Iconic Woodland Hills Deli No More


It was bad enough when we lost Solley’s years ago, but with the recent closing of Label’s Table the Woodland Hills restaurant scene, at least as far as traditional delis, is a little darker these days.The closing came as a surprise to those not paying attention to Woodland Hills News. Few remember that the restaurant started in the basin and expanded to a number of Valley locations before settling and operating in the strip mall bordering Woodland Hills and Calabasas.

The restaurant, home to some employees and customers for decades, served a lengthy traditional deli menu with high quality meats, sides, and fresh bakery products, including legendary chicken soup, the end-all cure all.

Owner Angelo Sospirato moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland in 1976, just to help out his father in law at the restaurant. About the closing, it was reported he said the eatery was just another victim of the confluence of rising rents and the changing tastes of a public who are more apt to opt for a fast casual experience, with a trend towards following niche diets such as the gluten free movement.

While back in the day, a traditional deli like Label’s had such a long menu, there was something to please everyone from 8 to 80, for any meal of the day.

The last time I wandered in there, I was just looking for something to go, and opted for a roast beef on rye and fries. The counterman asked me about toppings and condiments, and I eschewed them all, odd for me, a guy who has mustard on almost everything.

The sandwich was typical of Label’s servings, atypical for a Woodland Hills restaurant, too much food for some, perfect for me. The rye was fresh, soft, and flavorful, and was overstuffed with beautiful lean roast beef. I knew quickly that my decision to skip the condiments was a good one, I was able to more carefully savor each and every bite of the delicious beef.

The ample serving of thick cut fries was prepared perfectly, with a crispy bite and a fluffy interior, just the right amount of salt. I love finding sandwiches with real meat instead of the pressed, chopped, and formed, brine injection concoctions you find in most restaurants these days.

Opening the Label’s Table menu was like embarking on a food adventure. It started with juice and a dozen breakfast dishes, with too many sides to count. Your next step on the journey takes you through sandwiches, cold, grilled, and open-faced. Burgers of course, club sandwiches and dips.

If you made it that far, you’re all the way to platters and entrees, with old standards like chopped steak, fried shrimp, and liver and onions.

Curse you for closing, Label’s Table, but bless you for sticking around as long as you did and keeping our Woodland Hills bellies full.

There will probably be imitators down the line, but you will always be the original. Anything else that comes along, just won’t be Woodland Hills news.