Seeing Stars: Where the Stars Dine


419 N. Fairfax Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA. / (323) 651-2030


Canter's Deli is a legend despite itself. Almost 75 years old, Canter's opened in 1931 in Boyle Heights, and in 1953 they moved to its current location in the heart of the Jewish immigrant district on Fairfax Boulevard (between Melrose & Farmers Market).

This venerable old kosher deli is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week - and that may be one of the keys to its popularity; their aging "waitresses from hell" certainly aren't, nor is the average decor - even their food gets mixed reviews. But people just keep coming in droves for their huge sandwiches, low prices and sometimes rude service. And over the years they've served over 20 million bagels, and have seen more than their share of celebrities. Marilyn Monroe was a customer way back when - so was Cary Grant, and even Elvis.

Their bar, the Kibitz Room, added a stage for live bands, and surprisingly, it became a trendy late night hangout for the young music & tattoo crowd, with Tuesday jam sessions attracting local musicians such as Slash from Guns and Roses (who used to work at a newsstand on Fairfax a few blocks away). The Wallflowers ("One Headlight"), featuring Bob Dylan's son, Jakob, started out playing here at Canter's. Acts such as Blues Traveler have played there. Considering Canter's proximity to the trendy Melrose, maybe it's not all that surprising...

Madonna was spotted here once, eating potato pancakes with k.d. lang, followed by sightings of Brad Pitt, River Phoenix (before his untimely death), Phil Spector, Lenny Kravitz, Neil Diamond, U2 and Johnny Depp (with Winona Ryder). Not to mention Jonah Hill of "Superbad". The Black Crowes played here.

Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS loves bapka, and says he likes Canter's becaue "before you walk into the restaurant, you have to pass that gauntlet of pastry."

Nicolas Cage is said to have met future wife Patricia Arquette here, and earlier in his life he got thrown out of the deli after throwing a catsup bottle against a wall to impress a girlfriend.

Keith Moon of "The Who" reportedly strolled into Canter's one night wearing a Gestapo uniform (as you might guess, he didn't stay long).

In 1998, they shot a movie there: Touchstone's thriller, "Enemy of the State," which starred Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight. The Deli has also been the location for various commerciials (Hallmark, Vidal Sassoon, etc.

Prices are low by Hollywood standards. Casual dress. (Note the historic murals on the south side of the restaurant.)

Getting there: From Farmer's Market, just head north a few blocks, and Canter's will be on your left (west) side.




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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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