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  1. #1
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Default Rascal House Is Closing! (Update)

    ANOTHER ONE BITES THE BAGEL!

    Making the round of the blogosphere, the following news falls here today, sadly: Rascal House is closing and the reasons are despicable. Communities do need to evolve and I'm all for positive change, but not for completely wiping out history, especially at the expense of a few wealthy developers and snowbirds!

    Let me tell you something: in Madrid, there are restaurants that are hundreds -- not decades -- years old. Some have become touristy, some are still enjoyed by the locals and many still frequented by all. Do you think any Madrileño would stand up to having something that has withstood the test of time being torn down for the sake of newness? I don't think so. And it just goes to show: as represented by the greedy developers who are profiting from our proximity to the beach (otherwise they wouldn't even look at us, trust me), Miami is still a young town. A teenager, if you will, wanting to rebel against the frumpy grandparents of ehem, just yesterday.

    As the Herald reports:

    "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.
    So you can't be luxurious and still have a historical landmark deli around, can you? You can't remodel, refresh your menu a bit, incorporate something tried and true into your new structure, can you? It's the same baloney that closed Wolfie's in 2002!

    Lee Klein of Miami New Times Riptide couldn't have said it better:

    So shame on you, Ike and Jayson Starkman. And screw you, Whoreman Norman, Sunny Isles Beach Commissioners, and Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Goodbye pastrami sandwiches, stuffed cabbages, matzoh ball soups, blintzes, babkas, bountiful bowls of breads and pickles on the tables…
    So, for the record, Arnie and Richie's, Miami Beach's only remaining original deli, is still going strong and may it long rule as the only sovereign of pastrami!

    How do you feel about development vs. preservation?

    If you missed our discussion about Wolfie's, click here.

  2. #2
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Well, who's in a pickle now? I just called Rascal House to see when they were scheduled to close and the operater told me that the owners "have two years to figure out what they're going to do." When asked if this meant they might not be closing inspite of the news, I got the same answer.

    Let's hope they Trumpland doesn't trump a bucket of pickles!

  3. #3
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Well, Rascal House still hasn't closed. I had the best Reuben sandwich EVER there last week. Here are two photographs taken by Lenny Furman. That's your's truly (with the celebrity sunglasses) and my friend Shveckle.

    "As I see it there are two kinds of people in this world; people who love delis and people you shouldn't associate with."

    Photos via Lenny's Flickr.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  4. #4
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    I live just a block away from Rascal House... My life was spent eating breakfast there with my parents. Favorite spots were:

    Rascal House, Pumpernicks, Danny's or Wolfies....

    Those were the days...

    All the little danishes and cakes, I would just pig out on the basket. UMMM YUMMM.

    My daughters favorite thing to eat at the Rascal House is the Open Faced Ruben, Chicken Soup and Mashed Potatoes. I think she day dreams about it.

  5. #5
    Full Member zippyjet's Avatar
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    Please say it isn't so! :bug:


    I never thought the Rascal House would be another casualty of the greedy Trump empire and the standardization of Miami Beach! This is shocking and sad news to me. One of the main reasons I stay in Sunny Isles when I visit Miami Beach is to be close to the Rascal House. Is there any chance this is just a bad dream?
    Sadly, dining wise when in South Beach you see the same outside overpriced, over trendy restaurants with stupid one word names featuring clay models of their dining entries. It's almost laughable. The same pricey buckwheat and alfalfa sprouts garnishing sushi served by the same anorexic androgynous food servers with the loud hip hop music from hell. I'm glad South Beach is once again the place to be. I remember Lincoln Road Mall in the early 80's as an abandoned strip featuring dingy video arcades but, to lose a tradition of outstanding food such as the Rascal House demonstrates that our society has devolved into a prefab conveyor belt to mediocrity and overpriced conformity. I guess this isn't so left field; we managed to elect W to two terms as President. Sad sad sad! :-(

  6. #6
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hey y'all! I've heard various rumours about Rascal House NOT closing. But this morning, I went for a social media breakfast there and my colleagues told me the restaurant is scheduled to close in April. If you haven't had a chance to eat at Rascal House yet, I strongly suggest you do!

  7. #7
    Full Member zippyjet's Avatar
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    :ahhh:

    This is very sad to say the least. What's next? The closing and leveling of the Thunderbird? Can't the Rascal House move a few blocks up Collins to that funky ugly looking holdover corner restaurant which was vacant that has the quonsit red roof? Way way back in the day that weird 50's building had a deli named Juniors which was good but not in the league of the Rascal House. The place across from the Trump monstrosity, which gobbled up the real estate that held the Colonial Inn. Bocca is too much of a schlep for this tourist even for the Rascal House! Well, scratch Sunny Asiles. I'll stay closer to that other deli you listed above or just bite the bullet and eat at Jerry's Deli in South Beach. But, it won't be the same. Hopefully you, the citizens of North Miami Beach can rally for The Rascal House to stay open.

  8. #8
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi zippyjet ... I heard from another source that Rascal House was closing. I don't know who to believe anymore! Epicure (South Beach) also owns Rascal House and they are supposedly replacing the former with something more upscale (this condo will have ground-floor retail). I think people have done all they can ... PS, they also own Jerry's Deli.

  9. #9
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    The Rascal House may still be physically open, but the restaurant I rememeber has been closed for a long time.

    No longer do you get the free rolls with breakfast (they charge for them now). the menu has changed a lot and gone way up in price. As soon as the Jerry's people took over is basically became Jerry's with a different name. Sad to see the landmark go, but the old gal aint what she used to be.

  10. #10
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    They still serve the free rugelah and some kind of bread (they're not rolls, but rather cut in squares).

  11. #11
    Full Member zippyjet's Avatar
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    As of last August, the Rascal House still serves those great freshed rolls and Jewish style bread. I agree with an earlier replay that the RH prices have gone through the roof! All part of the George Bush economy and the fact that the Miami area as a whole has seen dramatic increases in the cost of living. However, when you compare this classic treasure to the trendy overpriced eateries in So Be, it's still great bang for your buck. The menu is still pretty much the same as I remembered from back in the day but higher prices. Appeteasers still listed! I e-mailed the Jerry's deli empire and my e-mail was undeliverable. Go figure.
    And, does anyone know if that ugly humped roof space across from Trump tower is still vacant? A great location for the RH to continue it's great tradition.

  12. #12
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi zippyjet, as I mentioned before, RH is owned by the same company that owns Jerry's & Epicure. If they had wanted to recreate/relocate RH they probably would've announced the move. I'm afraid it's a lost cause. I agree ... it is pricier these days but no worse than a SoBe eatery.

  13. #13
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    I just want to clarify the rolls thing so nobody gets confused/thinks I am horriffically misinformed:

    Yes, they so still serve free rolls with lunch and dinner, and I think if you order a "big" breakfast like eggs and waffles and whatnot. HOWEVER time was you could roll in there and order two pieces of toast and a coffee and get like four plates of cinnamon rolls and danish and all kinds of stuff for FREE. Now they charge for that. Is that justified? Yeah, probably. But it ruined the best breakfast deal in the city.

  14. #14
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Matt, hmm ... I was there about two weeks ago and they put free stuff on the table before we even ordered coffee. Ditto a year ago.

  15. #15
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Really? I was there, I don't know, about 6 months ago for breakfast and my check inlcuded this "Roll Charge" or something. This was at breakfast and all I'd ordered was a bagel. I'm sure this is making me look unbelievalbe cheap, since the charge was still minimal compared to the amout of food I got. Ok. I'm going to go there next week and see for myself. I hope you're right.

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    RIP Rascal House. The best Pastrami on the face of the earth. I've eaten at the Carnegie in NY. Canter's Deli in Los Angeles. A bunch of Jerry's Famous Deli's all over and I'll say this. Rascal House's Pastrami beats them all hands down. I've been told that it's the same as Epicure's Pastrami that they sell at Jerry's Famous. But it ain't. I'm going to miss that Pastrami. As for the rolls. They started up a roll charge a few years ago, when you ordered a "just a sandwich" or less. Rolls were still free with a meal. However even if you get just a sandwich, the roll charge sometimes appears on your bill and sometimes doesn't. I was last in South Florida in November 2007 and ate at the Rascal House. There were less roll choice. They didn't make the little rye, pumpernickle, and challah breads. Those were great with the Pastrami Platter. Just make a bunch of your own little sandwiches. I think because they are closing they are making less in the bakery. The breakfast sweet roll selection was lacking. Also the table garnishes didn't have the same sellection. None of those amazing cucumbers with the onions. Or pickled peppers. The other thing that has changed was the waitresses. Long gone are the original professional waitresses that really knew deli food. Good luck ordering a side of chicken fat with your chopped liver. I got the strangest look the last time I did that. Order an onion board with your breakfast...."A what?" they'll say. The old waitresses used to take pride in taking care of you. Those days are gone. But that said....The Rascal House should never be allowed to close. It just goes to show you that times have changed in Miami Beach, because there would have been old jews and deli lovers forming human chains to stop the place from being knocked down. They would have been writing their politicians and having them kicked out of office if they let some company knock down the Rascal House. I guess they are all gone now too, most likely from ordering too much extra chicken fat with their chopped liver.

  17. #17
    Gus
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    Hi, Dave, welcome to MiamiBeach411. Thanks for joining us and sharing your experience!

  18. #18
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing, Dave. For sure, that generation is gone but not forgotten.

  19. #19
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Well, it's official. Rascal House closed over the weekend.

    Quote from New York Times:

    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 [the owner] 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.
    Click here to read the full article.

    More from the Miami Herald:

    In late 2006, the Starkmans revealed a plan to turn the restaurant into a 15-story tower that would include an Epicure Market, office space and condos. Since then, the housing market slowdown has forced them to scrap everything but the Epicure. Condos are still a possibility down the road.

    The restaurant will be gutted, but the Epicure will keep the original kitchen and a few of the beloved recipes. It also will retain 35 of the restaurant's 100 employees, who were offered the opportunity to stay with Epicure or relocate to Jerry's Famous Deli in Miami Beach.

    Most of the Rascal House décor will go to the city of Sunny Isles Beach, which has taken to preserving the vestiges of its old identity. Some special requests will be honored, like the group of longtime diners who asked Starkman to carve out their corner booth.
    Full article here.

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    My friends L & K went on Sunday, their last day, for breakfast. Am waiting to hear their report!

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