Kid Hit Menu Items: While not its signature dish, Langer’s happens to be for us L.A.’s reigning champ of crinkle-cut fries. Plus outstanding matzo ball soup (one of the city’s best), pickles, and other traditional Jewish deli foods.
Adult Perks: Why mess around? Most of us are there for the #19. Or however way you like your world famous pastrami. For women who plan to give birth at Good Samaritan Hospital nearby, I politely suggest you have one of these ready. This beloved sandwich has proved restorative and essential.
Pros: It’s a deli! Big, loud, lively, friendly, familiar and forgiving. Booth surfaces and hard terrazzo floors wipe up easily. Curbside delivery is offered for to-go orders for all those Downtown business types, but this service is super helpful if you have kids in the car, too. Soup is packaged in glass Ball jars, in case you’re worried about plastics.
Cons: On Saturdays the line snakes down the street. The last time we tried to go as a family, I skipped it entirely because waiting in that queue on a hot afternoon with a wandering toddler seemed anything but fun. (At least we were in separate cars so I wasn’t the total killjoy.) Hours are limited to daytime only.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Other Tidbits: As I’ve mentioned before, delis are especially low-hanging fruit on the tree of family restaurants. But Langer’s isn’t your average Jewish American restaurant. And yet, what you see at 7th and Alvarado tells us so much about past and present. For children who might not be familiar with the area, it’s bound to be exciting and memorable, even if they can’t paddle boat on MacArthur Park lake like we did as kids. Langer’s is a living embodiment and history lesson about Los Angeles, urban America, shifting demographics, and storied delis in general. (It’s also a family favorite of Heather John, a past Taster Tots interviewee.) But if they just want to stare at the spinning mirrored dessert case in anticipation of what’s to come after the sandwich plates get cleared, that’s just as well.
704 S. Alvarado St.; MacArthur Park/Westlake
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.