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Meet the Maker: Norm Langer, Langer’s Deli


Langer's Deli
Langer’s Deli

To say that Langer’s Deli is a Los Angeles landmark would be an understatement. Founded by Al and Jean Langer as a 12-seat lunch counter in 1947, it proved to be so popular that over the years it’s expanded more than tenfold in size, becoming one of LA’s most renowned and venerable restaurants along the way, being named a James Beard American Classic as well as a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand honoree.

Al and Jean’s son, Norm Langer, can still be found at the restaurant on most days, and he’s become a beloved local fixture. We had the opportunity to chat with him over email; some responses have been lightly edited. From his legendary corned beef and pastrami to the world-famous #19 sandwich, it’s all shipping nationwide on Goldbelly!

Al Langer Langer’s Deli
Jean, Norm, and Al Langer with actress Jane Wyman in 1955 | Image courtesy Langer’s

What is the origin story of Langer’s?

Al and Jean Langer opened Langer’s in 1947 in a smaller footprint at our same location. There were two later expansions, and the final one in 1968 produced the deli you see today.

What do you believe sets it apart from the pack?

We have two James Beard Awards and a Bib Gourmand Michelin award for our pastrami. NO ONE else comes close. No one.

Why do you think Langer’s has been an LA favorite for such a long time?

Big portions, flavor, uniqueness, old-school service and a commitment to serve exactly the same quality as the day we opened – Al Langer’s philosophy.

Langer’s #19 Sandwich
Langer’s #19 Sandwich

What is it about the #19 Sandwich that has made it such an icon, in your opinion?

It’s the mix of the peppery pastrami with the tangy coleslaw, swiss cheese and Russian dressing. All on twice-baked rye that is crispy on the outside and warm soft inside. 

How has working with Goldbelly affected your business?

It was a dramatic improvement from day one, and helped us survive the insanity of the Covid era, no question.

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