A few nice hotel booking websites list images I found:
Do you remember Wolfie’s, Rascal House or Pumperniks?
Image by MarkGregory007
Living in Florida for over 45 years, we occasionally visited Rascal House on Collins Avenue and Pumperniks on Hallandale Beach Boulevard. Our first visit to Rascal House was during the second week of May, 1970. I remember the date because we were on our honeymoon from Long Island, New York, and staying at the Desert Inn on Collins Avenue. One morning we took a short walk to Rascal House for lunch. It was amazing, a meal you can’t forget. In 1971 we moved permanently to Hollywood, Florida, and from that time forward these restaurants became part of our lives.
My favorite meal at Pumperniks and Rascal House was a hot Pastrami or Corn Beef sandwich on oversized slices of seeded Jewish Rye bread loaded with sauerkraut, topped with melted Swiss Cheese and seasoned with a thick spread of spicy mustard. Along with the sandwiches we devoured complimentary Kosher dill pickles, fresh coleslaw, sweet peppers, small sour tomatoes and delicious Cucumber salad, all served in shiny silver bowls. We also enjoyed the free bread rolls, salt sticks, tiny prune danishes and other goodies in a basket on the table. Boy, do I miss those days.
A good friend of mine who now lives in Aventura grew up in North Miami Beach. As a Jewish teenager growing up in Miami, he often ate breakfast at the Wolfie’s on Lincoln Road. It was there that he met the infamous organized crime figure Meyer Lansky who was also a resident of Miami Beach. He recalls that Mr. Lansky walked his pet dog outside Wolfie’s and once inside he sat at the counter near the back of the deli reading a newspaper. He often sat with Mr. Lansky and they would make small talk. He remembers that Mr. Lansky was soft spoken and encouraged him to try Wolfie’s "poached eggs and tomatoes." That, my friend says, "was Mr. Lansky’s favorite breakfast."
If you Google any of the restaurants you will find small tidbits of information and memories posted by people who lived in Florida or visited Florida when these establishments were open. I found a few newspaper articles that also talked about them. Below is a little information I gleaned from websites.
A LITTLE HISTORY FROM THE INTERNET (credit goes to the writer’s of the information, not me.)
Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House was a Jewish delicatessen at the intersection of 172nd Street and Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. It opened in 1954 and closed on March 30, 2008. Sporting a large neon sign in the front, the building was designed in the 1950s.
Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House was not the same as the original Wolfie’s, another famous Jewish deli and restaurant in Miami Beach, also started by Wolfie Cohen, on the corner of 21st Street and Collins Avenue (closer to South Beach)
For several years, Wolfie’s featured a sign that read "The only thing that needs to come dressed is our chickens!” (meaning dining was casual, not clothing optional). That restaurant closed in 2001. Cohen also founded a third Jewish deli, Pumpernik’s, at 67th Street and Collins Avenue, which also closed. (There was also one on Hallandale Beach Boulevard, Hallandale, Florida)
In 2005, Hurricane Wilma damaged both the original Rascal House sign and the building. The building was repaired and reopened but the old sign was torn down and replaced with a plain sign lower to the ground.
Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House location was converted to an Epicure Gourmet Market, owned by Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House’s parent company Jerry’s Famous Deli headquartered in Studio City, California. It opened in 2008. Originally, the Epicure Market was to be contained within a new condominium building on the location, but a downturn in the real estate market in the late 2000s (decade) put an end to the condominium project.
Rascal House had all the elements of a Jewish delicatessen, meaning a large selection of deli soups and sandwiches (typically listed on an oversized laminated menu), a bowl of cold pickles and a basket of assorted rolls for every table. While Rascal House’s featured dish was their classic stacked corned beef sandwich, they also served Jewish home cooking, such as Matzah brei, a breakfast meal consisting of strips of matzoh cooked like scrambled eggs.
BOOM and BUST
The boom years for Wolfie’s and all of Miami Beach’s deli-style eateries came after World War II when Jewish veterans and retirees, mostly from New York and the Northeast, flowed into Miami Beach by the thousands as permanent residents, snowbirds, and tourists. Then, lines of people often wound around the block waiting to get into Wolfie’s. So closely was Wolfie’s identified with Miami Beach that in 1959 Northeast Airlines chose it to cater meals for Miami-to-NY passengers; Lindy’s supplied delicacies to those flying south.
Wolfie’s was a 24-hour-a-day haven for the elderly living in kitchenless beachfront rooming houses (destined to be restored as art deco boutique hotels in the 1990s). It also attracted politicians looking for the liberal vote and visiting borscht-belt performers such as Milton Berle and Henny Youngman, as well as big and little gangsters and bookies with a yen for chicken livers, pastrami, and cheesecake. In the 1970s mobster Meyer Lansky, pursuing the simple life of a philosophical, Chevrolet-driving, book-borrowing library patron, was often spotted noshing in Wolfie’s.
By the mid-1980s, after the original Pumperniks closed (another Wolfie Cohen 1950s start-up), Wolfie’s was one of few, or perhaps the only, large-scale deli left on the South Beach. Pumperniks’ owner Charles Linksman attributed Wolfie’s survival to its proximity to theaters and boxing ring.
IN CLOSING – It would be nice if you posted a comment with your memories of these wonderful places.
Phone Box Art
Image by Alan Stanton
27 February 2013. Replica of traditional London phonebox repainted as art. Outside the Booking Office bar, of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
The hotel was originally The Midland Grand and part of the St Pancras Station building. A Grade 1 Listed Victorian building – architect George Gilbert Scott.
§ See where this picture was taken..
§ Stroll round the outside of the building with Google Street View.
§ This is possibly one of the exhibits from the British Telecom Artbox event in 2012.
§ Website for the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. We couldn’t afford to stay there. But there are some nice photos of the interiors.