Monday family and friends mourned the loss of Alan Canter, the owner of Canter’s Deli, at a service at Mount Sinai Memorial Parks. Canter, who passed away on Friday, was 82 years old.
His family posted this message on their Facebook page: “Our beloved owner, Alan Canter, has passed away at age 82. He kept his family legacy alive and built an LA landmark. He worked 18-hour shifts and took pride in hand-cutting each fruit cup. He taught his children how to run this business just as his father taught him. We are deeply saddened by this loss.”
Canter’s father, Ben Canter, founded the deli in 1931, in Boyle Heights, which was then the heart of L.A.’s Jewish community. In 1948 the deli opened on Fairfax.
According to LAist:
“In 1953, Canter’s moved up the block. The owners bought the Esquire Theater, known for showing Yiddish films, and transformed it into the restaurant we know today, at 419 N. Fairfax Ave. Settling into these larger, snazzier digs, Canter’s became one of the first 24-hour restaurants in the city.
Two years later, in 1961, Canter’s opened the Kibbitz Room, the next door cocktail lounge. It soon became a favorite hangout for rockers, along with the restaurant.
Back in the day, you might’ve spotted Frank Zappa, Nancy Sinatra, Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell and Jim Morrison there. Later, it attracted musicians like Fiona Apple, Courtney Love, Rick James, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns ‘n’ Roses. (Alan’s son, Marc Canter, has been a close friend since childhood of Saul Hudson, better known as Slash.”
“Despite his family’s loss, Marc Canter was busy at work at the restaurant on Saturday, helping customers and juggling phone calls. He took a moment to reflect on his father’s legacy.
“He had a big heart and good work habits and good morals. He ran an institution with 150 employees, 24 hours a day, and made a good name for us,” he said. “We’re a landmark and institution because of the hard years he put in.”
It’s been a challenging year for the Canter family. In December 2017, Co-owner Gary Canter died at the age of 58 of a heart attack.