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Johnnie’s Pastrami – Culver City (Los Angeles)

  • s

This was a wandering trip during my personal time in LA for me this past week and as usual wandering pays off.

I was looking for a hearty lunch, not chili or stew hearty, but sandwich or burrito hearty. I’m driving down Sepulveda from the LAX airport hotels where I normally stay when I spy Johnnie’s Pastrami. Definitely looked like it had been there a long time, turns out since 1952.

There is a small outdoor seating area around a gas firepit, but it is packed, so being a single diner, I head into Johnnie’s and sit at one of the counter stools. Inside is not large either; I guess 6-8 booths and 6 counter stools.

As soon as I sit down I’m greeted by “hey honey, can I get you something to drink?” Sure ice tea it is.

The cook is going nuts stacking large tins of thinly sliced pastrami & corned beef over the steam vents to keep it warm and moist.

When an order comes up, he would take the bun off the grill, and stuff tong full after tong full of pastrami or corned beef into a sliced 6” hoagie roll.

Looked too good so I order the pastrami.

A bowl of big chunks of pickles is served while you wait for your meal. Not bad, not overly sweet.

My lunch plate comes with fries and the sandwich. Fries are ok, sandwich is very good and I say this after being at Katz’ in New York City the weekend before. Sure Katz’ is better, but Johnnie’s was a really good sandwich, very different from a New York City pastrami.

My “hey honey” waitress is proceeding to make a young boy blush by pinching his cheek saying how cute he is, the husband and wife are laughing and ribbing their son. I lean over to the husband and say, “I wish I would get that kind of attention” he laughs and asks if I’m enjoying the sandwich. Sure I am. He states that this is a local icon and everytime his family is in town they eat at Johnnie’s. We chat some more about local BBQ joints. A nice way to end the meal.

Johnnie’s Pastrami
4017 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA
310.397.6654

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  1. Some swear that the affliiated Johnnie's on Adams just east of Crenshaw is even better. Since I'm not so hot on pastrami I don't have an opinion. That location has also been open around half a century or so, same ownership.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gj

      I didn't know this, thank you. I go to the one on adams all the time, since I live relatively close by. I have never tried the one in west LA, but I see it every time I go to tito's and have wondered.

    2. I'm a So Cal native, but only recently was turned on to this place. I've been once so far and agree with your positive review.

      Next time, be sure and get the "au jus" dipping sauce (amazingly hot, greasy and delish) and ask for the spicy brown mustard - you have to ask for it, they don't bring it automatically.

      1. Their onion rings are great too.

        1. LOVE THIS PLACE! its one of those -ughh- the 405 FWY is backed up and is officially at parking lot status,so get off at the Venice/Washington exits head towards Washington Place and turn on to Sepulveda - its right there... stop and eat kind of place.

          sit near the fire pits or if you sit inside - each of the booths have little tabletop juke boxes... such a throw back.

          i love their corned beef sandwiches with a slice of cheese and their fried shrimp sandwich (comes with lettuce leaves and tomatoes) on a french roll - is absolutely my fav... gotta ask for the mayo on the side though - something about the fried shrimps (crispy on the outside and tender on the inside) and mayo- so decadent. I always get a friend to split the sandwiches and trade...so i can have both tastes and go home happy!

          split some onion rings and chili cheese fries and get your self a coke float to finish...

          1. LOVE it too and I have to mention, they are one of the few OPEN LATE great places in L.A.!

            --Dommy!