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Beloved Junior's Deli Forced to Close After 53 Years

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Westwood's cherished Junior's Deli has revealed they will be closing their doors at 5 p.m. on Monday, December 31, thanks to a rent dispute that is forcing them to shut down the restaurant.

Owned and operated by brothers John and David Saul, Junior's was first opened in 1959 by their father, Marvin, whose nickname was Junior, notes the L.A. Times. The deli beloved by Angelenos--including many celebs--was initially located on Pico Boulevard, but has been at 2379 Westwood Boulevard in Westwood since 1967. There the Sauls also operate a bakery and a catering business.

Junior's is known for their traditional Jewish fare, like deli meat sandwiches, matzoh ball soup (aka "Jewish Penicillin"), and pastries like Rugelach and cookies. With an eye on the modern diet, Junior's has on their menu a vegetarian "chopped liver," as well as sugar-free and gluten-free baked goods.

"There are a few great delis in the greater Los Angeles area. This is definitely one of them," lauds one fan on Yelp.

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Among Junior's longtime fans is veteran filmmaker Mel Brooks, who said of Marvin Saul upon his death in 2011: "He was really an incredible host. It's a great big restaurant, but he'd treat it like his own dining room at home."

Employees, many of whom have been working at the deli for 20 to 30 years or more, learned Wednesday that these were the last days of Junior's as they know it.

The Times explains the real estate predicament of Junior's:

Each year from 1971 on, Marvin Saul hammered out a rental agreement with Beverly Hills-based landlord Four Corners Investments. But just over a year ago he died at 82. Negotiations this year between Four Corners and the sons broke down over a proposed rise in the rent, David Saul said. "They want a number that we can't give, and they're not willing to bend," he said.

The Sauls are opting to close up shop, but vow to re-open at a new location, with a 21st Century upgrade, as soon as possible.