Since Mod Betty is being a bit of a jealous grumpus because Retro Roadhusband is in Los Angeles CA and she isn’t, it seems only fitting for me to share Canter’s Deli today, since he and I were there together long before we ever became an item!
(That’s us back in the day- in front of that very same booth 13 years later. I’m on the left, and RRH is flanked between his bandmates. Who knew things would end up like they have? Certainly not us, sitting there getting our photo snapped. Our swell pal Anna took this photo with a Polaroid camera of all things – how retro, even back then!)
Family owned and operated, Canter’s Deli has been an LA Landmark since 1931 and is a little haven for New York deli-style noshing in the land of bean sprouts and smoothies. And though this one shot of this one sign doesn’t give the full effect, it’s got all sorts of wonderful vintage signage, neon, distinctive lettering to make it a Retro Roadmap beacon on Fairfax.
But as the sign says, and the main reason I had been there so many times before is because they’re Open All Night (24/7). So if you were out in Los Angeles to check out some pop bands and wanted to go someplace to socialize after the rocking was done, here’s where you’d end up!
Or at least where I ended up, with my power-pop loving pals, chatting with bandmates over plates of eggs and late night coffee. And we’re not the only ones – Guns n Roses as well as tons of other celebrities have been spotted here.
The interior looks pretty much the same as it does in this late 1950s photograph (except it’s not black and white, har har.)
Not only can you sit at the counter, table or booth and order up breakfast anytime, or a humungous deli sandwich. There’s even the Kibbutz Room, a lounge where you can grab a cocktail and watch performances on the small stage.
And you can buy baked goods and deli meats and cheeses from the counters that flank either side of the main entrance entrance.
Speaking of baked goods, I feel I need to share this, because while it initially seems like a bad thing it illustrates a good point.
When we got to Canter’s I knew we’d be eating a lot all day, so I just opted for a croissant instead of the big breakfast RRH ordered. When I bit into it it was not the flaky pastry I had been expecting but was pretty solid and unappetizing. While disappointed, I rationalized, “I’m not in a french bakery, I am in a Jewish deli - I should have gotten a bagel, oh well, my bad.” Mod B never wants to stir up problems, so I picked at it a bit, and had bits of Retro Roadhusband’s breakfast that he was willing to share, and that was fine, as we had another long day of Retro Roadeating ahead of us.
Upon seeing the almost complete pastry still hanging out on my plate when she returned later to refill our cups, our waitress asked me point blank if anything was wrong with the croissant. I somewhat shamefacedly admitted that it seemed either heavy or stale (like it was somehow my fault that my food was not good? I know, I know) and she said, “Well, that’s not right, you should have told me – can I get you anything else?” I declined, as I was full enough at that point, so she said she’d take it off the bill.
As our seasoned waitress left to correct the bill she said, “Don’t be afraid to speak up if something isn’t right.”
And if that isn’t a life lesson learned at a 24 hour coffee shop where you once dined with the musician who was later to become your husband, I don’t know what is. And that is why I continue to love Canter’s.
419 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90048
If you want to order food from Canter’s Online or from your smartphone, use this link: Canter’s Delicatessen & Restaurant
View CA – California Retro RoadMAP in a larger map