Legacy Businesses Based in Los Angeles
You may be asking, who are we to be writing a blog post on L.A.-based Institutions.
Well, we are L.A.'s Original Beef Jerky Company since 1929.
We bring the old school to the new school. Our jerky is handcrafted in a family tradition that spans four generations and 90+ years in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. A tradition built on quality ingredients and a handmade process that delivers a better-quality, better-tasting, better-for-you jerky. Small batch, artisan-quality beef jerky delivered directly to your door.
Our promise is to deliver a real, handcrafted product with an enduring legacy made for those who appreciate things made with purpose. Our rich history and longevity cement our position as an L.A. institution. We are a family business and wear it proudly.
Being a fourth-generation, family-owned business, we thought to ourselves, "who else has been operating in the same city as us for a few generations?" Which led us to research the rich history and diversity of other incredible businesses rooted in Los Angeles. After all, there's a reason why L.A. is defined as a cultural melting pot.
Compartes was first established over 70 years ago, in 1950, and has been a Los Angeles icon ever since. Its rich heritage was established by Mr. and Mrs. Compartes, who aimed to create European-style chocolate confections in their Brentwood home.
The Compartes' sold their chocolate company to the Grahm family after almost 50 years. Jonathon–the current Compartes chocolatier–began developing his own style of chocolates, all at the young age of 15. Similar to us, they believe in the principles of using the highest quality ingredients and making everything from scratch by hand the old-fashioned way.
Jonathan's vision was for Compartes chocolates to represent edible works of art. The Compartes experience is rooted in the commitment to each chocolate being made by hand into the most perfect flavor, texture, and visual experience.
Compartes is proud to be making their chocolate in Los Angeles, California after being in business for over 70 years. Grandparents are able to take their grandchildren to the specialty shop to shop the chocolates they remember eating as a child themselves. The shop is truly a gem that continues to push the boundaries of flavor combinations with their gourmet, handmade chocolates.
Phoenix Bakery was founded in 1938 by the Chan family. The idea was to create a gathering place for the community while producing traditional Chinese pastries and cookies that were hard to find locally. At the time, Chinatown was growing to be the gathering place for Chinese immigrants as the plazas with iconic architecture were opening.
Using generation-old recipes, the Chan family's first bakery highlighted their almond cookies. Founders F.C. Chan and his wife were proud to offer the treats to everyone. Eventually, F.C.'s brother Lun joined the bakery and their trademark fresh strawberry whipped cream cake became part of the offerings.
It wasn't until the 1970s that Phoenix Bakery became famous throughout Los Angeles for being a little Chinese bakery making a "not so Chinese" cake. With business flourishing in 1977, the Chan family moved from Chinatown's Central Plaza to a custom-built bakery on Broadway that remains their current location.
Today, members of the Chan family's third generation can be found in various roles at the bakery today alongside loyal employees that have helped the Phoenix Bakery family grow over the years.
Highland Park Bowl was first established in Highland Park in 1927. It originated during the peak of prohibition, and the building housed doctors offices, a pharmacy, a music store, and a recreation space.
Back then, patrons would obtain legal doctors notes for medical whiskey upstairs, and then head downstairs to fill the prescription. This allowed permissible boozing and bowling for the patrons. The music store acquired a live music permit in 1933 which fulfilled another spirited layer of culture into the destination.
Joseph Teresa–also known as "Mr.T" – purchased the building in 1966 and renamed it Mr. T's Bowl. The original design was concealed with dropped ceilings, wall coverings, and layers of paint in one massive overhaul. The bowling component of the building diminished over the decades and it evolved into a beloved music venue which hosted local artists of all genres.
Eventually the 1933 Group refurbished the bowling alley to its original facade and interior. They stripped away years of layers, refurbished the lanes, and discovered a treasure trove of items, which were refurbished, repurposed, and put on display.
Grand Central Market first opened over 100 years ago in 1917, and has been in continuous operation since.
In the 1920s, their ninety-plus vendors included multiple greengrocers, butchers, Jewish delis, and fishmongers. They also featured stalls selling baked goods, dry goods, cheese, coffee, flowers, and even one vendor who sold eggs exclusively. The market has continued to evolve ever since its opening, along with the rest of Downtown Los Angeles.
A successful developer and downtown visionary named Ira Yellin purchased Grand Central Market in 1984. Ira was an academic with an interest in urban planning and historic preservation. He passed away in 2002, but his vision for the market lives on through Adele Yellin.
Fugetsu-Do is a family-owned and operated confectionery store that first opened in Little Tokyo in 1903. Mochi (Japanese rice cakes) and Manju (sweet bean-filled rice cake) are the shop's staples. Fugetsu-Do is currently operated by Brian Kito (third-generation) and is located on East First Street, in the heart of the historic district of Little Tokyo.
Brian's grandfather, Seiichi Kito, was born in Central Japan and came to the United States in May 1903, and immediately went to East First Street district of Los Angeles, where he found other Japanese immigrants. The Japanese population only numbered 3,000, but by November, Seiichi started producing sweets and opened Fugetsu-Do with a couple of friends. Seiichi found himself managing Fugetsu-Do for the next 25 years and eventually passed it on to his son, Roy, who finally passed it on to Brian.
Galco's began as a small Italian grocery store in Los Angeles over 100 years ago and has been family-owned and operated since. Although the store's focus has narrowed down to soda pop and beer from around the world, they still maintain an Italian deli in the back of the retail store! They're known for their "Blockbuster" sandwiches, which are made fresh daily using ingredients from family-owned businesses.
John F. Nese found his passion for soda pop when he was just a child as his family friend owned a soda pop bottling plant that he loved visiting back in the 1950s. By 1995, John began increasing his assortment of sodas out of love and protest. Protest to the larger soda companies that were not offering the same prices as his larger competitors. He wanted to support other small businesses such as his own.
In addition to soda shelves, people are amazed to find a wide selection of craft beers (local, national and international) along with such alcoholic spirits as hard ciders, hard-to-find sakes, exotic wines, French champagnes, honey meads, and more.
And finally, conceived by John in 2013, the Soda Creation Station is where folks can craft their own unique soda in a few easy steps. With more than 100 syrups to choose from, there are millions of carbonated possibilities to create.
A lot has changed since 1929. How we make jerky has not.
In 1929, John Bianchetti (1st generation) founded People's Choice with nothing more than a few dollars, a handful of family recipes, and an indomitable will to succeed. His vision was to build a neighborhood butcher shop that sold premium meats with honesty, hard work, and personal relationships.
Four generations later, that same vision has guided the evolution of the family business – from fathers and mothers to sons and daughters. Despite the passing of time, we've maintained a firm commitment to our founding principles.
We believe that simple ingredients and a handmade process consistently delivers better quality, better tasting, better-for-you jerky. It's a tradition you can taste in every bite. And now you can get it delivered directly to your door.
Small-batch artisan beef jerky made with purpose – from our family to yours.
Canter's has been serving up L.A.'s finest deli cuisine since 1931, and it's got the accolades to prove it. Voted the best pastrami by the L.A. Times and L.A. Weekly, Canter's takes pride in delivering the same amazing experience that keeps its guests returning over-and-over again over the decades.
Canter's Deli, located in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile District, is one of California's oldest delis. Canter's Delicatessen is a family-run business with a third-generation owner who takes intense pride in their deli and work ethic.
The journey began back in 1924, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Ben Canter had owned a deli, which he lost in the 1929 stock market crash. Ben and his two brothers moved out to California with just $500 to their name. In 1931 they opened up Canter Brother's Delicatessen in Boyle Heights, California, the Jewish center of Los Angeles.
Eventually, Selma Udko (Ben Canter's daughter) and her then-husband, Harold Price, partnered with Ben and his wife to purchase a new location at 439 North Fairfax Avenue. Instead of calling it Canter Brother's Delicatessen, they named it Canter's Fairfax. Finally, in 1953 the team purchased the Esquire Theatre at 419 North Fairfax and moved Canter's Deli just up the street to its current location.
For over seventy-five years now, this third-generation family-owned business has served food to locals, tourists, and celebrities alike. With its Art Deco décor and its trademark autumn leaves ceiling, this hangout has hardly changed in its over half-century at its current location.
Philippe The Original was established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, making it one of the oldest (and best-known) restaurants in Southern California. Philippe claimed the distinction of having created the "French Dipped Sandwich" on accident. In 1918, Mathieu was making a sandwich for a policeman, and inadvertently dropped the sliced french roll into the roasting pan that was filled with juice still hot from the oven. The policeman said he would take the sandwich anyway, and was off. The next day he returned with friends asking for more dipped sandwiches. And so the French Dip was born. Named either because of Mathieu's French heritage, the French roll the sandwich was made on, or because the officer's name was French, the answer is lost in history.
The building that Moonlight Rollerway resides in was originally built in the 1940s and was used to make airplane parts for World War II. In February of 1956, the building reopened as Harry's Roller Rink. The skating floor is still the original maple flooring, all tongue and groove, no nails.
Dominic Cangelosi (the current owner) became an employee in the late 1960s, and has been playing organ at the rollerway ever since. Dom became the owner in 1985 and has maintained the architecture and ambiance to replicate that era. Moonlight Rollerway has been featured in various tv shows, movies, and music videos.
The Big Idea
We wear our history with pride, and it's evident these other L.A. institutions share the same beliefs.
It's important to support and honor these historical companies as they've become pillars of our community and make Los Angeles a culturally diverse and rich city.
Just as much as we love our family business, we also support and love these other businesses that have made enduring legacies. We also want to thank all of you (our loyal customers) for your continued business. You are the reason businesses like us are able to stay in business for so long.
We look forward to many more years of serving you all!
Know an L.A. business that we missed? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!