After stopping dinner service in January, it seemed possible that chef Aaron London's casual counter-service spot AL's Deli was going to return with a new nighttime concept. But now it's gone for good.
AL's Deli has fully closed, and just served its last lunches on Sunday, March 7, as Eater is reporting. London says that the volume at the restaurant never reached the 1,500 or so customers per day that would have made that model feasible — he tells Eater the place was averaging just 200-300 per day.
This is sad, sad news for fans of London's chicken shawarma, beef brisket, Mediterranean salads and potato latke "hot pockets." And it means that the once-known-as-cursed space at 598 Guerrero Street is back to maybe being cursed — prior to the successful eight-year run of Yuzuki that ended a year ago next week, the high-ceilinged corner space was home to a string of short-lived concepts.
But, ultimately, London says that he thinks the menu at AL's Deli wasn't straightforward enough for mass appeal — and items like his falafel corn dogs just never took off. He also cites, as the final nail in the coffin, the cancellation of all of his corporate catering orders in the last week due to coronavirus panic. The daytime corporate catering business had been helping keep AL's Deli afloat, and margins are too slim these days.
London still has his popular AL's Place — the smaller, casual-ish fine dining spot that was named Bon Appetit's best new restaurant in the country back in 2015. And perhaps his fans there are just more eager to try new things than those who come to a counter-service spot.