Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered

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signman
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2007/01/18 12:46:22 (permalink)

Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered

Just today I became aware of the fact that Wolfie's is slated for the wreckers ball sometime in the next 2 years. I hadn't seen this information posted previously. This will mean the loss of one of America's greatest deli's. Here's the scoop.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/16286410.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp


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    roossy90
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2007/01/18 14:08:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by signman

    Just today I became aware of the fact that Wolfie's is slated for the wreckers ball sometime in the next 2 years. I hadn't seen this information posted previously. This will mean the loss of one of America's greatest deli's. Here's the scoop.

    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/16286410.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp




    OH NO!
    Growing up in Miami, the Rascal House was a treat.
    I remember the little relish tray they would bring out.
    It had half sour pickles, coleslaw and something else.
    I know I would be full from eating all the pickles before getting my sandwich.
    They also had Wolfies on NE 163rd ST also if my memory serves me correctly!
    #2
    signman
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2007/01/19 00:03:31 (permalink)
    It was Corky's that was on NE 163rd.
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2007/01/19 15:38:08 (permalink)
    I am far from an expert on this type of cuisine, but I think the food at Wolfie Cohen's is pretty good. I had dinner and then breakfast the following morning there just this past year. But, I have to admit my favorite thing was the great sign out front.

    It is sad to see yet another longtime Roadfood establishment close.
    #4
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/02 08:41:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    I am far from an expert on this type of cuisine, but I think the food at Wolfie Cohen's is pretty good. I had dinner and then breakfast the following morning there just this past year. But, I have to admit my favorite thing was the great sign out front.

    It is sad to see yet another longtime Roadfood establishment close.


    Update: The closing is still in the offing, supposedly, but the two men who own the property are vague as to when it will actually occur.

    By the way, the old retro sign:



    ...is gone with the wind (hurricane Wilma).

    Here is the new version:



    Anyway, if you are travelling to this area, there is still time to dine at an old Miami Beach Jewish Deli.

    The new one in Boca Raton remains open. It is closed!
    #5
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/02 08:44:54 (permalink)
    I understand Wolfie's is now owned by Jerry's Deli out of LA.

    I went to Jerry's in South Beach in 2002, and Horrendous would be a compliment in describing my experience with the food.
    #6
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/02 08:47:15 (permalink)
    MiamiDon-
    Thanks for the update. Too bad about that wonderful sign, but at least the place is still open.....for now.
    #7
    brentk
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/02 09:11:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon
    The new one in Boca Raton remains open.


    Wolfie Cohen's closed in Boca Raton several years ago. Has it re-opened?
    #8
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/02 09:23:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by brentk

    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon
    The new one in Boca Raton remains open.


    Wolfie Cohen's closed in Boca Raton several years ago. Has it re-opened?


    You are right, sir! The web site still lists it as a location, but some digging in local food blogs indicated that it is actually closed. I don't get up to Boca very often.
    #9
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/02 09:29:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    I understand Wolfie's is now owned by Jerry's Deli out of LA.

    I went to Jerry's in South Beach in 2002, and Horrendous would be a compliment in describing my experience with the food.



    Excerpted from a news item:

    “Things change,’’ said Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman Edelcup. “We are creating a new, luxurious Sunny Isles Beach.’’

    The City Commission this month gave the restaurant’s owners, Jerry’s Famous Deli Inc., the go-ahead to level the existing one-story restaurant at 17190 Collins Ave. and build a 15-story mixed-use project that will include an Epicure market, office space and residential units.


    Now, mind you, we have a glut of condominium housing units in Greater Miami, so that may have delayed the closing. However, that may not apply to the North Beach area.

    Here is a link to a description of Jerry's Famous Deli Inc.:

    http://www.answers.com/topic/jerry-s-famous-deli-inc?cat=biz-fin

    Sounds like interstate corp swallows retro deli and does not know how or want to keep it going. I followed the link to the Jerry's Deli web site. Definitely too sanitized and corporate to be considered a Roadfood destination.
    #10
    roossy90
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/02 16:19:59 (permalink)
    That old sign sure did make me sigh.
    I had driven past that many many times on the way to NMB.........
    Having a nostaglia attack right now.
    #11
    Voyageur
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/15 00:24:31 (permalink)
    Was at the Rascal House on 12/20. Still good, but the current owners, Jerry's Famous Deli, were being certainly being dissed at the next table. They took away the free pickles!

    I liked Jerry's in LA. and am not the only one--the HBO series Entourage has used it as an "in place" setting in at least two episodes.

    Will do a logbook entry when have time.

    BTW,"We are creating a new, luxurious Sunny Isles Beach" means getting rid of all the poorer people. Sort of a demographic cleansing, if I may be crude. The Trump condo and hotel ads for his new multi-tower joint across the street call it "redefining Sunny Isles Beach."

    All but several of the family motels that used to line this shore for miles are gone and replaced by deluxe condos. The condos by the shore seem to sit mostly vacant held I guess by very part-time users or for investment--a very bad omen for the Rascal House.
    #12
    myterry2
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/15 05:54:53 (permalink)
    Rascal House was the all time classic...used to eat there in the 50's with my parents on vacation. My wife and I dined there late last year...it was nothing more than an overpriced dump
    #13
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/27 07:50:28 (permalink)
    The latest news:

    Starkman said the company hopes to decide in the next few months on a plan for Sunny Isles. It's likely to include closing down Rascal House and conducting a massive gut-rehab to convert it ino an Epicure Market.

    Epicure Market is a gourmet grocery store with a flower shop, cafe and coffee bar in South Beach. The Jerry's Deli owners bought it several years ago, and intend to create a chain of them.
    #14
    leethebard
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/27 07:54:55 (permalink)
    Ate at Wolfie's in the late 50's as a kid with my family. I seem to remember trays of pickles and such on the table you ate at...just a vague memory...was that ever the case?
    #15
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/27 09:42:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    Ate at Wolfie's in the late 50's as a kid with my family. I seem to remember trays of pickles and such on the table you ate at...just a vague memory...was that ever the case?


    Yes! They were known for the "free" pickles and stuff on the table.
    #16
    leethebard
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/01/27 09:43:25 (permalink)
    Thanks...Miamidon...You confirmed an old childhood memory. At least I know I'm not senile...yet
    #17
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/03/29 07:19:01 (permalink)
    The death watch is coming to a close. The Miami Herald reports today that Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House will close its doors for good on Sunday night.

    Article with photos and video:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/460/story/474623.html
    #18
    leethebard
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/03/29 08:26:40 (permalink)
    When I went to visit an Aunt and Uncle years ago,the place they took me to for lunch was wolfies.50 years later it still is in my memory. RIP, Wolfies!
    #19
    brentk
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/03/29 08:30:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon

    The death watch is coming to a close. The Miami Herald reports today that Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House will close its doors for good on Sunday night.



    Over the last few years, I have gone there whenever I was in the area, and always left disappointed. Now, at least, I will no longer have to torture myself.
    #20
    swirsk53
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/04/04 17:57:05 (permalink)
    This was in the NY Times ( Miami being a lost part of NYC) on 4/1/08 ( and I don't think it was April Fool's story):

    April 1, 2008
    Sunny Isles Beach Journal
    A Deli Destination, Now a Pastrami-Scented Memory
    By DAMIEN CAVE
    SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. — Elaine Rothman could hardly believe her eyes. Two construction workers tearing up one of Rascal House’s old red booths? The kitchen of her favorite deli being drilled to pieces? It was almost too much for a not-so-young lady in a hot-pink T-shirt to take.

    “People used to come here and have vacations and eat,” Mrs. Rothman said, staring at a fresh set of condominium towers across Collins Avenue at 172nd Street. “Now, it’s all big money, honey. You know what I’m talking about.”

    Jason Starkman knew. He and his family were the culprits, the rascals some might say, who decided that after 54 years, Rascal House had to close. And like a patient rabbi, he listened to Mrs. Rothman quietly, nodding, smiling, familiar with her complaints. After owning the restaurant for 11 years, he knew that all the kibitzing was just a form of saying goodbye.

    “We love it ourselves,” he said. “We waited until the last possible moment.”

    As it turns out, Mrs. Rothman’s assessment was just about right. The area where Wolfie Cohen opened Rascal House and his other long-gone deli restaurants is indeed a world away from its past.

    Rascal House’s reliable customer base, made up mainly of Jewish New Yorkers who came for the winter, has been shrinking for decades. Here and in Miami Beach a few miles south, roughly two-thirds of residents speak a language other than English at home, according to the 2000 census. And the younger newcomers — often from South America and Europe — have proved far less interested in items like pastrami or potato pancakes.

    Stir in a shrinking economy and you have what Mr. Starkman calls a need for “newer stuff.” He said he plans to open a second branch of Epicure, a gourmet market his family owns in South Beach, on the Rascal House site by September.

    Mrs. Rothman seemed unimpressed. “Epicure, I love the food, don’t get me wrong,” she said. “But this place — you can’t replace it.”

    On Sunday night, the final corned beef rolled out of the Rascal House kitchen. The “last supper,” as some patrons called it, brought a burst of lines and long waits reminiscent of the restaurant’s heyday.

    Monday felt more like a funeral.

    Mrs. Rothman was one of dozens who stopped by to stare in the windows through cupped hands or buy some small piece of the restaurant they loved.

    Demolition had begun. The city had selected a booth and decorations to keep for posterity. A half-dozen workers moved furniture, cut through equipment and discussed who would get the TVs.

    The red counter stools were empty. Wide plastic menus sold for $25 each. Platters once full of food cost $5.

    The restaurant’s more famous items were priced like antiques. That large photo of Jackie Gleason, young, arms wide, smiling on Miami Beach; it cost $2,500, according to the tag. The restaurant’s interior signs with the Rascal logo ran too high for Mrs. Rothman’s budget at $5,000 each. She said she had hoped to pay $500.

    Ken Joyce, 70, a law professor in Buffalo who always ordered the corned beef, said he was deciding whether to buy a board with a Damon Runyon quotation: “As I see it, there are two kinds of people in this world; people who love delis, and people you shouldn’t associate with.” It was $250, even though the “it” had fallen off.

    “This was the place that as soon as we got off the plane, we’d come here,” Mr. Joyce said. “I probably ate here three times in the last four days.”

    His face was sunburned. He was carrying a black-and-white plastic sign for parties of two, harking back to a time when waits for a table could last hours. At $50, he figured it was a good deal.

    His wife, Rita, 71, had already bought a few pictures and several platters. She said they would give many of the items to their son or other relatives.

    That seemed to be the trend.

    Those who came back on Monday seemed to be searching for more than knickknacks. Many were buying for relatives, part of fond Rascal House memories — long dinners, countless cups of coffee, the buzz of a restaurant that smells awake and alive at sunup.

    Mrs. Rothman, who was buying for her brother-in-law, Richie Weinstein, remembered happily waiting more than an hour for her party of 10 relatives to be seated.

    Mrs. Joyce said there were too many memories to count. “To me, it’s saying goodbye to my parents and my uncle’s generation,” she said. “They’re the ones who brought us here.”

    And on Monday, there seemed to be no going back. Mr. Starkman said that he would recreate some Rascal House items at the gourmet market, but that the local palate had moved on.

    Indeed, at one point, a man in a flowered shirt asked Mr. Starkman a simple question: “So is there anyplace to get something to eat around here?”

    Mr. Starkman smiled. “You like Peruvian food?”


    #21
    branedamag
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/04/07 11:02:57 (permalink)
    That really is a loss. I grew up in Miami and the Rascal House was the last decent deli in the area, although the quality definitely went down when ownership changed. I don't get down there as much as I used to, but I don't think there is anyplace like that left in Dade County. Maybe further up the coast.
    #22
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/04/07 11:48:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    When I went to visit an Aunt and Uncle years ago,the place they took me to for lunch was wolfies.50 years later it still is in my memory. RIP, Wolfies!


    LTB, Wolfie's and Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House were two different restaurants with the same owner. The "Wolfie's" place was on Collins Avenue at 21st Street, the Rascal House that just closed is a few miles north at 172nd Street in the Sunny Isles neighborhood.

    Here is a picture of the inside of Wolfie's that was on 21st:

    #23
    swirsk53
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/04/07 16:45:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon

    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    When I went to visit an Aunt and Uncle years ago,the place they took me to for lunch was wolfies.50 years later it still is in my memory. RIP, Wolfies!


    LTB, Wolfie's and Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House were two different restaurants with the same owner. The "Wolfie's" place was on Collins Avenue at 21st Street, the Rascal House that just closed is a few miles north at 172nd Street in the Sunny Isles neighborhood.

    Can you tell me how you paste in/add postcards to listings? I have a lot of old cards of restaurants etc and would like to know how you do this on the Forums.

    Here is a picture of the inside of Wolfie's that was on 21st:


    #24
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/04/08 07:21:47 (permalink)
    swirsk53 -

    Firstly, you must create a .jpg digital image of the postcard by using a scanner.

    Secondly, you must upload the newly scanned image to a place on the internet to which you can make a link when posting a message in the forums. Here are the instructions on how do do that:

    http://roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=21719

    Good luck, and welcome aboard.
    #25
    FredSox49
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/04/10 21:14:03 (permalink)
    We used to wait in line for an hour 25 years ago because the food was great and it was a unique dining experience. As noted by other posters, the quality fell so much under the new ownership that the lines were non-existant. The last few times we went for dessert only.

    Strange as it seems, we will miss the place, even though we had stopped eating there, because it is yet another piece of unique Americana going under the wrecking ball. I stopped by the Orange Bowl last month to take one last look at that too. I saw one game there (the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1988); it was a dump then but it still had a certain charm and history that can't be duplicated.
    #26
    philygirl
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/05/04 11:57:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon

    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    When I went to visit an Aunt and Uncle years ago,the place they took me to for lunch was wolfies.50 years later it still is in my memory. RIP, Wolfies!


    LTB, Wolfie's and Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House were two different restaurants with the same owner. The "Wolfie's" place was on Collins Avenue at 21st Street, the Rascal House that just closed is a few miles north at 172nd Street in the Sunny Isles neighborhood.

    Here is a picture of the inside of Wolfie's that was on 21st:




    We use to go to the Wolfie's on Collins Ave. all the time too. Now when we're down there, we go to Jerry's deli in So.Beach, but only for the pastrami sandwich, and even that's not the 'best' I've had. There use to be a Jewish Deli up in West Boca in the late 80's-early 90's that I loved going to. They had great sandwiches, cabbage soup, etc.(Even a dish on the table w/ pickles etc.) Then they closed too! Why do places we love close-up and only to be replaced with chain restaurants etc? Anyone in New York listening, we need some good "deli's"!
    #27
    phatphil
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/05/04 13:37:57 (permalink)
    there is a place in west boca on palmetto parka nd powerline called nestors, very authentic and a huge deli and prepared food and bakery counters too, i drool when i walk in
    #28
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/05/05 06:48:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by phatphil

    there is a place in west boca on palmetto parka nd powerline called nestors, very authentic and a huge deli and prepared food and bakery counters too, i drool when i walk in


    FYI, http://www.nestors-deli.com/
    #29
    OliverB
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    RE: Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Days Numbered 2008/05/17 09:05:46 (permalink)
    Not what it used to be for at least the past ten years or so.

    Last time I ate there, the waitress gave a big exaggerated sigh when I asked for a glass of water. " />
    #30
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