood neighborhood fixture popular with the entertainment crowd, has announced it will close at the end of the year.
The 53-year-old restaurant -- situated just a short drive west of the industry power bastions of Century City, including CAA, ICM and 20th Century Fox -- was famous for its massive menu (boasting more than 300 items) and kibitzing owner Marvin Saul (who passed away in 2011). It had already been suffering from rising food prices and declining recession-era attendance when its landlord, Four Corners Investments, recently asked for a rent increase which Saul’s co-owning sons David and John felt they couldn’t afford.
“It’s catastrophic for me,” David told the Los Angeles Times earlier today. “I’m at a loss. It’s like I’m grieving a death.” Junior’s is now slated to serve its last kreplachs and knishes on Dec. 31.
Hollywood was long known to visit the deli, from celebrities like Bruce Willis and Hank Azaria to top execs such as Sierra Pictures head Nick Meyer and FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel. Its most well known habitué, however, was Mel Brooks, who is said to have written parts of his comedy History of the World Part 1 while dining there.
Saul’s sons say they intend to reopen elsewhere in the future with a more updated interpretation of the concept. “The allure of delis has been tarnished over the years,” David explained to the Times. “People won’t recognize what they had until they’ve lost it.”
Junior’s is survived by a dwindling number of classic nearby Westside delis, including Factor’s, which lies further east along the Pico-Robertson corridor, and Nate N’ Al in Beverly Hills.