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As Junior’s Deli Closes, Malibu Co-Owner Looks For New Location

David Saul, a Malibu Public Safety Commissioner and longtime resident, says his family is looking for an affordable space to reopen, including in Malibu.

Driving up and down Pacific Coast Highway twice daily for two decades from Malibu to Junior’s Deli, David Saul said he’s not sure what he will do when the restaurant closes on Jan. 1.

Junior’s Deli, which opened in 1959 Pico Boulevard in 1959 and moved in 1967 to its current location on Westwood Boulevard in West Los Angeles, is closing due to a dispute over rent. Saul co-owns the business with his brother, John.

“It’s like grieving a death. My employees are like my family. I’m losing my loyal customers,” Saul told Malibu Patch. “… On Jan. 1 when I open my, eyes I’m not going to know where to go.”

Saul, who serves as a Public Safety Commissioner in Malibu, said the closure comes as his family is grieving the loss of his mother, who died three months ago. His father and Junior’s founder Marvin Saul, died last year at the age of 82.

"It’s not about me. They’re losing a staple on the Westside," he said.

Saul said he has been on the phone non-stop to try to find his 95 employees new jobs. Some of them have been working at Junior's for 40 years, he said.

Saul said he’s looked into reopening in Malibu, but the rents are too high.

“If I could find a place that had reasonable rent, I would get backers together and open in a heartbeat,” he said.

It’s not just about location for Saul, who said he also wants to provide a quality menu at a reasonable price.

“It’s an iconic restaurant. It’s the heart of the Westside. It’s the place you come for comfort food. We’ve had generations and generations,” Saul said.

JBB December 28, 2012 at 02:40 PM
There are a lot of greedy landlords and property managers. I think some just need a write off and can afford to have property empty. They certainly have every right to make a profit, but unless the property has changed ownership and the tax has skyrocketed, why the stiff increases in rent everywhere in this economy? Look at Granita? I always thought it was ugly, but vacant it's really hard to take. I have eaten at Juniors only several times over the years, but it will be sad to lose another landmark. What's next, Johnnies Pastrami?
Julie Fulmer Wallach December 28, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Junior's is more than a deli to me; it's where my family shared meals together for twenty-plus years. My mom and I sat in our regular booth every week for hours (until our tushies were numb!) and had deep talks, kibitzed with other customers, laughed our a**** off, and sometimes cried. It's where we forgave each other for the past. Both of my daughters were tiny little monkeys, tucked in their car seats in the booth while I tried to shovel down a meal before they needed to be nursed again. My sisters and mom and I would all go together for meals. When I’d look at families in booths beside ours, they were just like us – some bickering, some laughing, some quietly eating together. I feel at home there.
Phil Phillips December 28, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I've enjoyed going to Junior's since I was taken there in 1986. Since then, it's been a place I enjoyed stopping in, and taking guests and introducing them to a great place to get something good to eat. My friends from NYC, especially those who couldn't stop talking about their local "deli", would just stuff themselves when we went, and want to come back when they visited again. As a Malibu resident its disparaging that choices are becoming "chain store" only. I prefer mom and pop places, individuals who put something in their efforts that is a unique as the fare they offer. Rubber stamped, processed, assembly line products are not choices, and seldom if ever, have flavor or taste (or any kind of reasonable price). We face big chains, or places that make their menu so exclusive that its elitist. Everyone was seen in Junior's, everyone just came when hungry and wanted something good to eat, and they were rewarded with good service as well. Malibu just went through this with a favorite pizza place.
Mikke Pierson December 28, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Sorry to hear this David. I know how hard you have worked for so many years and how much you care. I hope you find a new location soon. Closer to Malibu the better!
CCS December 28, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Sad news for me. When we were married our first home was on the West side and we were regulars at Juniors. Best chocolate cigars anywhere.
Jimmy Dee December 28, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Sad to hear this David!!!!! Junior's was the place to go after a little 2+2 time... Another Iconic establishment gone... Who's next????
Max December 28, 2012 at 07:04 PM
So sad.... Many a blind date would await my appearance at Juniors (as well as Zucky's, Cantors, Pink's, Tail-of-the-Pup [not really]). Needless to say, these gals were so impressed with my excellent choice of cuisine that I would end up eating both meals alone (as they left for greener pastures). In their absence, I had a great time, as I told myself the funniest one-liners, which had me belly laughing till closing, parking validation in hand... Please try to relocate here in Malibu! We need an authentic deli!! Best of success to you, Mr. Saul.
PCH Commuter December 28, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Junior's on Point Dume, where Savory was, would be great. It could be like the Point Dume Coffee Shop, many years ago, but with a deli counter. Point Dume Village's owner should be begging David to bring Junior's to the Point, and he should offer unlimited options to extend the lease (in order to avoid a future protest by those who will become loyal customers of David's).
Betty Ammon December 28, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Pacific Palisades is in dire need of a truly good deli like Juniors. The former Mort's Deli, then became The Village Pantry on Swarthmore still is in operation now as Steve 's. It deteriorates with each name change. There are many empty business locations in the Palisades Village where a good deli could be relocated provided these landlords aren't as greedy as the one Junior's has faced in their present location.
ElleeGee December 28, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Being a NY transplant since 1998.....whenever East Coasters landed at LAX....Juniors was the 1st place we'd go after their 6 hr flight!! WHile we're heart-broken for you and your employees...I personally wouldn't be terribly upset if you re-opened in Malibu/Calabassas...Ventura County!! Here's hoping!!
steve soboroff December 29, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Hey David, wait for me:) Happy Healthy New Year to your great family. I miss your Dad, he was a true Los Angeles treasure
David Saul December 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Thanks mike
David Saul December 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Thanks jimmy d
A Long-time Malibu Resident December 30, 2012 at 03:33 AM
I will deeply mourn the loss of Juniors. I went there when I was single, and I went with my husband, and then with our kids. Juniors employees became friends. I can't see Juniors succeeding in Malibu, however, and given the problems with the landlord at Point Dume, that location would certainly not succeed. Given the recent problems with that landlord, who just might be greedier than the one presenting problems now, I think the Palisades might be the best bet, since most all of Malibu is willing to travel to find the best choices that are unfortunately, no longer available here in Malibu. Thank goodness there are still individually owned small businesses in the Palisades, and we need to band together to support them so that they can survive! Dave, we loved your father, and we wish you the best of luck in relocating the restaurant. We will happily increase our support to keep you afloat, if you move to the Palisades! Unfortunately, I can't say the same if you locate in Malibu, because we, like so many others, have given up on finding what we want here, and have gone to the Palisades, or to Agoura and Westlake to dine and shop, and loving it, despite the drive!
Westside Mom December 30, 2012 at 08:26 AM
Todsy I said goodbye to our favorite waitress, the lady up front and the parking guys while fighting back tears. It has been like a sudden death for us. We cannot imagine not sitting in that dining room in those booths on a weekend morning. Our daughters have basically grown up there. I am glad we got to meet Marvin Saul shortly before his passing. That was sad enough! Today the restaurant was mobbed. I just wish these same people had not taken Juniors for granted. I don't know how I am going to tell my dad from Chicago it won't be there when he comes back to visit. He walked half a mile by himself for the lox. Please do not reopen in the Palisades, but keep the location close to the original. It won't be the same type of crowd that makes/ made Juniors so great. No offense, but you know it's true. And I agree about the comment about modernization. Not necessary. It would take away from the warmth the place has. I really liked the Julie's story above. That is what it is all about. I had a weird feeling something was wrong the other night when I noticed that some of the letters in the signage were not lit up. It was a sign.
Junior's got Scrooged December 31, 2012 at 05:15 AM
David what ever you do, to re-open in another location, make sure your landlord is not Persian. And if he is run like hell.

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