It would not be an exaggeration to say that restauranteur Sami Othman was raised in a deli. From the age of ten, he worked at his father’s side at the family-owned deli in New York. A quick leaner and an extremely hard worker, he saved enough to open his own deli in 1977 at the age of 16. He acquired the property for his deli from his father. The property had previously been a real estate office that his father had shuttered. Sami named his first restaurant Aziz O Deli, after his father.
He proved to be a natural in the restaurant business. Six months later Sami was able to open several additional delis throughout Long Island, New York. His life changed on a trip to California in 1982. He fell in love with the promise of Los Angeles and decided to sell all of his delis in New York, except for two that he gave to his brothers. Sami and his wife, Maria, packed up their young family and drove cross country to California. He opened his first California deli in Pasadena. Other delis soon followed, including one in South Central Los Angeles.