A little more on the trip to South Florida.
Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House, a South Florida institution for the past 54 years, closed at the end of March.
As the Times reported April 1:
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.”
Yes, we do. The Rascal House was several blocks south of where Mrs. Grieve and I usually stay in the area. Haven't been here since May 2007. Didn't get my last meal there. Didn't have it in me to see what's being done to the place right now.
The owners sold off just about everything, the Times reported:
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.
The Save the Deli blog did not react well to all this:
So here we have this great institution, shut down by the extremely wealthy Starkman family of Jerry’s Famous Deli fame, because it was:
a) not profitable
b) not in line with their corporate vision
c) in a prime spot of land where they wanted a condo
Some sixty five or so staff are now out of work, but the Starkman’s have the nerve to auction off chunks of the restaurant for ridiculous prices. These are the same people who charge $10 for a glass of orange juice down in South Beach. Now, they’re selling off menus for $25!!!! Photos for $2500???
Like the sign said “As I see it, there are two types of people in this world: people who love delis, and those you shouldn’t associate with.”
The Starkman’s bought Miami’s great delis and slowly bled them to death, selling off the real estate to developers or replacing them with Jerry’s Famous Deli (a deli in name only). So guess which type they are.