A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive.
A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford are among those ponying up to keep the restaurant alive, two individuals familiar with the transaction told Variety.
The group is close to securing a new home one block over for the Beverly Drive showbiz institution, in the space occupied by Wolfgang’s Steakhouse at 443 N. Canon Drive, the sources said. The deal is expected to close in April.
A rep for Azoff declined to comment. Reps for the Gerbers and Shell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The deli’s operators, Mark and David Mendelson who are grandsons of one of the eponymous founders, signaled they were looking to sell the building that the deli occupies last February. The men reportedly sought to sell the entire space to the Azoffs, who in turn brokered a deal to take the business instead.
News of Nate and Al’s potential demise disheartened many in the industry, with devoted customers like Larry King making public pleas for an investor to save it.
Nate Rimer and Al Mendelson met in Detroit, and shipped off to Los Angeles to open the deli’s doors in 1945. News of the new investment group was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Read the Nate n’ Al story:
Nate ‘n Al opened its doors in 1945, but the idea truly began more than 20 years earlier. Al Mendelson had moved from his native Russia to Toronto and eventually Detroit. It was there in a famous Motor City deli that he met his partner, Nate Rimer, and the idea of opening their very own deli was born. The two men set their sights on Southern California. Sunshine, movie stars and a bright future awaited them.
Once they arrived, Nate and Al opened the Beverly Hills location that held a mere 30 customers. Yet, despite its humble size, the deli began to grow big in name. Silver screen starlets. Directors. Producers and writers. They all began to make Nate ‘n Al a Hollywood hangout.
It was during this boom that Al expanded the restaurant to its present size. And while Nate would eventually leave the business, Al was surrounded by a strong family including his wife Terry, sons Barry and Sandy, and grandsons Mark and David who still operate Nate ‘n Al today. This dedication and strength of family has brought more notoriety but, most importantly, ensured the best tasting and most well prepared food for its customers.