Bed’s Deli, formerly at Ocean Park and 28th, has closed.
Founder and owner Gary Wallack said the landlord of the strip mall that housed the deli raised the rent to an untenable level, forcing him out, despite attempts at negotiation. He officially closed up shop on Oct. 31 and is in the process of clearing out the space.
Since the closing, Wallack said many customers have reached out – some in tears at the news – and shared how much they have enjoyed his food over the years.
“My customers were regular customers for years, daily customers,” he said. “I’m getting phone calls, text messages – every time a person comes to the door they can’t believe it because I’ve been an institution for so many years.”
Numerous google reviews called the deli a “gem,” noting the quality of the food and the affordable prices. Wallack said he has always strived to keep his prices low while also seeking out and using “only the finest ingredients.”
“I would go to the finest restaurants and find out what they use,” he said. “I was always trying to improve.” Sometimes, he acknowledged, to the extreme.
One time, he said a customer came in and told him he had found “the greatest frozen yogurt” at a spot in West Hollywood. Wallack went to try it for himself and, after concluding that it was in fact “the greatest,” he asked the store where they got it. When they refused to tell him, he said he returned the next morning at 5 a.m. and searched the trashcan in the alley to find a carton with the name of the supplier. Within the week, Bud’s Deli was selling the same kind.
Beyond frozen yogurt, Wallack said the deli made all of its food from scratch. He describes himself as a “foodie” and credits his parents and the restaurants they took him to as a kid with developing his love and appreciation for quality food.
“We would go to the Swiss Cafe in Beverly Hills, the Chasen’s restaurant, Brown Derby…” he said. “So we went to fine restaurants and my parents had a good palette.”
While Wallack said he will miss the deli, his long-time employees and his customers “dearly,” he doesn’t plan to re-open elsewhere. He said he has been working since he was 9 years old and is looking forward to being able to relax a little bit and take longer vacations without having to worry about the deli, but does want to find something restaurant-related to keep him occupied.
“Maybe help other restaurants during the day or something,” he said. “Since I succeeded for 40 years, if they’re not doing that good, maybe they’re buying wrong or whatever – I would like to do something like that.”