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Ugly Drum pastrami
Photograph: Courtesy Ugly Drum

Ugly Drum might be L.A.’s best pastrami and it’s launching a delivery deli

Smorgasburg hit Ugly Drum starts its own delivery and pickup restaurant on Friday.

Stephanie Breijo

In a pastrami town like Los Angeles, everyone has their favorites, sure, but Erik Black just might make the best.

At the very least, his pop-up, Ugly Drum, turns out one of our favorite dishes: some of the city’s most succulent, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth slices that are cut to order and served piping hot and usually with nothing more than a slice of fresh bread and a smear of mustard. Though Ugly Drum is just a few years old—in its infancy compared to icons Langer’s and Canter’s—the pitmaster’s pastrami has already managed to carve out a space for itself through a weekly residency at Smorgasburg, regular appearances in Cofax’s breakfast burritos and a number of other collabs around town. This week, Ugly Drum finally gets its own home. Well, sort of.

Starting this Friday, Ugly Drum: Deli.Delivered. launches out of a La Brea ghost kitchen, and while Ugly Drum’s Smorgasburg menu mainly featured pastrami with pickles, mustard and slices of Bub and Grandma’s bread, the new delivery- and pickup-only operation will expand on this by leaning into more deli classics.

Expect caraway slaw, potato salad, new matzo ball soup made with double stock and dill, and even a new smoked turkey sandwich. Also new is the option for dessert (lime pie or double chocolate brownie), as well as cocktails: There’ll be eight-ounce containers of ready-made drinks such as horseradish vodka or a bloody Mary, plus beer and wine. On October 3, the new operation will launch breakfast sandwiches and anticipates further growing the menu over the next few months.

And as much as things change, when it comes to Ugly Drum, the best things stay the same: You’ll still be able to order pastrami by the pound ($30) as well as Ugly Drum’s “uglies,” the charred-to-a-perfect-crust pastrami burnt ends, of course served on Bub and Grandma’s and of course with a kosher pickle spear.

Find Ugly Drum’s new ghost deli on ChowNow, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, UberEats and through its official website, then order for delivery or pick up at 609 N La Brea (which is also home to Bludso’s Bar-&-Cue).

Ugly Drum: Deli.Delivered. launches Friday, September 18, with hours of 11:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday, and noon to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. 

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