Gary Canter went to a game at Dodger Stadium on a recent Friday night and ran into a small problem.
“I wanted a pastrami sandwich, but I couldn’t get one,” he said.
That’s a mouthful, since Gary owns Canter’s Deli.
They have a concession stand on the field level near third base — a beautiful new facility added in 2008.
But come to find out, Levy Restaurants, which runs all the food-stuff at the stadium, has decided not to open that stand when attendance is down on that area of the park.
On the night Gary attended, he said the announced crowd was about 40,000, but he could tell that was a bit of an exaggeration. That tends to happen around Chavez Ravine.
What he’s not exaggerating about his frustration in a) finding one of his sandwiches and b) trying to get someone to develop a backup plan.
“There was an article in the New York Times recently that said, if you go to a Dodger game, have the Canter’s Fairfax sandwich (pastrami and corned beef), but not the Dodger Dog,” Gary said. “We’ve been trimming them beautifully. They’re coming out great. But where do you find them when they close the thing up?”
It’s not as if Gary can’t complain to those in charge. Dodgers CEO Dennis Manion called him the other day to bring lunch to his office. Gary says Dodgers GM Ned Colletti “is one of my best buddies.” Dodgers manager Joe Torre was at his iconic restaurant on Fairfax on Thursday night after a trip to the Hollywood Bowl.
“I see the seats empty in front (of the Canter’s stand at the stadium) so there’s not that much business,” Gary admits. “I know they raised the prices (on seats in that area). But we can do something about it. I can grill pastrami on any of the grills around there, put them in a long hot-dog bun, give ‘em to some hot gals and sell ‘em thoughout the stadium?”
As long as they’re hot. The sandwiches, more than the sales women.
“Why can’t we give the fans good food?” Gary asks.
We put in a call to Levy’s. We’re waiting to hear. Like waiting in line at one of their stands.
(Swear to whomever, I went to a game on Mother’s Day and got in line to get mom a dog at about 12:45 p.m. The stand was about 20 feet behind my seat. I didn’t get back to my seat until well after the first pitch, at 1:10 p.m. I gave the lady behind the counter — she was so small and slow, she couldn’t reach into the container to get any of the dogs out — a $100 bill in hoping I could break it for change. She handed me a $50 bill as change.)
A Canter’s corned beef or pastrami sandwich goes for $11 at the stadium. The Canter’s Fairfax special — corned beef and pastrami — is $11.50. The Hebrew National dog is $6.25, less than a buck more than the grilled Dodger Dog, but probably much more digestable.
If you go to Canter’s at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, you can get the Gary Canter’s Special: Pastrami, corned beef, turkey, ham and swiss, with cole slaw or potato salad: $15.95.
If you go to Dodger Stadium, you risk getting a confused look from the usually gregarious Gary Canter.
“I don’t know what the problem is,” Gary said. “I understand Levy is doing their job, but what they don’t understand is that they are depriving Dodger fans from enjoying a great pastrami or corned beef sandwich.”
And Gary, it’s OK to talk with your mouth full.