Show 360, February 15, 2020: The Milky Way, Kosher Dairy Restaurant, Los Angeles Part Two

Phil Kastel of PK+J Hospitality GroupLeah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way.

In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) reimagined and reopened The Milky Way in February of 2019 with a new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined kosher menu.

“Bernie and Leah (Spielberg) Adler opened the doors to Milky Way restaurant in 1977. Their vision was to offer fine kosher food to the Jewish community at a time when such a thing didn’t exist in Los Angeles. Leah wanted to introduce interesting fare to many who had never tasted dishes like Cajun, Mexican, or Thai.”

“Shortly after opening, it was very apparent that the main attraction wasn’t just the food, but was Leah herself! With her unique and exuberant charm; independent and confident style, Leah had the ability to make every guest in the restaurant feel as if they were the most important. People came for the food, but they kept coming back for Leah!”

“Leah disdained being identified as a “kosher deli”! Yes, she served traditional Jewish dishes like blintzes and potato pancakes, but that was where the similarities ended. When Leah would greet each table, she would describe the daily specials with such animation that she would easily convince the table to try them. She was known for her love of classical music, art, denim and Cabernet Sauvignon wine.”

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Show 317, March 30, 2019: Executive Chef and Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel, The Milky Way, Los Angeles Part One

The Speilberg Family with the late Leah Spielberg Adler Leah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the larger-than-life proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way. In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) has reimagined and reopened The Milky Way (after an extensive renovation) with a fresh new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined menu of tasty kosher fare.

“Ms. Adler, whom friends and family alike referred to as “LeeLee,” was a concert pianist and an artist, and also a proud mom of four talented children – Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue Spielberg, a fact that was celebrated throughout the restaurant in the form of a memorabilia-filled room that became as much a salon as the perfect place to drop by for a plate of blintzes.”

“Our mom had a gypsy spirit that was larger than life itself, with an unstoppable energy and a fiery confidence that was reflected in the halls of The Milky Way,” said the Spielberg family in a joint statement. “LeeLee opened the restaurant with the vision of offering fine kosher food to the Jewish community in Los Angeles at a time when such a thing didn’t exist. Though her passing left a deep void in our hearts, we hope the new Milky Way will not only honor her memory, but also give back to the community she loved so deeply.”

“The Milky Way may be a kosher dairy restaurant, but it is also a New American Kosher restaurant,” said Chef Phil Kastel. “We wanted to create an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone, regardless of their faith or adherence to a specific dietary restriction. What will resonate with diners most is just how comforting the food here is – all the dishes on the new menu honor LeeLee and her unique tastes and are updated but true to her legacy at the same time.”

Executive & Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel of PK&J Hospitality Group is the Creative Chef at The Milky Way and is out guest.

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