Not all celebrity restaurants are expensive - or glitzy. There's nothing glamorous here, folks. Nate 'n Al's is a small, scrappy little deli which has been around forever - and looks like it.
In a way, Nate 'n Al's is the antithesis of the nearby Spago Beverly Hills. The working class waitresses here are unceremonious, but friendly - almost motherly. The menu is huge (packed with hearty pastrami & corned beef sandwiches almost too big to bite), and the prices are very reasonable.
But it's a modest little storefront deli, with inexpensive carpeting and even a small market located inside the restaurant. You'd never guess it was a hangout for Hollywood stars & agents.
CNN host Larry King bought his home in Beverly Hills because it was within walking distance of his favorite deli; it's his "morning ritual" to go to Nate 'n' Al's every day for breakfast. (In fact, Regis Philbin recently told a story on his "Live with Regis & Kelly" show about meeting Larry King one morning while waiting in line for a booth. As Larry left, he told the hostess to give Regis his booth, but the no-nonsense hostess ignored his request and just seated the next person on the waiting list in the booth.)
Funnyman Mike Myers ("Austin Powers") says he goes there all the time. So does Michael Chiklis ("The Fantastic Four").
Los Angeles magazine reports spotting singer David Crosby, basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and super-agent Lew Wasserman all here at 8 AM on the same day.
So the morning hours would appear to be your best bet for star-gazing. The deli is also particularly popular with Hollywood's comic gag writers.
But it's not always the A.M. In July of 2003, Variety's Army Archerd reported this great item: "Outside Nate 'n' Al's Tuesday at 7:15 p.m., a masked Michael Jackson ran into his former press agent, Lee Solters. An elderly woman passing by stopped and asked Jacko if he was really Michael Jackson. When he said yes, she asked if she could hug him. Fortunately he wasn't holding a baby. So she hugged him, thanked him and went on her way."
Other celebs spotted here include Neil Diamond, Robert Wagner, and the late Suzanne Pleshette.
How did modest, little Nate 'n Al's achieve this success in posh Beverly Hills?
Well, unlike Canter's, it wasn't their convenient hours (Nate 'n Al's closes early). But it didn't hurt that it is located within easy walking distance of glittery Rodeo Drive, or that it was probably the only kosher-style deli in town.
And the food is surprisingly good (try
the good chicken noodle soup, lox, bagels, great potato pancakes, or one
of their 70 different giant sandwiches - with the best tye bread in town).
In January of 1999, during the height of the Senate impeachment trial, who should drop in for some matzo brie but Chelsea Clinton, the President's daughter. She showed up with friends after attending the Stanford-UCLA basketball game (after Secret Service men checked out the place first.) Fortunately, she didn't bump into Monica Lewinsky, who also likes the deli.
On May 24, 2005, Nate & Al's celebrated their 60th anniversary - with a few celebs. Suzanne Pleshette served her real husband Tom Poston and her TV husband Bob Newhart; Larry King, Henry Winkler, Ed McMahon, Mary Hart, and others who showed up for the celebration.
Nate 'n Al's is open seven days a week,
from 7:30 AM to 8:45 PM, with the same good menu served all day. On Saturdays,
they stay open until 9:30 PM.
there: from Rodeo drive, just turn east on Dayton Way, go two
blocks east, then turn left (north) on Beverly Drive, and go one and a
half blocks north. Nate & Al's will be on your right (east) side, near
the Museum of Television
[You can find a copy
of Nate 'n' Al's menu at: http://www.cuisinenet.com:80/cnet/los_angeles/rest/7857.html.]
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