A Popular L.A. Deli Is Coming to Santa Barbara

Exciting news for sandwich aficionados: Wexler’s Deli is joining the lineup at the Santa Barbara Public Market. It debuted in L.A.’s Grand Central Market in 2014 and quickly became an institution. A Santa Monica location followed in 2016, and then, earlier this year, an outpost opened at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas. From Jonathan Gold’s enthusiastic L.A. Times review:

Wexler’s is the only deli I know that actually makes its pastrami on-site: curing the beef belly, smearing it with a crumbly spice paste that includes black pepper and clove, smoking it at a low temperature and then steaming it to tenderness. It is hand-cut to order into thick, bulletproof slabs and layered evenly rather than manipulated into a girthy wedge.

The pastrami is perhaps less consistent than the high-quality industrial product places like Langer’s and Art’s tend to use—it can be crumbly at times—but when it is right, which has been almost all the time lately, it is superb: yielding, succulent and almost impossibly rich; natural contours of the meat curling into the soft bread; the subtle tang of mustard; hints of smoke, garlic and clove.

Founder Mike Kassar says that when the Public Market location opens later this year, we can expect “staples like the OG Pastrami Sandwich, Bagel and Lox, Reuben, and even a bagel that will only be served at the Public Market that has Santa Barbara sea urchin and wasabi caviar.” In the meantime, whet your appetite—literally and figuratively—by following Wexler’s on Instagram.


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Cool, but doubtful this town like giant meat sandwiches enough to keep this afloat.

Erik Torkells

Santa Barbara is a pretty meaty town, it seems to me. I eat much less meat than I used to, but when I do eat it, I want it to be good, and Wexler’s is famous for being excellent. Plus, I’ll be first line for the bagels and smoked fish.

This next part is for everyone, because there have been a bunch of comments like this lately.

Heaven knows I’m not the most positive person on the planet, but when a business announces its intention to open here, can we all try to be welcoming? Or at least keep any doubts to ourselves? I think we all want a supportive environment for new businesses—restaurants, in particular. Imagine how it feels when the first comment is from someone pooh-poohing their chances. Whenever I’m faced with writing about something that I’m personally not into, I try to remind myself that every small business is someone’s dream. And just because it’s not my thing doesn’t mean that many other people won’t be excited about it.


Agree 100%! Kudos to those that take the risks to bring us new and delicious dining options. As a former small business owner, operating in this town can be a challenge even without negative public comments. Excited to try this new option!

Sue Twining

You said it all. The Public Market has worked hard to bring diverse options for everyone from the single crowd enjoying tapas, families wanting an all in one stop dining, date night before a movie, now a deli that’s going to smash the market. My mouth was watering just looking at those sandwiches.


What I have learned in retail is to sell what the customer wants- and that might just be the one thing I hadn’t thought of or passed on


Absolutely. I don’t understand this negativity coming from a place so many like to call ‘paradise’. Public Market should have a deli like this

Mark macGillvray

Before you condemn any new business stop in and give it a try. You might be surprised!


“…every small business is someone’s dream” – LOVE this, Erik! Let’s all support the dreams of others!


I don’t know what Caitlin is thinking (also hate lame Debbie downers) This going to crush it! Perfect addition to the public market. I really hope they make their own bagels. Also hope they have enough space.


“(also hate lame Debbie downers)”

In the spirit of Erik’s comment “I think we all want a supportive environment” perhaps we should try not to resort to name-calling commenters we simply disagree with.

Wexler’s Deli

Thanks for the love Erik! We’re so excited to be part of the Santa Barbara community, and can’t wait to bring our house-smoked hand-sliced pastrami and lox to Public Market! Santa Barbara Ahmad always been my favorite La getaway. I actually got married there. I love everything about it. Look forward to seeing you all soon!
Love and Lox,
Mike Kassar


I do not eat red meat. Any turkey pastrami?
Matzo Ball Soup? B& W cookies, and my favorite Kasha knishes.

When will you be opening? I’ll be there.

Kevyn Falvey

I wouldn’t worry. There are plenty of old Jews and Jewphiles like me in town who will be lining up for this grub.

Becca B

Welcome to great pastrami sandwiches. Grew up eating at restaurants like the 2nd Avenue Deli and Katz in NYC. No longer living in SB but will surely go to Wexler when I visit. Sounds delicious, can’t wait!????


There are many home grown options in town for great pastrami, like 3 pickles. I’m sure there is enough market for a traditional deli style since Norton’s seems to have lost their way over the years.


I’m sure my husband will love this restaurant as he loves Pastrami. We eat at Norton’s frequently and both enjoy it a lot.
I don’t tolerate pepper well, so I always get their great corned beef sandwich.
Wish this new place would also offer corned beef.

Sam Tababa

What this town could really use are real, properly made, (edible) bagels and a real, honest-to-goodness kosher deli. Heck, I’d take a Norm’s over anything currently operating here! So in my opinion, Wexler’s is going to do well as there are NO decent/good delicatessens anywhere near us. This is a town after all that thinks Jack’s offers an edible bagel and Three Pickle’s a proper sandwich… Neither of those establishments would last a week in LA, SF or NYC. As for Norton’s ? Sysco…


Norton’s can’t hold a candle to a real east coast deli. I’ve thrown 2 of their sammies in the trash, they were gross and not good


Perfect..another LA business comes in and puts a local out of business and all people care about is a sandwich. SMH..so sad. I miss my town.

Eric T

I tried a pastrami sandwich at Norton’s and ended up throwing it out. One bite – greasy, horrible. Can’t wait for Wexlers and a true jewish deli.


Yes please! Very excited about Wexler’s Deli coming to town. An excellent pastrami sandwich is my guilty pleasure.


Bring ???????? it ???????? on!!! I am thrilled by this announcement. They can’t open soon enough. I want this for lunch right ???????? now ❤️❤️❤️


I and my Brooklyn-born husband will be there as soon as they’re open. I love meat. And I agree with Erik that this is actually, ironically, a very meat loving town. I’d kill for some more salad joints?! I think we’ve heard that comment echoed a lot. But meat seems to sell well here and we’re excited for this particular addition!


So stoked about this news. Like others have mentioned, basically nobody (especially in SB) makes their own pastrami. I am pretty sure this included Norton’s as well. So it’s no different going to any sandwich shop buying pre-cured meat in bulk and just using a deli slicer on them. I can’t wait for Wexler’s to open up!


So many great restaurants have closed :(
RIP: Cubaneo, Embermill, Brazil Arts Cafe, the Crepe Cafe, Patxi’s, Noemi….


I think there are enough NY transplants in Santa Barbara to keep this excellent looking biz in biz.



Didn’t grow up in NY and love hot pastrami sandwiches. Langer’s and Canter’s were my fave growing up in LA.

Drew Hart

It is fabulous to learn that these people are bringing their very good act to town. I’m many things – given my past in New York and Santa Monica – but this was the first place I lived that has had no vague resemblance of a legitimate deli. For years now, I have depended on Brent’s in Westlake – 50 miles from here – for my fix. Once I met its owner in the men’s room there, and told him to open a branch in Santa Barbara. He rolled his eyes and said: “No thank you!” Well too bad, but am pleased that I’ll be able to thank Wexler’s —

Jerry Shalhoob

Welcome Wexler’s to the Public Market !
It will be a great addition to the Market, the Public Market just keeps getting better since the new owners have taken over !

janice lea ristow

All they have to do is add a similar quality veggie sandwich for me and then there will be something for everyone. Or, I’ll bring my home grown micro greens to put on top. Mostly, I loved that someone wrote, “every new business is someone’s dream.” Time to celebrate everything that we can.


Wexler’s is soooo delicious and this is such great news! Can’t wait for this to open!!!


Born and raised in SB, love pastrami, cannot wait to try this place out! Welcome!

Alan Glink

Hurry and open in Santa Barbara. Tired of driving to Brent’s to nosh.