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Inside Milky Way, the Spielberg Family’s Classic Kosher Restaurant

PIco-Robertson’s the Milky Way carries on the long legacy of Leah Adler

milky way
Cajun pacific snapper at the Milky Way
Wonho Frank Lee

One of Los Angeles’ most iconic Kosher restaurants, Pico-Robertson’s the Milky Way, is back.

The Jewish dining community got a jolt nearly two years ago with the news that longtime restaurant owner and Spielberg family matriarch Leah Adler had died. Adler lived a long and fruitful 97 years, but her missing presence as a fixture on the block, working the room at the Milky Way and often dancing between the tables during service, had left a hole in the close-knit cross-section of the city ever since.

Now the Spielberg family has revived Adler’s memory with the reopening of the restaurant she ran for 40 years with husband Bernie. The homey restaurant has been undergoing an extensive overhaul both in menu and design for many months now, but is back and more charming than ever. From the framed family photographs to the movie posters headlined by Adler’s son director Steven Spielberg, dining inside really feels like stepping into Adler’s own kitchen.

“Our mom had a gypsy spirit that was larger than life itself,” says the Spielberg family in a coordinated statement, “with an unstoppable energy and a fiery confidence that was reflected in the halls of The Milky Way.”

milky way
The front lounge area
Wonho Frank Lee

Incoming chef Phil Kastel of PK&J Hospitality (The Grill on the Alley, Public School) is leading the restaurant’s charge into 2019, flipping some dishes while keeping on plenty of classics like Adler’s own cheesecake. There’s an Impossible Burger on the menu now, eggplant parmesan and trout amandine for dinner, and a speedier service model to appease both the power lunch set and lingering evening diners.

The bar up front has been made functional for beer and wine after decades of non-use, and the brick and wood interior has been opened up to sunlight and brand new booths. Collected ephemera from the Adler and Spielberg families line bookshelves throughout the 2,600 square foot space.

The Milky Way returns to the public eye on Monday, February 18, keeping daytime hours from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Milky Way will observe Shabbat and remain closed for dinner on Friday and all day Saturday.

The Milky Way. 9108 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.

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Near the bar
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Charming booths
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A completely redone interior
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Keeping it in the family
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Bar seating
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Some sun and greenery
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Throwback photos
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Movie posters on the walls
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Iconic
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Homey touches
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Ahi tuna burger
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Classic latkes
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Trout amandine
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Traditional apple pie
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Cheese blintzes
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Traditional cheesecake
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The new look
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