Olsons Scandinavian Delicatessen on Pico Boulevard is attempting to raise $50,000 through the GoFundMe.com crowd-funding site to keep the restaurant open. The restaurant, which has been around for 71 years, is best known for its selection of Swedish sweets, sandwiches and for being one of the only places in town serving Swedish meatballs outside of Ikea.
“I really haven’t made any money off of this place in six years,” Olsons owner Christian Kneedler said. “I can’t afford to keep supporting it like I’ve been. Rent is too high. Labor is too high. Everything is expensive.”
Kneedler said the money would go toward upgrading equipment, including a freezer and refrigerator, more inventory to expand the menu, marketing and extended hours. Without the $50,000, Kneedler may have to cut the space in half or move to another location, which he notes will also require extra funds.
Kneedler, who has a full-time job managing Dan Tana’s Italian restaurant in West Hollywood, purchased the deli in 2013. He said he’s been using the money he makes from Dan Tana’s to float Olsons.
Kneedler moved to Los Angeles from Sweden in 1984 and has been going to Olsons ever since.
“When the owner wanted to retire, nobody wanted to buy it,” Kneedler said. “I didn’t want it to go away.”
Since taking over the deli, he’s given the restaurant a facelift and updated the menu. He’s also hoping to acquire a beer and wine license and open for brunch.
The restaurant has raised just under $2,000 in the first 24 hours of the fundraiser.
5660 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 938-0742, olsonsdeli.com.