Last course for Hillcrest landmark City Deli - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Last course for Hillcrest landmark City Deli

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A landmark restaurant in Hillcrest is serving up some of its last meals. The iconic City Delicatessen is closing down.

Inside the City Deli, things are pretty quiet these days. That's why Catherine Castaneda, who's been there a quarter of a century, is making some of her last rounds.

"Started in a different time, 24 years ago. It was the heyday, it was a lot of fun," she said.

For her it's not just a deli. It's home.

"Ending a job after that long… and the people here, the owners have been unusually kind, family-like," Catherine said.

Steve Drew and his wife Sandy came to City Deli when they first moved here. Then again, and again, and again.

"Everybody has his own breakfast place, favorite breakfast place, and this was ours," he said.

"It's just like a home place for us," Sandy said.

Owner Michael Wright remembers when he and his partner opened the joint in 1984. Through the years they've been known for their portions and home made pastries, and even a little politics in the Hillcrest neighborhood.

"We've been here through the AIDS epidemic. We've been here through hundreds of people protesting in front of our restaurant, telling us we're crazy," Michael said.

For them though, anyone and everyone were always welcome. But times have changed. Fast food is a killer. No one has time to sit and chomp down a sandwich, much less chat.

"They're not interested in socializing, let's meet at the Crest, let's meet at the Deli, let's have a chat. Not interested anymore," Michael said.

That's why Michael and Alan are saying goodbye after almost three decades.

"This was a place that brought all the community together. It was a place to meet up," Michael said.

They want people to remember this: food is meant to be shared with friends, easier to do in a diner than a drive-through.

"It's been wonderful," Michael said.

The good news is the new owners plan on keeping 95 percent of the staff. They plan on turning the City Deli into a Harvey Milk-themed restaurant.

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