Zucky’s Delicatessen

Zucky’s Deli was located out at the corner of Wilshire and 5th Street out in Santa Monica and as I write this, it still is. At least, the building is. It’s been empty since 1993 while the owners of the land and others who consider the place an example of significant historic decor discuss what to do with the place. This strikes me as an odd discussion. I don’t recall the architecture and design being that special and the food certainly wasn’t.

Opened in 1954 by Hy and Frederick Altman, it was named for Hy’s wife, whose maiden name was Wolfine Zuckerman. She was often called “Zucky,” as if it rhymed with “rookie.” I did not know that during the years I dined at Zucky’s but I know that now.

The main (for me, only) appeal of Zucky’s when I used to go there was that it was open 24 hours so it was a great location to take your date for ice cream or a snack after you took her to one of the movie theaters out on Third Street. It was also “the” place for breakfast and sometimes lunch for folks who worked in Santa Monica. It struck me as a restaurant that wasn’t very good but it drew a crowd for lack of alternatives. When better places to eat opened in the neighborhood, Zucky’s floundered. I have some fond memories of going there but because of the people I was with, not because of the business establishment.

107 Responses to Zucky’s Delicatessen

  • Tatiana Nagy Aka Tanya says:

    I worked at Zucky’s from 1978 thru 1985 – what a fabulous restaurant quality food and lots of wonderful people, worked in the deli, waitress, hostess, cashier & did banking. I still talk to a few people Angie, Gloria would love to hear from JoJo, Jimmy Peoples, Virginia, Mary, Teo, Ursula – I know Robin, Desta, Johanna and Norma have passed away (R.I.P.) Fred Altman was a great boss May he also R.I.P. So many people can’t remember names but what a ride it was – learned a lot.

  • Mark Alexander says:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger and his bodybuilding buddies were regular breakfast visitors at Zuckys. I am surprised he didnt buy the building when the restaurant closed he loved visiting there almost on a daily basis. He actually rented an apartment very close by with his long time friend Franco Colombo

  • Cornelia Merth says:

    In the ’60s, family went on Sundays. Loved the bagels & lox breakfast. Loved the bread & pastrami we would take home. The same man sold the Sunday LA Times, until he passed, then his grandson sold the paper. We knew everybody. Have such fond memories!

  • Dre says:

    Robin, haha I used to get the blintz there, as well. Lived in Samo 70’s, 80’s Good memories…4th, and Bicknell…remember roller skating, Venice Beach with Robin Williams, one of the Masters. Loved my years in Santa Monica !!!

  • Jeff Holtzman says:

    Our family went to Zucky’s on the weekends for breakfast. Must have been in the ’60’s. I was too young to know about the quality of the fare but it was just a treat to out for a meal. As I recall, Zucky’s was sort of a split level place with booths in an area raised above the floor.

  • jerry mezerow says:

    I would like to comment on the Brown Derby in Hollywood. Check out the movie “Nocturne.” George Raft gets into a fight with Bernie Hoffman in front of the restaurant, Look at this movie, It’s all about Hollywood. Photo studio on Sunset is where John Banner(Hogan;s Hero’s) is killed. I believe they also shot at the Ambassador Hotel and Actor’s Studio Apartments as well as RKO Studio where Lynn Bari is working in a film. In the opening of the film the man killed playing the piano, Edward Ashley was a neighbor of mine in West LA.

  • Robin says:

    I have the fondest of memories of Zucky’s Deli also from the ’50s. It was my family’s favorite stop for dinner when driving from Ventura to Vista near Escondido to visit my grandparents. I was always very hungry, it was later than usual for dinnertime. We would sit in a booth by the window and I would watch cars go by and wonder where the people were going. Though each time I would study the menu and ponder other choices I always settled on the cheese blintzes with strawberry jam. And I was never disappointed! Warm and soft, creamy-textured filling inside a lightly browned and barely crisp crepe wrapper. The strawberry jam, which we did not get at home, was so bright and cheery contrasted with a snowy mound of sour cream on the side. Thank you, Zucky’s for a dear and tender childhood memory and such great blintzes!

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