The beloved Beverly Hills delicatessen Nate ‘n Al’s received a steady stream of online and telephone orders Friday as it reopened for takeout and delivery after being closed since late March because of the coronavirus pandemic and its lease was set to expire soon.
“We’re excited and so appreciative of the enthusiasm from our loyal customers,” said Shelli Azoff, owner of the Azoff Restaurant Group, which purchased Nate ‘n Al’s in 2019 from its longtime owners, the Mendelson family. The group also owns another longtime Westside restaurant, The Apple Pan.
“Our phones have been ringing off the hook today and we’ve loved seeing familiar faces come by and pick up their go-to favorites. We are glad the customers are happy we are open and hope we continue to be this busy next week.”
The restaurant that opened on North Beverly Drive in 1945 has reduced its menu, combining classic favorites and new “family style” dinners, publicist Holly Curtis said.
Nate ‘n Al’s has also reduced its staff and hours — it will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. — to ensure safety and social distancing within the kitchen and order staff, she said.
Deliveries will be available — at a $10 charge — with a minimum $25 order. Delivery is being facilitated in-house, allowing more staff to be hired, including Gloria Leon, who has worked as a Nate ‘n Al’s waitress for 41 years, Curtis said. Leon will be taking phone orders.
“We are thrilled to reopen Nate ‘n Al’s again,” Azoff said.
“It was always our goal to keep the tradition alive, and our temporary pause in operations was to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff and our customers — which will always come first.”
The lease for the restaurant at 414 N. Beverly Drive had been set to expire June 1, Curtis told City News Service. The building is owned by the Cloobeck family.
“There is not a definite length of extension as it is an agreement between the Azoff and Cloobeck families to allow them to remain operational in the space, helping to serve customers and allow for the business to open again, employing local staff,” Curtis said.
“This will continue as long as it is feasible for both parties.”
The Azoff Restaurant Group had planned to move Nate ‘n Al’s one block east to the former site of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse at 445 N. Canon Drive.
“There are not definite plans at this time regarding the future location due to COVID-19,” Curtis said. “Things change day by day, so we would prefer not to comment directly on this.”
Like all California restaurants, Nate ‘n Al’s is barred from providing dine-in service due to local and state orders stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Nate ‘n Al’s was opened by friends and business partners Nate Rimer and Al Mendelson. It 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.
Reality television personality Kim Kardashian West tweeted “BEST NEWS EVER!!!!!!” following Thursday’s announcement of the reopening.
When the closure was announced March 28, Laraine Newman, an original “Saturday Night Live” cast member, tweeted, “Nooooooooo! Nate ‘n Al’s is closing!!!??? This is the deli I grew up with! The best in Los Angeles. The deli where I saw Danny Kaye when I was 12 and he winked at me!!! Nooooo!”
When the closure was announced, then-Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch, who remains one of the five members of the City Council, called it “nothing short of devastating for our entire community.”
“Maybe more than any other venue in our city, Nate ‘n Al’s 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’s 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.”
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: