The Nate’n Al delicatessen will end takeout and delivery service Sunday but hopes to resume normal operations after the ban on in-restaurant dining prompted by the coronavirus emergency is ended.
The restaurant that has been in business on North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills since 1945 announced Saturday it would be “closing our doors for all business as of” Sunday.
However, a statement posted on its Facebook page Sunday said “It is the intention of the current ownership to get through this crisis like every other restaurant and make the right decisions at the right time. Our goal is to keep the Nate’n Al’s tradition alive.”
The statement also said, “The media has incorrectly reported that Nate’n Al’s is `gone forever.’ As we originally stated, we couldn’t fully guarantee the safety of both our customers and employees for take-out and delivery during this pandemic we have chosen to cease that service.
“Our current lease is expiring shortly and we have encountered major difficulties with the city of Beverly Hills who would have been our new landlord on Canon Drive.”
Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch told City News Service, “I’m not sure what they mean by having `encountered major difficulties.’ As far as I know, despite the urgency with which the city is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has remained in ongoing discussions with the new owners.”
Entertainment executive Irving Azoff and his wife, Shelli, both long-time customers, purchased Nate’n Al in 2019 and planned to move it from 414 N. Beverly Drive one block east, to the former site of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse at 445 N. Canon Drive.
Like all California restaurants, Nate’n Al has been barred from having customers dine at its establishment after local and state stay-at-home orders issued earlier this month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nate’n Al will take orders for takeout and delivery Sunday “until we sell out of product,” the restaurant tweeted. People wanting to order food must call 310-274-0101. No walk-ups are being allowed.
Multiple people reported a high call volume on Twitter.
“I’ve tried calling over 75 times since 8 a.m.,” illusionist Sammy Cortino tweeted at 9:50 a.m.
The delicatessen announced on its Instagram account Saturday it would be “closing our doors for all business as of” Sunday.
“Approximately one month ago the world as we knew it changed,” the statement said. “We had hoped that we could continue our take out and delivery service so that we could provide the community with the food that has been a part of our lives for years.
“However, our number one priority is to keep our customers and our staff safe and secure during this time of uncertainty. After reviewing all the variables, we no longer feel confident that we can do that. It is with great sadness that we will be closing our doors for all business as of tomorrow, Sunday, March 29th at 8 p.m.
“Thank you all for being a part of the Nate’n Al’s family and a special thank you to our employees who have worked tirelessly to be here so that we all have continued to have our favorites available!
“We don’t know what the future holds but we urge everyone to do your best to stay home and stay safe.”
Nate’n Al opened in 1945 by friends and business partners Nate Rimer and Al Mendelson. It was sold by the Mendelson family in 2019.
Nate’N Al has long been frequented by Hollywood executives and personalities, including talk show host Larry King, who used to eat breakfast there nearly every morning.
The late Oscar-winning actor Gregory Peck told City News Service in the late 1980s that he would pull up to the rear of the restaurant every weekend to pick up a takeout order.
“Nooooooooo! Nate’n Al’s is closing!!!??? This is the deli I grew up with!” Laraine Newman, an original “Saturday Night Live” cast member, tweeted Saturday. “The best in Los Angeles. The deli where I saw Danny Kaye when I was 12 and he winked at me!!! Nooooo!”
On Saturday, Mirisch called the closure of Nate’n Al “nothing short of devastating for our entire community.”
“Maybe more than any other venue in our city, Nate’n Al was a place where we all could meet, no matter what part of the city you lived in,” said Mirisch, who was raised in Beverly Hills and recalled going to Nate’n Al with his grandparents as a youth and bringing his son there in recent years.
“In some respects, it was even more important than City Hall, because it was our city’s de facto town square — and you can’t get a good bagel and lox at City Hall either.”
Mirisch said on Sunday he was “glad to hear that the closure isn’t meant to be permanent. My personal hope is to keep the Nate’n Al tradition going in Beverly Hills forever.”
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