Thanks to Google Alerts, we re-discovered this gem of a story on Langer’s written back in 1997 by Denise Hamilton for the Los Angeles Times. Here’s a sample:
LOS ANGELES — Al Langer, whose pungent pastrami on chewy rye is widely considered the best in Los Angeles, knows it takes more than a tasty sandwich to keep a delicatessen afloat for half a century.
In part, it’s a crapshoot, admits the 84-year-old patriarch of Langer’s Deli, which has seen good times and bad in the MacArthur Park neighborhood where he opened shop 50 years ago this month with $500 in his pocket.
But the scrappy New Jerseyite says it’s also a matter of knowing when to hold, what to fold and how to change with the times.
Take the deli’s location. As the once-prosperous commercial and residential Jewish neighborhood became filled with struggling Central American refugees, Langer held on, convinced that there would always be customers for his matzo brei, kippers and those fat, famous sandwiches.
Maybe so, but not at night or on Sundays anymore.