Canter's Deli is one of California's oldest delis. Located in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile District -the heart and soul of the entertainment industry - Canter's Delicatessen is a third-generation family-run business whose owners have an intense pride in their deli and a hands-on work ethic.
It all began in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1924. After losing a deli in the 1929 stock market crash, Ben Canter and his two brothers moved to California with just $500 in their pockets.Eager to succeed, they opened up a Canter Brother's Delicatessen in 1931 in Boyle Heights, the Jewish center of Los Angeles.
When the character of the neighborhood changed, Ben Canter's daughter, Selmo Udko, and her then husband, Harold Price, partnered with Ben Canter and his wife, Jennie, to purchase a prime location at 439 North Fairfax Avenue. And instead of calling it Canter's Brothers they called it Canter's Fairfax.
In 1953 this new team purchased the old Esquire Theatre at 419 North Fairfax and moved Canter's Deli just up the street to the larger location.
For over seventy-five years now this third-generation family-owned business has served food to locals, tourist, and celebrities alike. With its Art Deco décor and its trademark autumn leaves ceiling, this hangout has hardly changed in its over half century at its current location.
As Sheryll Bellman wrote in her book, Americas Great Delis:
"You wouldn't think that Los Angeles could have a deli rival to New Yorks, but for those who know and love the deli culture and appreciate all that it evokes, this place is heaven. Voted the #1 Best Pastrami by the Los Angeles Times, Canter's Deli sandwiches are always served on rye, unless you ask for something else, but dont do that! Made famous for its corned beef and pastrami sandwiches Canter's Deli boasts of serving the best quality food at reasonable prices. . . Tour buses stop here, and many tourists eat here as well, but the real heart and soul of this deli are the locals who have never moved from the neighborhood and the stars who slip in here incognito for a late night nosh. Canter's Deli is a place of solace, and they come for the old-fashioned Jewish food that reminds them of their past. Open 24 hours and only closed on Jewish holidays, you can come here anytime for a delicious taste of yesterday."
Canter's has also become a favorite whistle stop for hot political contests. Mayor Bradley, Governor Deukmejian, Rudy Giuliani, and Bill Simon have gone from booth to booth introducing themselves to our customers. And with CBS studios just up the block, celebrities frequent Canter's every day. Our catering department caters to many television shows and movies, as well as catering their wrap parties.
Over the years, many celebrities have passed through our doors. 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, Charlene Tilton, Brooke Shields, Jacqueline Bisset, Catherine Oxenberg, John Travolta, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Buddy Hackett, Olivia Newton John, Muhammad Ali, Monty Hall, Bill Cosby, David Brenner, Rodney Dangerfield, Dick Van Dyke, Shelly Winters, Elizabeth Montgomery, The Cars, Henry Winkler, and Greg Morris. The producer of Miami Vice, Michael Mann, wrote here for hours at a time when he was writing for Vegas. The Neil Simon movie, "I Ought to be in Pictures", with Walter Matthau was filmed here. Many celebrities who prefer to go "incognito" sneak in around 3:00 am for a late night nosh!
Canter's is also part of the larger Los Angeles community having received numerous awards from such institutions as the City of Hope, appreciation letters for outstanding and dedicated service, and letters from Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association thanking Canters for donating food.
Canter's Delicatessen continues to be a Los Angeles landmark and late night hot spot, and, with the 2003 addition of Canter's Deli at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, we are committed to bringing the best delicatessen food to our noshers on the famed Las Vegas Strip and to Dodger fans at Dodger Stadium.
Significant Dates in Canter's History: