Famous in its day: Wolfie’s

Wilfred Cohen was an opener. He’d buy or start up a restaurant and once it became a success he would sell it for a nice profit. The former Catskills busboy came to Miami Beach around 1940 and bought Al’s Sandwich Shop on 23rd St. off Collins Ave., selling it after turning it into a popular spot “known coast to coast.”

Overstuffed sandwiches were his ticket. In a short ten years or so he opened and sold not only Al’s but four other restaurants, among them Wolfie’s at Collins and 21st St., which would become a landmark and continue until 2002. Wilfred “Wolfie” Cohen would keep just one of his restaurants, The Rascal House, located on motel row at 172nd St. Wolfie Cohen died in 1986 but his Rascal House survived until 2008.

In the end the original Wolfie’s at 21st Street became known as “the” Wolfie’s, but at one time there were at least two others of significance, a flashier Wolfie’s at Collins and Lincoln Rd. and another in North Miami Beach. Both closed around 1983. Whether Cohen was involved with all three is unclear but I am fairly sure that the Wolfie’s, original included, were backed by financial syndicates. There were also, at various times, Wolfie’s branches or franchises in St. Petersburg, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Cocoa Beach, and Jacksonville. Brooklyn NY’s Wolfie’s, though, was an entirely different operation.

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. That and tourism helped it get through the next decade, but a sense of decline was inescapable. The Beach’s population of Jewish retirees dropped dramatically, due to natural causes as well as a flight northward to Broward and Palm Beach counties to escape a perceived threat of crime and a cultural shift.

In its waning days Wolfie’s still managed to draw foreign and domestic tourists, such as moi, seeking vestiges of the old Miami Beach. I can’t remember what I ordered but I’m certain it wasn’t a Bowl of Sour Cream with Cottage Cheese ($4.75). I wasn’t quite in the “what’s a blintz?” category of so many patrons then, but close.

© Jan Whitaker, 2011


Filed under popular restaurants

252 responses to “Famous in its day: Wolfie’s

  1. meowomon

    Hi, does anyone have a recipe for Woolfie’s chicken livers? Not the pate, but livers and onions in a superb sauce. I had it back in the 90’s and have never forgotten them. So delicious!! Thanks.

  2. Lisa Smith

    Hi There!
    Does anyone know where we can find the most perfectly delicious tasting Pickles that Wolfie’s Sold!! My family and I are sitting reminiscing as we’re eating pickles, saying, “You can’t find the pickles like Wolfies had.”
    If anyone out there knows, please share!
    Thank you!!

  3. Bob

    My mother worked as a hostess at the Wolfies location shown in the photo above, in the late 1950’s. Her name was Edith Yankiver. Does anyone remember her? I used to eat there when she was working. I was around 12 yo. I have very fond memories of the matzo ball soup and the cheesecake.

    I was back in the area in the mid 1990’s and stopped by for a bowl of soup and some cheesecake. Both were just as I remembered. Great memories.

    • Seth

      Well, all, we seem to be going in circles here regarding Miami Beach and the great Jewish delis: First: largest collection of Greater Miami restaurant and club memorabilia in the country is right here in South Florida at The Bramson Archive, and second, if you are interested in Wolfie (one of my mentors in the F & B business) I suggest you read SUNSHINE, STONE CRABS and CHEESECAKE: The Story of Miami Beach as well as LOST RESTAURANTS OF MIAMI, both available from The Bramson Archive or on-line at amazon and other outlets. And to paraphrase the Arby’s commercials, “we have the memorabilia!”

      • Anonymous

        I’m not sure why you responded to my post to say that ”… we seem to be going in circles …”

        My message had nothing to do with the general history of the restaurant or any confusion that may exist there. I spoke only about my mother’s employment there and my personal experience. There’s certainly no confusion there.

      • Sharon

        Seth, any idea if any of the recipes from Wolfie Cohens restaurants are located somewhere? I have been searching for the Lemon Meringue pie among others. Thank you

      • Seth

        Hello, Sharon and happy New Year to you and all. My understanding was that Wolfie’s son-in-law, Norman Stampler, had the recipes, but Norman passed away several years ago, and, regretfully and unhappily, I don’t know where they are or if they still exist. Wish I did and that I could be more helpful.

      • Gary Lieber

        Seth , This maybe off topic but… Do you know what happened to American Fruit Proveyors in Miami Beach. The were located at
        730 First St
        Miami Beach Fla 33139

  4. Bronx Steve

    I can remember going to Wolfies back in the day. But cannot figure out how I wound up with all of these menus. They’re HUGE!

  5. jan cummins

    Does anyone remember a kosher deli near the 5th street gym, I think it may have been called Famous or Famous’s. I used to go to it when I was in college, maybe 1971 or 1972.

    • Tulasi-Priya

      There was a Kosher deli in the area, but I don’t remember the name. The Famous was a higher-end restaurant on Washington Ave. (6th Street) from the ’50s that became a drag bar in the late early/mid ’80s. Then it became a big hotspot called The Strand during the Miami Beach renaissance, where many celebrities and fashion designers were spotted. Many friends of mine worked there. I was friends with the owners and so was a fixture of the place.

    • Seth

      Jan: The Famous, 671 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, was never “a deli,” nor was it Kosher, but it was “Jewish-style”

  6. John Agnew

    I read that “the” Wolfies opened in 1954, but I have a clear memory of going there in the summer of ’53. Hot pastrami was always my choice.
    I was at Jackson Memorial in ’64 when Wolfies catered a wedding, Salmonella got in the food, many people sickened and several died. Big, big scandal. Never heard about the aftermath. (Live in Fort Myers since ’65)
    John A.

    • Wilfred “Wolfie” Cohen opened The Rascal House in 1954. It’s hard to pin down exactly when the first Wolfie’s opened, on Collins, but it could have been as early as 1940. By 1950, there were three Wolfie’s.

      All I could find about the salmonella cases was that a family sued Wolfie’s Restaurant, Inc. in 1964 after the death of their teen-aged daughter, who was one of six guests who got sick after eating catered sandwiches. Testing also found that 19 Wolfie’s employees were also sickened by salmonella.

  7. Pingback: Le contrebandier de l'espace qui mit un sandwich en orbite - Orbital Kitchen

  8. Pingback: Le contrebandier de l'espace qui emporta un sandwich pour son casse-croute - Orbital Kitchen

  9. Sharon

    Seth, are there any Wolfe Cohen restaurants left? Are there any recipe books from them? Thank you

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Good morning, all, and thank you, Sharon. While I have saved and preserved, here in The Bramson Archive, anything and everything Wolfie-related (as I have all Miami memorabilia and Floridiana, regretfully and unhappily, I don’t know of any recipe books that exist.although I think, somewhere in my Mario Talucci collection I might have one or two recipes. and wish I could offer more but, for the moment, I think that might be about it.

      • Sharon

        If you happen to come across the recipe for lemon meringue pie from Rascal House I would be ecstatic. Have never found one as delicious!

  10. Rhonda Gardner

    Rhonda gardneryrhonda@gmail.com work, live, and love Miami Beach — Wolfie’s, Rascal House, Jerry’s deli my home away from home Massachusetts and Boston Bauercrest hey IRA Golddaper hey what’s up lips?!

    • Chuck Pool

      Jerrys? Are you serious? Jerry’s Deli was terrible! Soon after they took over the Rascal House they ran the great Rascal House into the ground as their new owners. They didn’t last long either. After they ruined Rascal House they sold it and it was demilished.

    • Seth

      Rhonda, Chuck, friends: As the author of LOST RESTAURANTS OF MIAMI and 32 other books about the history of Florida, including 6 1/2 Miami Beach, having had Wolfie as one of my mentors and having known the fellows from Jerry’s, please allow me: Yes, they could have done a much better job with Wolfie’s (I knew Jason and his Dad well), and, indeed, it did not change for the better, but–and seriously–they actually improved Epicure Market (the late, great Lloyd Apple and I were the caterers there for five years before I went to Playboy Club Miami as GM). However, the building was not torn down. Used for other purposes after Rascal closed, it is still there.

      • Seth H. Bramson

        Sorry, I meant that Jason and Ike could have done a much better job with Rascal House. Long story for another time.

  11. Old School

    Used to work/live at The Kitchen Club in the old Seagull Hotel at 21st and Collins in 1989. Wolfie’s was a regular end of shift meetup chowdown when we were still flush with cash. We were the only people in there at 4am, and it was like our own little yiddisha neon palace. Everything was always delicious. Miss those days. Miss Wolfies. Blintzes and Cheesecake Forever!

    • Seth H. Bramson

      All: As always appreciate the comments, but wanted to let you know that our newest book, LOST RESTAURANTS of MIAMI has been published by Arcadia and The History Press. It is a wonderful look at the restaurants and clubs of Greater Miami, from Homestead to Aventura and Miami Beach west to Hialeah, Opa Locka, Miami Lakes and Coral Gables, and, of course, are favorite delis are therein. With glossy, full color, heavy stock covers, 121 photos and 144 pages, I know you will, if you live in or vacationed in South Florida, love it. Please stay safe all and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

  12. Anonymous

    Omg I used to work in both Wolfe’s restaurant back in 1977 to 79. It was a booming back in the days the lines ups. I was 21 years old and I hit it off real nice with the older ladies that worked there. I was fast as speedier Gonzales that was name they gave me. It was was a great place. Burning was my manager and the owners were fantastic. I got pregnant and worked till 7th month pregnancy. They gave me an unforgettable baby shower. Too bad they closed. New Yorkers used to come down for cheese cake. They were famous for that. I still have menu signed by staff that worked there and the owners. Many thank you for all

    • Sharon

      Any chance you or anyone else knows their lemon meringue pie recipe? It was the best ever!

    • Jeffrey C Stephens

      Anonymous, I began grad school at U of M summer of 1977. As a struggling student I ate breakfast at the Rascal House a LOT. Would fill up on the free pastries and rolls. I loved that place. A group of us would eat early dinner at a place called Marshall Majors in Coral Gables which was another favorite of mine.

  13. Jenelle Bahan

    Jenelle Bahan took the night time picture of Wolfies on 21st and collins Ave in 1990s. The picture was taken from across the street almost directly in front of door. The picture is still in my possession.

    • It’s a wonderful photograph and the photographer — you — deserves recognition!

      • Jenelle Bahan

        Have a rare photo of wolfies 1990 photo of what appears to be a MB police car appearing to drive into wolfies. Have picture of the 21st theater across the street an the gayety theather in the middle of the block.

      • Seth H. Bramson

        Friends: Pleased to advise that Wolfie’s, Junior’s, Pumpernik’s, Rascal House, Chippy’s in Coral Gables and 116 other Greater Miami clubs and restaurants are shown in the upcoming (our November 2nd) LOST RESTAURANTS of MIAMI (which covers all of Dade County) and many, many more are metioned. We were limited to 121 photos because the publisher–The History Press–wanted more text, so you can imagine how difficult it was for me to pick out–from +/- 3000 Greater Miami club and restaurant pieces (photos/postcards/menus/booklet/brochures/placemats/china/matchbooks and more) those which we would use. In any case, I really do believe that you will love the upcoming book, especially if you are from Myamuh or visited on vacation. Stay safe, all!

      • Irwin Cohen

        Can the upcoming book be pre ordered & what’s the best way to purchase it ? Thanks Irwin Cohen

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Uhhh, Jenelle, please don’t be offended, but your comment is not quite correct. Wolfie was brought down from Jacksonville to open Wolfie’s and I do not believe that he bought Al Nemets’ sandwich shop. Yes, he did open and sell Wolfie’s 21 (21st St., not 23rd St.) after which he bought the Pumpernik’s in Sunny Isles in 1954, changed the name to Rascal House and remained its owner until he died about 12 or so years ago. Hope that helps.

  14. Sharon Factor Hartstein

    Any former Wolfie’s family or workers remember my grandfather, Arthur Salberg, who worked in the deli there? There is a story floating about in my family that he was either somehow related to, or close with the Wolfie’s family. I’d like to know if anyone knows anything about this or even remembers my Papa.

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Hello, Sharon! WHICH Wolfie’s? Remember, on Miami Beach there were stores at One Lincoln Road and at 21st and Collins + those in North Miami Beach, St. Petersburg, and, later, somewhere in Broward County. What, exactly, did Papa do “in the deli?” Was he a cook, a block man or another position? Please see if you can find out. For some reason his name is vaguely familiar.

      • Hi, Seth – I am Sharon’s sister, and actually posted about our grandfather way below, seeking to confirm the location of 163rd St. That is where he worked in the deli, and I am pretty sure he waited on customers, but I don’t know more. The time frame was probably very late 60s maybe through the 70s.

        I will share the other deli story I remember, however (besides the Swiss Cheese one, below.) I noticed that whenever a customer ordered “lean” corned beef, it was cut from the “regular” hunk of corned beef. I was shocked, and felt like they were deceiving customers. My grandfather explained that it was ALL lean, but they didn’t want to let on, or no one would buy it.

  15. Seth H. Bramson

    I wanted to answer the post re the lady who wrote in about the Haddon Hall and about Hoffman’s Cafeteria. I hope she sees this. I have a great photo of the hotel with WW II hero (Battle of the Bulge German POW Stalag 4B survivor, winner of the Bronze Star for bravery, TWO Purple Hearts (wounded twice at the Battle of the Bulge) and the coveted Combat Infantry Medal) standing in front of it in uniform prior to being sent overseas if you are interested. Also, knew the lovely Beck family, which owned Hoffman’s while I was at Miami Beach High and dated Cookie, their daughter for several months. Felt badly that it didn’t work out. At any rate, hope to hear from you.

    • David Bogner


      Wrote about Hoffmans Cafeteria and the Haddon Hall.
      Feel free to phone me at 518-348-3406 David Bogner

  16. Bob bowen

    I remember the free sweet rolls and blintzes they would put in front of you just before you placed your order. Sometimes we would only order coffee and then pig out on the freebies.

  17. SteveP

    FYI! Cleaning out a closet and I discovered vintage Wolfie’s menus. Didn’t realize that they were big. Might scan if anyone is interested.

  18. Anonymous

    Have great memories of Wolfies ate there regularly in1959! I was over from the Uk.

  19. Kimtisha

    Bill, to find a recipe for the salt sticks, Google “kimmelweck bread recipe.” Using the recipe you find (there are several) roll the dough into strips (instead of rolls) and adjust baking times. It will take some experimentation, but there are kimmelweck recipes out there.

  20. Bill

    Anyone have the recipe for Wolfies Salt sticks? They were crispy on the outside, fluffy and light on the inside, and had kosher salt and caraway seeds on the outside. I’ve looked everywhere and found very few clues. A chef told me they were based on “weck” rolls which he said came from NY. No luck on duplicating the recipe. Thanks.

    • Jonfix

      Try the Wegmans grocery product “Kimmelweck” rolls, which sound similar to what you describe

    • KK

      That type of roll is indeed popular in NYC, where we also referred to them as “salt sticks.” They’re not really weck rolls, which are the same thing as traditional kaiser rolls (those have a similar texture but a completely different shape, and are usually topped with poppy instead of caraway). Salt sticks are known as krolicky in Czechoslovakia. Hope this info helps you locate a recipe.

  21. betty bryant

    Does anyone remember the “PICKIN CHICKIN” on Collins Ave, during the earlys 50s. My friend and I went to Miami Beach and stayed at the Raleigh Hotel from 1952-1956. 2 very green girls from Kentucky, who had never been out of the tri-state area (Ky, Oh, Ind) flew on the Delta Dream Vacations flights. A couple of years ago, visited the Raleigh with my daughter. Amazed at the upgrade. In the 50s we paid $8.00 a night. Couldn’t touch it now. Had a pot of coffee and a couple of desserts poolside. Cost was almost $40 +tip. Great memories. Friend is gone now, but nice to see others who spent time in Miami Beach. Sad to have no one to reminisce with.

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Dear Betty: You are wrong fried chicken with honey breath! You sure do have somebody to reminisce with! Many visits to Pickin’ Chicken (note spelling) and much to tell you about it. Remember it well. Grew up on Miami Beach and am the senior collector of Miami memorabilia and Floridiana in America. Have postcards, paper napkins (unused), large and small menus and more from P. C. You can always contact me off list at sbramson@bellsouth.net and you can check me out on amazon.com, just put my name–Seth Bramson–on the search line and hit “enter.” Hope to hear from you.

      • David Bogner

        Remember Picken Chicken, Wolfies, and The rascal House, my family owned the Haddon Hall Hotel at 15th and Collins from 1945 -1963.
        Also remember Hoffmans Cafeteria, next door to our hotel, a girl named Cookie’s family owned Hoffmans.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, I lived in Miami Beach then and often ate at Pickin Chickin. I remember there were always sparrows or pigeons on the floor going after the scraps, as the place was open-air, I believe. Good food, though….I was a teenager then.

      Alan in California

  22. Jack Barrett

    My father Jack Barrett worked at a hotel just up the street from Wolfies and my mother Anne worked at Pumpernicks and Scotty’s. After moving to Orlando my father would jump in the car with my mother and drive to Wolfies for a corned beef sandwich caused there were no decent deli’s in Orlando. Sure do miss that place

  23. Delaware

    NASA helped Wolfie’s get some publicity when Wally Schirra bought a corned beef sandwich the morning of the Gemini 3 flight. He gave it to John Young to smuggle aboard and Gus Grissom took the only bite before they tucked it away to keep crumbs from doing any damage. Congress was not happy when the sandwich was found after the flight.

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Interesting. And what is the provenance? The flight left from Cape Canaveral, about 240 miles north of Miami Beach, where Wolfie’s was then located. Wondering how Schirra bought the sandwich in the morning and got back to the Cape in time for lift off. Sounds like the “that was Al Capone’s hideaway” NONSENSE that Miami’s walking fountain of MISinformation spouts off on every one of his walking or boat tours.

      • charley priddy

        There was Wolfie’s inside the Ramada Inn in Cocoa Beach back in 1965 when Gemini 3 was launched. Several of my friends worked there after school and on weekends

      • Seth H. Bramson

        MANY thanks, Charley, and appreciate the explanation. Knew there was one in St. Pete but didn’t realize one had opened in Cocoa. Thank you again for sharing “the rest of the story” with us.

  24. Bill wittert

    After speaking with a baking company, the head of Baker told me that what I was describing was the closest to a Wak or wack roll. The rule had its origins in New York, so it would make sense that it might have been sold in Miami Beach. Experiment with a rolled it is crisp on the outside and as late as possible on the inside At some point the outside is painted with an egg glaze and then sprinkled with caraway seeds and kosher salt . I still have been unable to duplicate the salt sticks, but I’ve come fairly close.

  25. Jon fox

    Wegmans grocery has a kimmelweck roll close to your description but no breadstick. Wawa has a soft pretzel that can serve as a good substitute.

  26. Terry

    Growing up, my family vacationed at “The Tides Bath Club and Hotel” in North Redington Beach, FL. Every summer that we went, we ate one meal (usually breakfast) at Wolfies. I always had the same thing – the cheese blintzes. They were to die for! When there was no longer a Wolfies, it was a sad time of growing up and time changing.

    • Mrs.jH

      I remember going to Wolfies in downtown St. Petersburg back in the 70s, a young child. I think they had pastry baskets like Lenny’s in Clearwater.
      If you could refresh my memory if this is correct please do so. Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry, I don’t remember.

      • Bill

        After some asking around, the salt sticks at Wolfie’s were a form of a Weck or Veck roll, originating in NY. Hard crispy outside, light as air inside. It had the egg glaze, with kosher salt and caraway seeds sprinkled on the top. If anyone has a recipe, I’d love to hear it. I came close, but it was not quite as good.

        Was any Wolfie’s outside of Miami beach owned by the same person? I’m thinking these were different Wolfie’s.

      • Anonymous

        Hi, all: Replying to the question re ownership. Each Wolfie’s was individually owned. Wolfie opened the two Miami Beach stores then, later, bought the Pumpermik’s in Sunny Isles and changed the name to Rascal House. Later there were Wolfies restaurants in St. Petersburg and on NE 163rd St. in North Miami Beach. Might have been one or two more but all are now long gone.

      • Robert Zlatkiss

        Yes, my dad owned it until the red tide in 1973 and the Arab oil embargo and the Tyronne Square indoor air conditioned shopping centers and then Grants and Wards closed and the rocking chair theaters.

    • Bob

      I loved the Bath Club as a kid in the 60s and was crushed when it was torn down. That was a special place. Growing up there along the Gulf was ideal, and nothing like it is around today. And I remember Wolfie’s in St Pete too. Webb’s City as well. If I ever get a time machine, you’ll know where I’m headed LOL

      • Terry Miller

        We were also brought up having every summer vacation at the Tides Bath Club. My father had gone there (General Redington Beach area down to Pass-a-Grille – back in the oldie Goldie days when there were Australian Pines up the beaches. Wolfie’s was a must go to for me (especially since my birthday was in June). There are so many landmarks and places that are gone forever- remember the Aquarium?

        I would so appreciate copies of any recipes that anyone might have. We are the last keepers of our memories. It’s so sad to me that there are very very few experiences that might share with our younger ones.

  27. Pinwheel Marble Sugar Cookie with pecan coating on the edges. Served at Rascal’s, Miami, Beach during the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and early 2000’s. Ate there for 40+ years. Anyone have the RECIPE for those Marble (White/Chocolate) cookies with pecans on the edges.

    Pinwheel Vanilla-Chocalate sugar cookie with pecan coating on outside, served at Rascal/Wolfie’s in Miami Beach.

    Wolfie had a daughter and some race horses, anyone know if the kids are still alive. I remember the pictures in the SunnyIsle’s Rascal House Restaurant of his race horses and his daughter.

    I believe the Trump Sonesta Beach resort and Jade Ocean East & West next door where the Pan American Motel was located which was walking distance to the Rascal House Restaurant, on Collins Ave in Sunny Isles.

    Is St Mary’s Catholic Church still there, they were right behind Rascal’s House, the Winston Towers Condo’s (8 bldgs.) were next door as well as a the Sunny Isle Fire Department.

    Larry J. Pasternock, Chicago

  28. ASR

    Cornbeef Hash with an egg over it!
    Many people’s favorite! Mine too!

  29. Rick

    I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and on the wknds my parents would go out for drinks and ALWAYS went to wolfies before coming home I always looked forward to growing up and going myself, unfortunately we moved to New York a yr into high school and I never got my chance

  30. Bill Wittert

    My grandmother also lived at 100 Lincoln Road, my name is Bill Wittert. I used to go down with my sister 2, sometimes 3 times a year. Does anyone know what happened to Manny Velazquez, who was the “poolboy” for many years. After Hurricane Andrew I lost touch with him. So so many great memories there….If you stayed there, email me to say hi: potznik@aol.com. I was there from around 1967 to 1981. I could give you 50,000 “Do you remember(s)………..

  31. Cynthia Plummer

    I lived in Miami from ’83-’93 and went to the beach on a regular basis! I was just listening to All Jarreau “My Favorite Things” , and Wolfie’s popped into my head! I sure miss the feel, smell, comradery and above all the food! Those were a few of my favorite things.
    Pleasures fine, pleasure is bliss, but will pleasure ever measure up to real love. Like being true to the one you miss.
    The Poetic Plum

  32. joseph savino

    Why O why did you leave???

    I am heartbroken.

  33. Anonymous

    I remember the Wolfies at Lincoln and Collins from 1966. First trip out of New York when I was 18. I can still remember the baskets of baked goods.

  34. Virginia Hernandez

    I remember working at Wolfies as a bus girl. Wolfies had a lot l of celebrities comr in, too. I have a desert menu with Muhammad Ali autograph on it. I loved their famous cheesecake.

    • Cynthia Plummer

      I applaud you. That was hard work! The place was never dead, the door was always swinging! But your rewards were celebrities, old faithful customers and reliable tips! What waitress could walk away from that?! Hope you enjoyed your tenure!

      • Seth Bramson

        Cynthia, Al, friends: Yes, Wolfire’s was great for many years but in its last years the food, service and cleanliness all deteriorated terribly. As for never being another one, Al, there were several including Pumpernik’s, Rascal House (which was owned by Wolfie) and Junior’s, all great and now, sadly, all long gone. (I know a little bit about them. I have written 6 1/2 histories of Miami Beach and the northern suburbs. We moved to Miami Beach in 1946 and I grew up on, lived on, went to school on and worked on Miami Beach.

      • Bill Wittert


    • Anonymous

      Hi Virginia,

      My father Skyler Lerman worked there as well. Are you familiar with him?

      • Seth H. Bramson

        Greetings, all! A book update. Pleased to advise that have just signed the contract with Arcadia & The History Press to write LOST RESTAURANTS of GREATER MIAMI, and, as always, delighted to include as many of you as possible Remember, though, that this is LOST restaurants, hence while I mention Joe’s and Forge in the Introduction I can not include them simply because they still exist. We are covering the entire county and I really do need an image of (JUNIOR moment) the great deli on NW 5th St. just west of the FEC tracks. And, yes, loaded with “the usual suspects” including Park Avenue, Embers, Hickory House, Wolfie’s, Juniors, Pumpernik’s, Rascal and many more (the book will have a few more than 120 photos and we have probably somewhere in the vicinity of several thousand photos, postcards, menus and more, including china, matchbooks and other items) but we would still be interested in what you might have so please don’t hesitate to let me know OFF LIST. Remember, nothing still operating and I will, as always, be delighted to hear from you.

      • Bill

        Sounds like a great project. Did you ever run across the recipe for the Wolfie’s salt sticks? They came in a basket before the meal – the best rolls I’ve ever had.

  35. I celebrated my 15th birthday with my father and step-mother at the old Delano…we would walk down to Wolfie’s and have a snack…I ate my first matzo ball soup there. At night, we’d put rain coats over our pajamas and go for pie. I remember it well at 64 now.

  36. noName

    Meyer Lansky — born a foreigner never was deported; born around 1902 Grodno Poland Russia. Marriages 1. anna citron 2. Thelma Schwartz. Children: 1. paul 2. bernard/benjamin aka buddy 3. Sandra.
    Businesses: colonial Inn,Thunderbird Hotel, Arrowhead Inn, Laboheme, Manhattan Simplex Distrube Co, Consoldiated TV, Krieg Spector Citron 727 Monroe St Hoboken N.J. Krieg Spector Citron aka Universal Food corp 8 concourse E Jersey City, New Jersey.
    Residences: 950 Sherman ave Elizabeth New Jersey; 99th street and boston SE corner New Yk city; 6 Columbia St New York City; 156 South 9th St New Yk City; 612 Hibiscus dr Golden Isles Hallandale Florida; (accompanied by brother Jack Lansky pick him up go to businesses nearby) carlsbad Spa, Aristocrat motel, Diplomat Hotel, Hallandale bank, all these places are on the South Ocean Drive Hollywood Florida.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks. I wondered

    • Cynthia Plummer

      You had a long & successful life! I remember those places in FL. May you and your families endeavors continue to be blessed. I started coming to Miami about ’67 or so to visit my mom. My step dad used to clean up after the Jackie Gleason show. I remember the lights! They got Wolfie’s via the back door, every now and then. But I didn’t move to Miami until ’83, I’d grown up by then. I still loved Wolfie’s.

  37. Freda James-Forkapa

    Love the story, I remember Wolfe’s from the 70s and on. Fabulous place great memories and often compare it to Joe’s new deli & restaurant in Rocky river. It’s the vibe you feel.! Thanks for the memories. Freda James Forkapa Ohio

  38. Linda

    At Pumpernik’s at 63rd & Collins, my father, Manny Miklowitz, started working for Wolfie in 1953 and soon opened the Rascal House at 172nd & Collins as head baker and pastry chef in May, 1954.

    • Seth Bramson

      Linda, terrific but one respectful correction. Pumpernik’s was at 67th and Collins, northwest corner, directly across from the Deauville Hotel,

    • Chuck Berger

      Went to the Rascal House so many times when I lived in Hallandale. The pastry baskets were to die for. Also ate at Pumpernick’s. Sadly, they’re all gone.
      Now living in St. Petersburg. Nothing like that here now. My last trip to Hallandale Beach had breakfast at Moe’s in Aventura. Just a hint of the old days.

      • Anonymous

        Chuck and friends: Be VERY careful of Schmo’s in Aventura. Email me off list for enlarged comments. MUCH better alternative is Bagel Cove at 192nd St and Biscayne Blvd. Jennifer is the manager and is terrific. When you go tell her Seth from the Sunday breakfast gang sent you.

      • Jonathan Fox

        What’s the deal with Schmo’s?

        Sent from my iPhone


      • Seth H. Bramson

        OFF list, Jonathan, off list. We will not go there any more.

      • Chuck Berger

        Thanks for the heads up. Will give it a try.

    • Sharon Stutz-Hamilton

      Back in the day, my whole family ate at Wolfie’s, Pumpernicks and Rascal House when we left snowy Michigan in December to escape the worst of the winter. The baskets of unlimited assorted varieties of miniature rolls and danishes served at every table are still in our heads. We miss these delicasies with a passion. I wondered if you have your Dads recipes for these precious gems that you could share with me.
      Sharon Stutz-Hamilton
      (248)595-5282 .. text and/or voice

  39. Originally the Rascal house that was on 171 and collins was a Pumpernicks there is a picture around that shows the waitress staff at front door holding Pumpernick menus and those doors are unmistakeable. Besides that Wolfie was a decent boss and helped so many of those that worked for him to own a home. He believed that if his workers were stable they would work better and he was just such a genius in understanding the need and desire of common hard-working people. I knew people that worked in the are and the stories are incredible about the things Wolfie did for his employees. I even heard one of his battered waitresses killed the husband who was beating her. In his sympathy for the woman Wolfie paid for rent all the time the woman was in jail and paid for the food and electric of her son living alone. She later was released from prison and resumed her position there. I met the son who also worked at the store and the mother too who was a tough old lady as they all were. In my 20s and even 30s I was still eating there and they still gave me what they thought I should have instead of what I ordered. I never said anything for they were like family and probably would of smacked for being a smart-ass! BTW there are Face book groups on Wolfie’s Rascal come join what a refreshing memory of something so sorely missed!

    • Anonymous

      That is quite a story…..I’m still looking for the recipe of Wolfie’s salt stix. The oblong roll was crispy on the outside, soft inside, and coated with kosher salt and caraway seeds. They were the best roll I’ve ever had. Anyone have any idea of a recipe even close?

      • To Ritchie, THANKS for sharing that story!

        To Anon.: Sorry, I do not have a recipe. However, I traveled a few years ago in far western New York, which is known for a sandwhich called Beef on Weck. It is a hot roast beef sandwich, often with au jus, but the “Weck” part refers to the roll – short for Kummelweck, which is basically a Kaiser roll with caraway and coarse salt on the outside. I loved the rolls so much that now, whenever I eat a bagel, I sprinkle caraway and salt on it!

      • Nola Goldstein

        Oh, how I wish for a salt stick! I haven’t even thought of those words in 30 years! Wolfie’s and Pumpernik’s were both wonderful in their days. I remember having matjes herring there with my husband’s grandmother who wintered at the Delano and Deauville. Thanks for those memories, friends. See the New Yorker piece this week by Naomi Frye featuring photos of Miami Beach retirees.

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Richie and all:
      All very interesting, but let me add a bit, since my dear, late Mom was cashier at Rascal House for about six years and Wolfie became one of my great mentors in the F & B business. I highly recommend two wonderful books, each either featuring Wolfie and one or more of his restaurants or telling a good part of the Wolfie Cohen story: “SUNSHINE, STONE CRABS AND CHEESECAKE: THE STORY OF MIAMI BEACH” and “FROM SANDBAR TO SOPHISTICATION: THE STORY OF SUNNY ISLES BEACH” with numerous photos of Wolfie and the restaurants. Both were published by The History Press (Now Arcadia and The History Press) of Charleston, SC. You can easily google them.

      • Anonymous

        I’ll definitely read the book. My Grandmother lived at 100 Lincoln Road, across the street from Wolfies on 16th Street. We used to go at least twice a year for twenty years. I’m going to read the book. Maybe the saltstick recipe is hidden in its pages.

      • Seth H. Bramson

        Folks, all of your comments are terrific, but, regretfully and unhappily, I think all or most of the recipes died with Wolfie and his successors. The Bramson Archive is the largest private collection of Miami memorabilia and Floridiana in America and we have Wolfie’s (and Junior’s, Pumpernik’s, Rascal House and innumerable other Miami Beach delis and restaurants) postcards, photos, menus and other items including a Pumprnik’s coffee cup!

    • Seth Bramson

      Richie: Thank you, and, indeed, Wolfie was a terrific boss. He, along with Saul Kaplan, Charlie Linksman, Arthur Horowitz and Artie English were my great mentors in the food and beverage business and my mom worked for Wolfie as night cashier at Rascal for many years. However, one respectful correction: Rascal was at 172nd Street and Collins, southwest corner, not 171st.

      • Sharon

        Seth, any chance you have the Lemon Meringue Pie recipe? It was amazing! Thank you

      • Sharon Hamilton

        My brother and I are desperately searching for the recipe for those bite-sized sweet rolls Wolfies served in the bread basket that was on every table for everyone when people first were seated.

      • Seth H. Bramson

        Thank you for asking, Sharon. Haven’t found it yet but did find the Joe’s cole slaw and mustard sauce recipes as well as the Embers and the Lloyd’s of the Maison Grande salad dressing recipes, so do know that I am still looking. Be–and stay–well and stay safe. All the best. Seth

      • Jenelle Bahan

        Saul Kaplan — did he not operate the Rony Pub and his brother Walter Kaplan operated the Embers restaurant next to the place Pigal?

      • Seth H. Bramson

        Thank you, Jenelle. Indeed, Walter owned and operated Embers after he bought it from Radio Winer, who then opened the Bonfire. Saul Kaplan and Wolfie were partners in both the Newport Pub and the Roney Pub, and Al Nemets (I think Al had a small percentage) managed both stores with the great Mario Talucci–he the last maitre d’ in the state of Florida–as maitre d’, first at Newport Pub then at Roney Pub. In regard to the Linksmans, I wwnt to Beach High with their son, who married my Beach High classmate as well as the Bookbinder’s daughters, cousins Iris and Carol, both of whom were also classmates at Miami Beach High. Anyway, all, only good wishes and please stay safe and if you are coming to Myamuh, please do feel free to email me at sbramson@bellsouth.net and we’ll arrange to get together.

  40. Bruce Prenner

    Thanks for the memories. Sadly my last visit in the late 90’s found the Rascal House nearly empty at 9:30 PM. I ordered the Twin little sandwiches of corn beef and pastrami and thoroughly enjoyed them. We split a piece of the terrific strawberry cheese cake too. Wonderful memories but no lines in front like in the 80″s. Somehow I knew the times were changing. I live in San Diego – and nothing comes close to the Rascal House. They had pretty great rugalach as well as I usually brought them to my parents in Sunrise.

  41. M. Rudolph

    My family used to drive to Miami Beach from NJ almost every summer on vacation. I remember eating at Wolfie. They used to place on the table a basket full of biscuits and sweet breads. The best. All good times are now gone. Sad, sad.😢

  42. RW

    I was never inside Wolfie’s. My connection was outside, as follows: I lived in South Miami during the 50’s till about ’73. I think it was 1969. In our VW fastback, I and two friends happened upon the scene late one pleasant evening, I think 2:30am, few cars around. Flashing police car lights blocked the road. Armed robbery in progress inside Wolfie’s. We parked and watched. From the few people around, we gathered that, at that point, hostages were already rescued and some bad guys taken, but one got into the ventilation ductwork. Now and then a few uniformed men in full breathing tank gear would enter. Mid morning, a full crowd by then, wafting tear gas made it into the street, and even though it was dispersing, some came our way, and it really hurt my eyes. We left. They got the bad guys and nobody was hurt. My only encounter with tear gas, and I don’t want another.

  43. Lori FM

    Wow! What a trip down memory lane! My grandparents moved to Hallandale in the mid-60s, and we used to visit them on winter breaks and sometimes the summer. No trip was complete without a few trips to Wolfie’s, Rascal House and Pumpernik’s. Of course, I remember the baskets of rolls and danish, and the pickles, etc., but it was the cheesecake that, to this day, I measure all others! I also had a thing for the bakery’s sugar cookies.

    One question: I am pretty sure we often referred to “Wolfie’s 163rd Street.” But can’t find references to that online, so either it is an obscure reference, or perhaps my memory is wrong. ??

    My grandfather ended up working in the deli for a couple of years. One year, when I was 16 or so, he let me come to work with him, only I worked in the bakery. I remember a couple of deli stories – one was that I saw them making holes in the Swiss cheese with a teaspoon. When I asked about that, I was told that it didn’t always have natural holes, but customers would not buy Swiss cheese without holes.

    I remember another place – maybe Porkie’s? I always ordered a quartet of different tiny sandwiches, so I didn’t have to decide my favorite. (Today, they would call them “sliders.”)

    Thanks for letting me share – Heck! What else am I going to do with these memories?

    • Barbara Nahoumi

      I think that I remember a restaurant called “Pinkies,” that might have been in the Collins Ave., or Lincoln Rd., area. My aunt and parents would bring me there, where I saw bowls of pickled green tomato slices on the tables. The corned beef sandwiches were huge.

    • The Swiss cheese story is hilarious!

    • Mary S

      This whole thread has been a great trip down memory lane! My old stomping grounds. On 163rd Street and NE 9th Ave in North Miami Beach there was a restaurant named “Corky’s” owned by Seymour Paley that had those tiny sandwiches on the menu. I loved those! Possibly that’s the restaurant you may be thinking of. They later moved from North Miami Beach to Broward County maybe in the 90’s? but it was never the same as the 163rd Street one and they are no longer in business. But the good memories live on.

      • Zack L

        Corky’s was across the street from Jefferson dept store and Publix where North Miami Beach Blvd shifts from 163rd St to 167th St. I sold the Saturday evening edition of the Sunday Miami Herald at the entrance to Corky’s ’72/’73. Met holocaust survivors, and got a “hey kid” from Don Shula going in one night. Customers oftten headed to Corky’s when the Wolfie’s (corner of 13th Ave and 163rd) was packed. Likewise, a buddy of mine sold the paper in front of the Royal Castle on the corner opposite Wolfie’s on 13th Ave. I loved the food from both places and the lovely, spirited clientele, but mostly just got the bakery stuff from Wolfie’s. Cheesecake!

    • Sydel

      Wolfies on 163rd st was THE place to go when I was growing up inN Miami Beach: early ’60’s thru to another decade or so.same menu as Collins ave branches, but right across the street from the 163rd st shopping center. Your memories are accurate!!

    • Jeff B

      I lived behind the 163rd st shopping center on 176th Terrace from 1957 to 1963. Porkies, 2 of them were teenage prankster movies. Corky’s instead is the restaurant name you are searching for. It was Marcella’s pizza restaurant we clamored for instead.
      My parents took me (a teenager) to Wolfie’s on Collins Ave (A1A) in Golden Isles a few times. The food was great with lots of happy very noisy customers enjoying them selves. Anyone reading this that was also a teen back then also probably visited Jan’s Ice Cream Parlor which had to be close to Wolfie’s.

      • Mary S

        Ahh, 1960’s Miami. I was a teen in the mid-60’s and lived about 1/2 mile behind the Corky’s that was on 9th Ave and 163rd Street from 1959-1968. Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlour and the famous “Kitchen Sink” and “Miami Mish Mash” wasn’t it? Marcella’s, Michelangelo’s, Royal and White Castle, Corky’s, Pumpernik’s, Wolfies, Lum’s, Rippy’s Italian Market, Haulover Beach, gas wars at $0.17/gal or less for our V-8 cars (with full service-anyone too young to know this meant check the oil, fill the wiper fluid, wash the windows, check the tire pressure, and pump your gas for you), drive-in-theaters… so many more come to mind. Good times, good memories!

      • Lori FM

        Yes, indeed, it Was Corkys!
        I don’t recall eating ice cream in the neighborhood, but one of the highlights of our trips was always a trip to Jaxsons in Dania Beach. The ice cream sundaes came with sidecar of extra hot fudge!
        If I knew then what I know now… LOL

      • Seth Bramson

        Andrew, Sydel is correct. There was absolutely, positively a Wolfie’s on NE 163rd St. about NE 14th Avenue. And, yes, of course, there was Corky’s (my friend, Seymour Paley, may he rest in peace) but that was at NE 9th Avenue and 163rd St.

      • Zack L

        Dipper Dan Ice Cream Parlor was next to Sandy’s Drugs across from Beth Tora on 163rd. I don’t remember getting ice cream from anywhere else around there in the 1960s.

  44. Lori Frye

    My family used to stay at the Olympia Motel on Collins Ave. in North Miami every winter for a couple of weeks in the 70’s. We would get so excited to walk to Wolfie’s and wait out in the heat for 1-2 hours just to enjoy dinner there. It was an experience like none other I have ever enjoyed. Even as a small child, the smells, the incredible breads and pickles, kraut, slaws and perfectly made cornbeef along with the best meatloaf in the world. I’m still hankering for the stuffed cabbage rolls, 40 plus years later. Ahhh, and the cheesecake, like none other. I always remember that even as a child, everyone that worked there always make me feel so special and they knew what a magical place Wolfie’s was.

    Years later around 1991, I went to South Beach and ate at the Wolfie’s there as the Miami location has long since closed. One of the original owners from the Miami location was there, quite long in the tooth and full of fabulous memories. The food was still great and I got to relive a couple of hours in the most wonderful place in the world. Thanks for the memories Wolfie’s, I’ll always keep you in my heart.

  45. 1959, lived on free Wolfie pickles and sauerkraut with horseradish sauce.

  46. Grit Richter

    Sad that it’s gone! Many years of visiting from Germany, 4 weeks of every morning breakfast,$ 2.50 for fresh little pastries, coffee, 2 eggs and all the sides your heart needs.
    A real Miami Beach icon!!!!

  47. Bill

    I never knew there was an upstairs. I just remembered you waited in line next to posts with a thick red chord suspended between them. One New Year’s eve Muhammad Ali was there with his bodyguards. His bodyguards stole our dates. We had eaten already, so it didn’t much matter.

  48. Shelia

    I remember wolfies with warm memories. It was a great place to get a great sandwich and great company. I moved before it closed and am sad to think it’s not there any more.

    • A truly great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sure do miss it!!

      • Margie Feldman Hassan

        I was on my own in 62-63 in Miami Beach. Wolfies (and soetimes Lums around the corner) was breakfast and lunch. The silver buckets filled with pickles and pickled tomatoes was on the table and the basket of rolls. For 1.25 you could eat all the rolls and pickles your stomach could hold, and don’t forget the pink and black tile ladies room upstairs! I took my son and his wife there apparently right before they closed in the 1990’s. Was surprised it was empty….

    • Mary Ann

      I remember Rascal House and Pumperniks. Great place to eat. My dad worked as a chef at Wolfies in Brooklyn NY. Think if was the same owners. Today I ventured to the location on Collins Ave and found Epicure Gourmet Market and Deli. Has signs inside saying The Original Wolfies, Rascals and Pumperniks. Nice place, food brought back memories. Stuffed cabbage tasted like it did years ago. The noodle pudding is delucious. Sandwiches are stuffed. They have kept the Wolfes tradition of food and I am happy that I can now go back and enjoy the quality food that I had years ago. Great find.

  49. Cherie Manzano

    Wolfies must have been a special place. Its the only restaurant memory I have from the only time I ever was in FL and I was only 13 at the time, is the time we ate at Wolfies on Sunrise Blvd in Fort Lauderdale. My mom, grandmother and I went to a lot of places in FL from St Augustine, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale to Miami, and I can only remember that one meal. A great big cheeseburger made with swiss cheese. For years I talked about the best burger I ever had.

  50. nomo bo

    I say “Good riddance” to mediocre food and a surly waitstaff. Good God, how long can a fraud stay in business on the basis of racism, political correctness, and an obsequious press? A long time, apparently.

  51. K-K

    I, too, have been looking for Wolfie’s stuffed cabbage recipe. So far, no luck.I had heard that ginger snaps were crumbled into the sauce to give it that taste zing.

  52. Michele Greenky

    Mother was a waitress in the early 60s in Coco Beach, she worked the counter as the tips were better. She met most of the newscasters , served Walt Disney when he was looking for land for the planned Disney world. And of course all the astronauts. I remember looking at on old menu and asking why it said Only One Bottle of Ketchup Per Customer. She said that beach bums would order a pot of tea, pour a little in the cup and make tomato soup, ate the bread and made a sandwich with the jars of green pickle tomatoes and sour krout.

    • Anonymous

      I first remember Wolfies on a visit from Canada in November 1964. I was staying at the Olsen Hotel on Collins and managed to drop into Wolfies.
      I came back with my wife in the late 70’s and we made a point to go to Wolfies once more. We recall one of the table cleaning staff, who apparently used to be a boxer. He may have lost some of his boxing skills but his speed was still there and patrons would be spellbound watching him clean the dishes and cutlery off a table in record time. I’m enjoying the Wolfie memories!

  53. Pingback: Miami Interview # 19 | Cozy in Miami

  54. I can remember going there with my grandparents in the ’70’s, and seeing celebrities there in the mid-80’s. Great places like this are very missed.

  55. Wolfie’s Jacksonville, Florida, was located on New Beach Boulevard at Southgate Plaza. It was a new shopping center then with a W.T. Grants, National Shirt Shop, Lerner’s, and Thom McAn Shoe store.
    They wouldn’t let you seat yourself except at the counter. It was too Jewish for the natives and later became a Morrison’s Cafeteria. The shopping center is a ghost now. I miss the free pickles in little silver buckets that sat on all the tables.

  56. Daryl kutner

    My grandfather, Donal Freund, bought Wolfies on Lincoln road when I was very young. I remember the low ceiling of the second floor offices and the platters of corned beef and pastrami and white fish, the pickles in the bucket, the bakery next door.

    I’m happy to show and document the years he owned it, but all I really wish for in exchange is an original t-shirt with the wolf on it. I’m Daryl Kutner.

    786 333 3696

    • glen

      My mother worked the counter there for about 4 years, around 1950 and use to tell me about how she hated the customers. She was Jewish, but could not stand the demanding New Yorkers. She said Wolfie was a very nice man and would run after the cheap customers who stiffed the waitresses and tell them not to come back. He would then leave the tip for the waitress. My mom really liked him. I stopped in there a year or so before they closed, around 1997 or so, I think. The place was empty. Not cool for the younger crowd I guess. I was with my wife and we were on vacation from San Francisco. I even remember what I ordered – Eggplant and it was fantastic. The waiter was Cuban. Then walked in three older Jewish women with Brooklyn accents and they started ordering. It took about 10 minutes and they were a real pain in the ass. Finally, the Cuban waiter started yelling at them. He looked at me and said, Jews ??? I laughed and took no offense even though I am Jewish. I then understood why my mom could not stand the customers.

      • Barbara

        Yeah, for the real Miamians… Southern Jews, old Florida it was annoying and upsetting to deal with the New York Jews who were loud, obnoxious, demanding and never treated the waitresses nice unless she flirted with them in yiddish (as if we didn’t understand yiddish because we didn’t have a New York accent) — it was demeaning.

        Places like that were great to go to for some things, but having to deal with the New York tourists when they were in town in Winter as a real “yuck,” sorry but true.

        Much more fun to go to Chippys in the Gables where the food was great and it was a more local crowd …

        Just telling it like it was…

        Missed it when it was gone, a real landmark though I rarely ate there.

  57. Henry

    Does anyone remember the Wolfie’s lunch trucks in Miami? They had dark brown cabs. Were they operated by the same people that operated the deli?

  58. Bill

    Please, does anyone have an even close recipe for their salt sticks?

  59. Anonymous

    Meyer Yedlin was the owner of Wolfies.

  60. Terri

    I LOVED Wolfies. My parents used to take my sister and I to Miami every year when we were kids. They finally bought a condo there. We Always went to Wolfie’s/Rascal House. I haven’t been to Miami since 1975 so I had no idea they closed. That makes me really sad. It was the absolute BEST Jewish deli and the food was awesome. Does anyone know why it closed? Also, is there any way to get some of the recipes? I loved the chicken in a pot, their rolls were great, especially the pumpernickle, and the macaroons were to die for. I would love to get those recipes.

    • Bill

      My grandmother lived across the street at 100 Lincoln Road. I’ve been looking for the salt stick roll recipe for years. There was a rumor that the owner of Lettuce Entertain you was a relative of Wolfie Cohen, Mel Markin I believe is his name. But my search has lead no where. Somewhere all the recipes exist, probably in a box in an attic in Boca.

    • Sharon

      Rascal House Macaroons
      SERVES 12 COOK TIME 45 Min
      There used to be a famous deli on Miami Beach (Wolfie’s) that served the most amazing macaroons. Now you can make them in your own kitchen!
      What you’ll need:
      • 2 (14-ounce) packages shredded coconut
      • 5 egg whites
      • 1 1/2 cups sugar
      What To Do:
      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
      2. Place the coconut in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine egg whites and sugar over medium heat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, just until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat and pour over coconut; mix well.
      3. With your hands, squeeze together 1/2-cupfuls of the mixture to form slightly rounded mounds (an ice cream scoop works, too). Place 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheet.
      4. Bake 25 minutes, until macaroons begin to color slightly. Turn off oven and allow macaroons to sit about 15 minutes (with the oven door closed), until they turn golden.

      • Hi Sharon! Where did you get this recipe? I’d love to know more about your relationship to Wolfie’s. Email me at jhsaxena@gmail.com if you can!

      • Sharon Stutz-Hamilton

        Greetings from another Sharon. Back in the day, my whole family ate at Wolfie’s, Pumpernicks and Rascal House when we left snowy Michigan in December to escape the worst of winter. The baskets of unlimited assorted varieties of miniature rolls and danishes served at every table are still in our heads. We miss these delicasies with a passion. I wondered if you have the recipes for these precious gems that you could share with me. In particular I’m looking for the one for the miniature Danishes made by that genius baker Manny Miklowitz
        Sharon Stutz-Hamilton
        (248)595-5282 .. text and/or voice

    • My Mom & Dad took me there on a trip to Miami. I was maybe 7 or 8 years old at the time and not quite sure which Wolfie’s we visited…time line probably around mid to late 50’s. We were in Miami for 10 days and most evening meals were taken at Wolfie’s….MIGHTY FINE FOOD. Sure wish they would consider opening a shop in Richmond, VA…WE REALLY NEED AN EXCELLENT DELI HERE AND I BELIEVE WOLFIE’S WOULD BE THE TICKET.

      • Anonymous

        Hi Casey,

        Good delis are getting harder to come by. I wish they would make a come back. Open a branch of Wolfies or something similar in Boston. We’d love it.

  61. Pingback: Food as History | Jennifer S. Brown

  62. Dawn Felsing

    I used to eat at Wolfie’s on Collins and Lincoln with my parents in the 60’s. We lived in Hollywood but would go down to Miami to walk on the Lincoln Rd. Mall with out of town guests. I loved the sour green tomatoes, now that I’m 67, and have a garden with an abundance of green tomatoes, i have searched in vain for a recipe.

    • Barb Nahoumi

      Hi Dawn,

      My Grandmother used to make her own pickled green tomatoes. I think that she made the same brine whick she would use for half-sour pickles. Sorry, but I don’t have her recipe. However, you can find recipes by googling “Pickled Green Tomatoes.”

  63. Bill

    Anyone have the recipe for Wolfie’s salt sticks? They were tapered cylinders with caraway seeds….the best potznik@aol.com

  64. Pingback: Haute Dining › Your Passport To The Ultimate Culinary Experience

  65. linda meiners

    My mother Jewell is in the picture at the counter as well as Lulu Pelletier and Rose Grammes. I have known them since I was a little girl. My mother started to work there in 1950 and retired 35 years later when it closed. She made a good living raising me by herself. Many fond memories of the staff and food.

  66. I was a server at Wolfies in St Petersburg in the early 70s when they closed the doors and didn’t pay us our back pay!!!!!!!!

  67. M Rosenblum

    Oh the memories in the 60s. We stayed at the Seagull Hotel at 21st street every year across from Wolfies. I think we ate at Wolfies all the time. My fondest memory was the bread basket– my grandmother always had a bag in her purse and dumped the rolls in the bag, there was a period when you could not take the rolls so my grandfather would flick his cigarette ashes. As a kid it was a great place to eat. Miss it…

    • Sydel

      Are you sure we don’t share the same grandmother? My “nanny” always brought a bag in her purse to fill with the mini-Danish and pastries. I’ve assumed that the owners expected that and therefore built it into their pricing. Even so,I was mortified as a young teenager…

  68. Bobbi

    Hi. I’m from the uk stumbled across your site whilst browsing. I have wonderful memories of Wolfies Collins Ave,Florida. During a visit to Miami in 1989 my cousin & friends, who were also visiting from Canada, suggested we ate there. It was nothing I’d ever experienced before, or since actually. From the lines to get it depending on how many in your party, the baskets of delicious & varied bread rolls on the table, the waitresses & how they were dressed , the diners who arrived in big cars & wore expensive jewellery and , of course, the delicious food. I remember ordering a hot roast beef sandwich with gravy (which I had no idea what to expect) & on another visit my son & I had the biggest strawberry tarts (or was it cheesecake) I’ve ever seen. I have a photo of us looking at them with big smiles on our faces ready to ‘dive in’. I remember watching a re-run of Golden Girls on TV & they mentioned going to Wolfies it brought back such great memories of that holiday.

    Thank you for allowing me to re-live these memories from across the pond. 🙂

  69. Wow, bur two words sums it up for me MOGAMBO EXTRAVAGANZA. When I was in high school in a band in St. Pete after a gig we would go to Wolfie’s Central Plaza and order a round of Mogambos. That’s a lot of scoops. And it went great with those pickles!

  70. Pingback: A South Beach Fairy Tale | Totally Heavenly

  71. Barb

    I remember a deli in Miami Beach called Pinky’s. They had dishes of half sour pickles on the tables. Sooo good. Can anyone else recall this eatery?

  72. Anonymous

    Wolfies is one of the reasons I became a chef, eating there when I was 7 changed my life.

  73. Chuck

    Thanks so much for rekindling some wonderful memories. Ate at Wolfie’s, Pumpernik’s and Rascal House. After they all closed found my way to Moe’s in Aventura which was not quite the same, but still ok.
    Now living in St. Petersburg, and sadly nothing like it here.

  74. Having spent 13 months at the usmc base at Opalocka in ’52 & ’53 and much time on the beach. After Wolfies on Lincoln rd he opened Wolfies no name on Collins in the 60’s — the customers were given a ballot to choose a name and Pumpernicks was chosen. ——bert

  75. Dani

    I used to visit Wolfies on 21st while living a block away on Liberty Ave and 20th. So many changes have occurred in the area. Miss the old days.

  76. Pete

    I remember the Wolfie’s in St. Pete Fl. on central ave. Great place.

  77. Wolfie’s was THE place to go in Ft. Lauderdale, on Sunrise Blvd., near the beach. It was a favorite place to take dates! The last time I ate there was in October 1984, with my sister and mom. The coleslaw and pickles were always a favorite…and the sandwiches, OMG…and the ice cream! I’ve been living in Atlanta since 1977 and Atlanta has nothing to compare to it.

  78. George Dukas

    My dad Jim “Duke” Dukas may have been a manager for Wolfie’s on Collins ave in the early 60’s. He did open as a manager of the Cocoa beach store and he moved us from Miami in 65 to Gainesville and was the manager there. Attached to the Ramada Inn now Holiday Inn on Univ. ave and 13th st.

    • Charley Priddy

      Mr. Dukas, Was there a Wolfie’s in Orlando, at the Colonial Mall? I’m from Cocoa Beach and the Wolfie’s there, the restaurant in the Ramada Inn brings back great ‘food’ memories! I seem to recall one in Orlando, with the same menu and logo. Other’s are telling me that restaurant was ‘Ronnie’s’?

      • Anonymous

        I don’t know. I was too young and had never been to Orlando.

      • Charley

        No, that deli was Ronnie’s, but it was very similar in style and menu.

      • The restaurant in Orlando was Ronnie’s, located in the Colonial Plaza from 1956 to 1995. The owner, Larry Leckert originally worked at Wolfies in Miami. He later opened another restaurant Monte’s at the Winter Park Mall in Orlando (it was in a “stand alone” building in front of the mall) It is gone now too.

      • Barb Nahoumi

        I was just reading the latest issue of Reminisce Magazine, when I saw a picture of Wolfie’s Kid’s menu, from Cocoa Beach, on page 58. The menu featured a photo of an Astronaut on the cover.

      • Anonymous

        My dad said they fed the astronauts everyday.

      • Sharon

        Ronnie’s at Colonial Plaza Mall had similar recipes (salt sticks, onion rolls) pickles and cole slaw on table, wonderful breads and cakes. There was a Wolfie’s at the end of Orange Ave down by bee Line, opened about time Ronnie’s was closing. Been looking for salt stick recipe. Heard that Ronni’s owner’s daughter was thinking about producing cook book — Wouldn’t we all love that?

      • Bill

        I would love to find a recipe that would come close to Wolfies salt sticks.

      • Anonymous

        Hey Charlie — read your old post abt. Wolfies at Colonial Mall — yes it was Ronnies and it also closed a few years back — it had been there over 40 years, I think!

  79. Anonymous


    • All:
      Great info and material and thank you. Recommend three great books on Miami Beach, with pics of Wolfie’s, both stores as well as many other great and long gone M. B. restaurants and club: MIAMI BEACH in Arcadia’s Images of America Series; SUNSHINE, STONE CRABS & CHEESECAKE, published by The History Press, and L’CHAIM: THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF GREATER MIAMI, with a whole chapter on restaurants and clubs. Available at http://www.sethbramsonbooks.com or on amazon.com, just put Seth Bramson on the search line and all 22 books on South Florida local and Florida transportation history will come up.

    • Susan

      My best friend’s mother worked there. Maybe you remember her? Her name was Gloria Minnitti. Let me know please, thanks, Susan

  80. Anonymous

    My grandfather Milton Sloane owned the Wolfies in St. Petersburg. Do you have any information about that location?

    • The St. Petersburg Wolfie’s was opened in 1953 by Meyer Yedlin who sold it two years later to Frank Van Straelen and Joseph Sloane, your grandfather’s brother. Joseph sold it to three hotel men in 1957, but apparently your grandfather was still there because a newspaper story in 1966 says he is the manager. It changed hands again in 1966 and 1967, and after that I’m not sure what happened to it.

      • robert zlatkiss

        My dad bought it in 1971 and then in 1973 the red tide and the air-conditioned mall Tyrone Square killed the downtown area of St Pete. Too bad — it was one heck of a restaurant.

      • Oh do I remember the RED Tide…was worse than the Palm Blight in MB and smellier than a hurricane.

      • Anonymous

        We stopped for snacks after a basketball game in Dade City…my friends urged me to have the kitchen sink and I ate it all…26 scoops of ice cream, bananas, nuts, syrups and whipped cream…it was awesome.

  81. buzz

    I would occasionally in the mid 70’s sit at the counter on Saturday mornings for breakfast. I did see Meyer Lansky and a bunch of other old Jewish men sitting at the big round table. None of them looked very threatening, just old, weak men, but probably all were bad boys back in the day. Also, I took a woman I had spent the night partying with to Sunday breakfast near her home in North Miami Beach, to the Wolfie’s there, as this was her Sunday morning regular place. A couple of football player size attendants rolled a man in a wheelchair to the roped off tables in the back. My lady friend told me that the guy in the chair was Meyer’s son, the one mentioned in this article. I recall that at the 21st St. counter, my breakfast came with a basket of fresh mini bagels and cream cheese, free of charge. Both places, 21st St and North Miami Beach, were always crowded.

  82. Anonymous

    my mother, jewell meiners was a waitress at wolfies lincoln road from 1950 till closing in the 1980’s she was able to make a good living raising me alone and i am grateful to her for that. i miss the corned beef , pastrami, and cheese cake. i wish they had a restaurant like that in gainesville,fl thanks for the memories linda

    • Janis

      Your Mother and my Aunt, Thelma Rae Forrest (later Mackay) would have worked together at Wolfies, as they worked there during the same time. She was also a waitress and often spoke of the many nice customers who would come to Florida for the winters and ask for her station, as they had come to know her over the years.

    • Love this story, great memories of Wolfies and Rascal from my youth, sadly they’re all gone now 😦

    • Kellye hoffman

      I probably knew her. My family were owners in 70’s. She probably knew Rosie!

      • Anonymous

        I knew Rosie! She squeezed the fresh orange juice every morning! I worked on 21st St in 1973 when I just moved down from NY. I loved it!
        I remember it was owned by 3 sisters & their husbands. I think the son’s name was Lowell???

      • Barbara

        I knew Rosie she worked as a waitress when I worked there! She loved to eat roast-beef and raw onion on rye bread!!! We weren’t allowed to eat roast-beef so we had to sneak it!!! I worked at Wolfies in the late 70’s and early 80’s! Phlylis and Marina (the Cuban lady who sold jewelry on the side) were waitresses there, and Billy was the head-waitress at that time! There are so few of us left! Used to wait on Meyer Lansky, He sat by himself and his bodyguard driver waited outside! He ate bagel and cream-cheese and coffee for breakfast! Would leave 2 to 5 dollars as a tip! People would stop at his table to say hello, but they never sat down to chat! He was soft spoken and nice! I also waited on the Dundy brothers from boxing, Red Buttons and many more famous people! They all liked to sit at the three tables in the section up against the wall looking towards the front! where It was always so packed with people! The best onion rolls ever were baked in the bakery upstairs!! Mr Lazman and Mr Crouse were the owners at that time! Later on I went on to work at Rascal House for Wolfie Cohen!

      • Love your memories, especially the detail of guests sitting against the wall to watch who was entering.

  83. Joanna

    I was told that my great grandfather was an investor in Wolfie’s, and was related to one of the owners, Sam Schwartz. Do you have any information about the owners?

    • Sam Schwartz and Meyer Yedlin, both former cafeteria owners, took a 15-year lease on property on the NE corner of Lincoln Road and Collins Ave in 1949 to build a Wolfie’s. Of course there may have been other owners that I’m not aware of.

  84. Paula

    I worked there as a waitress in 1966, midnight shift, a very naive 18 year old girl from Canada. What a experience. The manager was very good to me …

    • Janis Erd,am


      Did you know my aunt, Thelma Forrest? She married quite a few times, so may have gone by another last name, but she waitressed at Wolfies for decades. She had a son, Pete, who became a police officer. I’m trying so hard to track my family down. I only met my aunt Thelma twice. She was a pistol! She had red hair and she said people would come in and ask for her as their waitress. If you get this message, please contact me. hdirwin@aol.com

  85. I just want to suggest that if you have a restaurant to get your roof checked. I just had some major leakage issues and had to have a lot of work done because I didn’t have it checked earlier.

  86. My grandfather owned Joe’s Broadway on Washington Avenue and 14th Street in Miami Beach from circa 1934 to 1951. It was a restaurant similar to Wolfie’s in menu. According to my mother, business went down when larger restaurants like Wolfie’s opened closer to the newer hotels further north.

    I’d love to know if you have any info on Grandpa’s restaurant. Enjoying your blog immensely.

    • Joe’s Broadway was opened by Joe and Dora Perlman sometime after they married in 1931. In 1932 Joe was the manager at the Rosedale Sandwich Shop in Miami. The following year he ran Joe’s Luncheonette. It’s possible that he didn’t move to the 1417 Washington location until 1935 when a directory listed the business as Joe’s Bar and Sandwich Shop. An image from around then shows a Depression Modern front. The couple also had a business called Little River Cut Rate Liquor Store. I believe Dora acted as hostess at the restaurant and that at their peak they entertained celebrities such as Clark Gable. An advertising slogan was “Where Everybody Meets.” In the 1940s their place was referred to as a Delicatessen Restaurant and in 1948 they ran an advertisement for a “Full Course Passover Dinner Including Wine.” At that time they were open seven days a week from 9 AM until 2 AM, having cut back from their old 24/7 schedule. Like other Miami “sandwich shops,” their menu included dishes such as Stuffed Cabbage, Corned Beef and Cabbage, and Gefilte Fish (but also Fried Shrimp).

      • That’s Great! Thanks…

        Joe’s Luncheonette — which was in Miami, on Biscayne Boulevard & 11th street — was opened sometime around late 1929 or 1930. With the repeal of prohibition, they converted it into a bar, and eventually began selling package liquors. They expanded into the liquor stores shortly thereafter. (Among their customers was the caretaker of Al Capone’s house on Star Island).

        Shortly after they sold the bar, and opened on the beach (circa 1934). They were initially in a smaller spot on Washington Avenue, and then moved two doors down into the spot where they were for the rest of the time.

      • Herb

        Hi-I’m another grandson (“4 corners” is my brother). I’d be interested in knowing some of your sources for the information about our grandparents, if you’re willing to share it. I can tell some might be from Googling various newspapers, but I never before heard about the Little River Cut Rate Liquor Store, for example. I’m interested in researching this history further, so any info or hints are appreciated — Thanks

  87. Steve

    I grew up in Miami Beach from the 1930s to the mid 50s, when Lincoln Road was still a thoroughfare for cars. What I remember most about Wolfie’s was the incredible cheese Danish!

    • Anonymous

      My dad saved for several years to take my mom, brother and myself to Miami. We stayed at the Normandy Hotel, where I fell and broke my wrist. But my dad remembered the cheese danish at Wolfies for 50 years afterwards. He would always grin and chuckle when he thought of that time. How sad it’s gone.

    • abc

      Do you remember Rosedale’s delicatessen?

  88. Awesome Post!

    There was even a Wolfy’s in Chicago – although I’m not sure it was the off-spring of the original because it’s spelled differently… But it was the site of a notorious incident involving my best friend’s dad who, after many years of hard work, rising from the poor side of town, celebrated the culmination of a life-long dream by becoming the proud owner of a Cadillac.

    After picking up the car from the dealership he drove directly to Wolfies celebrate with a pair of ketchup-free hot dog and fries with his son. They no sooner placed their order, when their hour-old pride and joy was sideswiped by a larger, black Caddy driven by a fat man smoking a cigar. Who tried to drive off. My friend’s twelve year old brother ran after the guy and they got him to stop.

    The next week the dream car was traded in for a station wagon. They never bought another fancy status car again…. http://www.wolfyshotdogs.com/

    The place is still there for those who enjoy tube steak!

  89. Anonymous

    In Margaret Salinger’s biography of her famous father, J.D. Salinger she recalls their visits to the Wolfie’s in Fort Lauderdale when she and her siblings were still kids and how special it was to get a “Shirley Temple” while the grown-ups got real cocktails. I’m not sure if the Wolfie’s on Collins in Miami Beach served cocktails, but the one in Lauderdale definitely did.

    • Anonymous

      I was a waitress at Ft Lauderdale in 1974 – they had a bar & lounge & served coctails -I made a lot of money as a 19 year old girl back then – they were some great times!!!!

  90. Craig

    Recently, I watched that new Starz series “Magic City”, and Wolfie’s makes an appearance; not only can you briefly see an image of it in the opening credits (which I’m fairly certain is the same photograph used above), but a character mentions it by name in the season finale when he brings food from there.

    Only today did I decide to do some research on this apparently famous restaurant, and that’s how I found your site! Looking forward to looking through it more!

  91. Martha B. Suarez

    I could never forget Wolfie’s. Every summer my parents would rent at the same hotel in Collins Avenue, ‘South Seas Hotel’. Our favorite & special restaurant was Wolfie’s because of it’s amazing cheesecakes. As an adult I visited Wolfie’s to discover that their Macaroons were the best ever. Also, one of the things that brought me back to memory in reference to this historical restaurant was one year ago when my mother passed of Pancreatic Cancer. I began to cry so hard as my memory took me to my childhood days when we would rent at Miami Beach, & visit Wolfie’s I really miss the historical Wolfie’s, as well as those memorable days at Miami Beach.

  92. David Pender

    There was a Wolfie’s in Lake Worth too. It was near the North end of Dixie Hwy. Some friends and I were there as part of an all-nighter before I went into the Navy the next day – Sept., 1963. There was another table full of people we knew there and we joined up with them. One of them was going into the Navy the next day too. We wound up in the same company. Fun times. Wolfie’s had monstrous ice cream sundaes I didn’t notice being mentioned above.

  93. Mark Burgh

    As a child, I spent many a summer breakfast at Wolfie’s or Pumperniks, but when I returned to Miami in 1999, I discovered to my dismay that they were gone. I was heartbroken. I remember the amazing onion rolls.

    • You know when it comes to recipes I’ve been told that Epicure’s food in Miami is as good if not better … possibly some of the ingredients in the food that you used to eat there had ingredients you would not want to use now (chicken fat??) just saying…. would love to hear stories of how it looked and how it was ….try Epicure on Miami Beach for new versions of old favorites.

    • Cherry Tumino

      Yes, i went to Wolfies every summer from age 5(1961) to about age 10 when we spent 2 weeks at the Traymore Hotel. It was not known as South Beach then. I went back with my kids in 2004 and it was all boarded up. We had to go to the new Wolfies in North Miami. Not the same.

    • Janice

      I have a menu from Wolfie’s! A sandwich was $1.75! Anyone want to purchase this, let me know! jassie44@hotmail.com

    • Charles Eldredge

      The onion pockets were my favorites! Loved the salt sticks too!

  94. Karen Londer

    Could someone tell me the receipe for Wolfie’s French Toast? Best I ever had. Can’t find any thing close.

  95. Julie

    Thanks for this write-up. I kept wondering what this Wolfies was that the Golden Girls kept referring to!

    • Anonymous

      Yes I was wondering the VERY SAME THING. I LOVE the GG and always hear them referring to Wolfies, so I GOOGLE Wolfies, Miami, and here is where I landed. Born & Raised in NY, sounds like Delis I grew up with?!

  96. Great site… looking for menus or pics from old Kosher or Jewish Style Restaurant/Delis in the Miami area for a historical piece and surfed in..you have a great blog.

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Thank you, Irwin! Yes, you can pre-order it from me, direct (sbramson@bellsouth.net) or from thehistorypress.net or it is already on amazon. Go to amazon.com and don’t click on books and don’t click on auhors, just put my name–Seth Bramson–on the home page search line and hit “enter” and then you will see the front cover of the book. All the best. Seth.

    • Seth H. Bramson

      Hello, Bobbi. The Bramson Archive is the largest private collection of Miami memorabilia and Floridiana in America. Pls contact me OFF LIST at sbramson@bellsouth.net with some kind of a list of your needs.

  97. Joe

    Where did you find that first picture of the outside of Wolfies? I’d love to find more information on the photographer..

  98. meowomon

    Can anyone tell me the recipe for the chicken liver and onions at Wolfies in Miami? The absolute best I’ve ever had in my entire life.

  99. terri

    Could you please give me the stuffed cabbage recipe from Wolfie Cohen Rascals house?

  100. Pingback: Today's Celebrity Gossip » Blog Archive » Famous in its day: Wolfie's | Restaurant-ing through history

Leave a Reply to Seth H. Bramson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.