Bay Area-based Jewish deli opens in Culver City
By Sara Edwards
Along with their friend Leo Beckerman, brothers Evan and Ari Bloom’s restaurant enterprises started out with a smoker in their backyard in San Francisco where they would smoke pastrami on the weekends.
Growing up in San Francisco, they learned that there wasn’t really a Jewish deli around to enjoy the traditional foods they loved so much.
“We always had people over who tried our recipes at our little backyard parties and people were encouraging us to start a new business in San Francisco,” Evan said. “We saw this opportunity and did a pop-up for about a year.”
Evan earned a degree in environmental design at the University of California, Berkeley, so cooking was always a hobby and not something he was looking into doing for a career. But when he realized that there was business potential, the trio started to refine their recipes, sandwiches and soups until they created their first menu for a pop-up shop.
After starting out as a pop-up shop in 2011, Evan, Ari and Beckerman opened their first brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2012 at 22nd and Mission Street in San Francisco. Since then, they’ve expanded with eight locations, seven in California and one in Tokyo.
The restaurant trio opened its ninth location in Culver City on August 23. This will be the company’s first Southern California location and will pay homage to LA’s iconic delis through both the food it serves and the design of the restaurant.
“Culver City is an opportunity to be a new market in southern California,” Evan said. “As the neighborhood grows from a Jewish perspective, there isn’t anything like this in the area so it’s missing this type of food.”
At the Culver City location, customers are greeted with cubbies filled with homemade bagels with bread-lined shelves and a variety of condiments like hot sauces and mustards. The 1,900-square-foot space has indoor and patio seating, and creates a sense of nostalgia for those that walk in the door.
Creative director Danny Gonzales designed the Culver City location and has worked on several other Wise Sons projects. His design combines a clean, modern aesthetic and the familiar sense of nostalgia with a collection of framed family photos abstractly hung up on the walls, vintage-style pennants by Scott Richards to honor the family of L.A. delicatessens, and a colorful and chaotic deli mural scene by Berkeley-based illustrator Alexandra Bowman.
“We embraced the industrial feeling of the existing windows and built around it, creating the appearance of preexisting textures that lend to an Old World charm, yet twisted in modernity by a contemporary approach to art and music,” Gonzales said.
Over the past few years, Evan and his team have become widely known as leaders in a modern Jewish food movement. Evan said that while Wise Sons didn’t formally start this new food renaissance, it definitely was a part of the growth of bagel shops and delicatessens that LA and other parts of the country are seeing.
“I think people are appreciating Jewish food and are seeing it through a new lens,” Evan said. “There are a lot of restaurants opening with new takes on modern classics or bringing back food they grew up with by using different ingredients or techniques.”
Evan added, “When somebody walks in and smells corned beef, for so many Jewish Americans, it brings them back to their childhood and we love to provide that but we also want to provide something new and delicious at the same time.”
Wise Sons Culver City
9552 Washington Blvd.,
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. to
2 p.m. on weekends.