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Steven Spielberg’s Family Kosher Restaurant ‘The Milky Way’ Is Reopening

Spielberg Family Photo

Leah Spielberg Adler, known as Leelee, and her four children (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue Spielberg) Image by The Milky Way

When beloved Spielberg family restaurant The Milky Way went dark, in a closure that some thought was final, it was because of the death of restaurateur Leah Spielberg Adler, the five-foot-tall concert pianist, artist, and mother of four who died at 97, after four decades of being at The Milky Way’s helm.

But now the galaxy is bright again. The remaining members of the Spielberg family have decided to reopen and reimagine the restaurant, bringing in Phil Kastel as creative chef, to redesign a kosher dairy menu. “The Milky Way may be a kosher dairy restaurant, but it is also a New American Kosher restaurant,” said Kastel. “What will resonate with diners most is just how comforting the food here is.” New inclusions include the Impossible Cheeseburger, potato latkes and Adler’s original recipes for blintzes and cheesecake, not to mention kosher wine by the glass or the bottle.

The Milky Way

Image by The Milky Way

Memorabilia fills The Milky Way, with framed movie posters for Spielberg movies Big, E.T. and Above and Beyond lining the walls, alongside family photos for film buffs to scrutinize. A tribute video to Mrs. Adler will be playing in a corner, along with a selection of her favorite books and a rug converted from the restaurant’s former look. The restaurant has been redone in shades of blue, as a hat tip to the fact that Ms. Adler wore blue jeans before they were acceptable and before the 1950s, when they began to be manufactured for women.

When Spielberg won an Academy Award for Schindler’s List, he thanked his mother, calling her his “lucky charm.” Adler, in turn, was equally fond of her son, once telling “60 Minutes” in an interview that when people in her neighborhood chanted “The Spielbergs are dirty Jews,” Steven retaliated by putting peanut butter on their windows, “which I thought was marvelous,” she said.

“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,” said the Spielberg family in a released statement. “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 is located at 9108 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035 and will officially open on February 18, 2019. The restaurant will be closed on Friday nights and Saturdays in observance of Shabbat.

Shira Feder is a writer. She’s at [email protected] and @shirafeder

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