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The Rascal House and Pumpernik's (Miami)

  • j

I can't be the only person to have fond memories of these two Miami delis...I suspect some of you hit these places while visiting grandparents between games of shuffleboard and cups of coconut milk.

Are they still in business? Are they still good?

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  1. In a word, No. Quality went down years ago. Wolfie's is probably the best out of them, and even they aren't too great. But they still stand in line for rascal house. Pumperniks closed that was in North Miami, and reopened I think in Hallandale somewhere, but it's pretty lousy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve



        How come it closed up? It truly was the best of the best, especially their chocolate babka. I'd love to know why they are no longer in business. Thanks in advance for your reply.

    2. s
      Steve Plotnicki

      Jim-I hit Rascal House for at least one meal when I'm in Miami with the wife and kids during their spring break. It hasn't changed at all over the years. In fact, last President's Day weekend I had a killer Cabbage Soup with Flanken there. Sometimes they're out of whole sour pickles which sort of changes the whole experience. They also have one of the best rice puddings around. It isn't the creamy stuff you get in Greek diners but more like a Gateau de Riz you would get in France. A large square of rice, eggs and vanilla
      held together with corn starch.

      1. I have many fond memories of the Rascal House dating back to the mid '60's. But alas, times change. I was in Fl. last March and went back for the first time in 3-5 years. Just 2 examples of how the Rascal has gone downhill...1)they used to have machine that made fresh Oj right upfront. It's gone and the Oj must have been made hours before. And this in Fl! The rolls/bread basket is no longer as fresh or as generous as it used to be . 3)1 more, I couln't get Matzobrei in March! The off season? What a shonda, the real death of a famous and original, Jewish Diner.

        4 Replies
        1. re: IVAN STOLER

          Freshness/generosity of roll basket was the cornerstone of the whole darned place. I'm in mourning.

          1. re: Jim Leff

            Sorry to read all the negetivity about Rascal House. Just had a wonderful chicken in the pot at the Boca Rascals and have enjoyed the hot onion rolls and miniature danishes and other rolls at breakfeast time. Just stay away from the older ny wiseguys who belittle the place and as they say in ny, "enjoy"

            1. re: Dr. Joel
              Vital Information

              I too love Rascal House and wear my rascal tee incessantly. It's been about 8 months since my last visit, but it was pretty darn good then. we ate post dedication of my mother-in-law's tombstone. rascal house soothed.

              My favorite (normal) time to hit Rascal House is right at the cusp of breakfast and lunch. I order the herring as you will see why in a second. I enjoy the mini-danish as a prelude. I diddle-dawdle when the herring arrives until they start replacing the bread trays with the pickle bowls. Now, i start begging for the pickles at our table even though they do not like to do that. i seldom get the full panalopy of beets/cole slaw/cucumber/tomatos, but enough to side with the great herring, herring being a food that fits equally well with sweets and sours.

              A big bonus, for me at least when going to Rascal House, is cruising Collins for all that wonderous mid-century designs. Sadly, the small hotels are being destroyed for massive apartment complexes. The same movement that saved the art deco district needs to do the same thing to save the "modern" district.


          2. re: IVAN STOLER

            Sorry to hear about the basket, we are planning a trip to Miami and were looking forward to going to the Rascal House. Hope we are not disapointed.

          3. f


            1. Date: Feb 2006 = Last week, the two restaurants called the Wolfie Cohens Rascal House was closed (by it mediocure SoBe competitor and majority owner, Jerrys Famous Deli).

              Rascal House was located in N Miami Beach, now called Sunny Isles, and Boca.

              Pumpernicks in Miami and Hallandale has been closed for years..and one that opened in Hollywood/Penbroke Pines area didn't last long.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KenK


              2. Okay, this thread is OLD, but in the interest of accuracy the Rascal House on Collins in Sunny Isles Beach is NOT closed!!!

                The Rascal House in BOCA has closed, but the original Rascal House in Sunny Isles is open and still going strong.

                No, it's not like it used to be, but it's still decent, and a true blast from the past.

                4 Replies
                1. re: FtL220

                  Did another restaurant go into the Rascal House's Boca location?

                  1. re: Egregious

                    I think that's where Seasons 52 went.

                    1. re: zook

                      no..seasons 52 is in the old monty's location. nothing is in the rascal house space. by the way seasons is a really silly concept that seems to be very popular...for no reason that i can figure out.

                      1. re: dickinboca

                        I couldn't agree with you more.

                2. I just want to reiterate that the original Rascal House on Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles is still open, and going strong. I ate lunch there three weeks ago, and it was very good. However, they no longer bring you overflowing baskets of rolls as soon as you sit down. They only come with certain meals now, and they did NOT come with my sandwich. I had to ask nicely for them, and then I was charged three bucks on top of that! I was pretty peeved. We missed breakfast hours, so I was disappointed they didn't have any danishes left either -- I wouldn't have minded paying a bit extra for those.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                    I do hate revising old threads (although that's what the search function is for), but this one is topical. Is the Pumpernik's on Federal Highway in Lighthouse Point still open? I was there not even a year ago, mostly for the onsite Swensen's. But I am unable to find any reference to it on the internet.

                    1. re: Fibber McGee

                      Fibber, it's gone. There is a fishing store in that location now.

                      1. re: Mauslein

                        Thanks. Oh, well. No more Swensen's ice cream.

                  2. Just a sad note. Rascal House will be closing this coming sunday forever. Done. Finished. Dead. Gone.

                      1. re: AssociEat

                        I was seven years old, eating at Rascal House with my parents and Russian-Jewish grandparents (who, of course, lived down there).

                        Some loudmouth in the booth in back of us was carrying on: "I put THREE MILLION into that one, and it more than doubled! I'm about to throw in another two million...".

                        My ancient grandfather turned around, wearily, and, in his thick Yiddish accent, interrupted to say "Excuse me, sonny boy: talk in t'ousands; dere's POOR people here!"

                        Anyway, that's my Rascal House story. R.I.P.

                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          I first went to Rascal House 28 years ago when I was an infant. Wolfie, the owner, knew my Grandparents and had the waiter prop me up in the middle of the table like a centerpiece. I was placed in the middle of the table, gumming a bagel strung around my neck, watching the mountains of corned beef and towers of meringue go by, until I could properly take my own seat at the table.

                          I went religiously to breakfast with my Grandpa every Saturday - until he passed away. My Grandfather, who lived for years without proper nutrition in the camps and Aushwitz, would look upon the heaping platters of sweets and breads traditionally placed upon the table with what seemed to be a combination of awe and relief.

                          I will never forget this place or the effect it had on the people I love. I hope there's pastrami in heaven.

                          1. re: jessierandall

                            Yeah, the bread baskets at Wolfie's places were truly a wonderment - particularly the breakfast bread basket at his Pumpernik's restaurants, which included little danishes and muffins, all for free.

                            For many many years, I've been subconsciously disappointed by every subsequent bread basket. I guess the kid in me secretly hopes to find all that variety and quality. But, of course, there never is.

                            1. re: Jim Leff

                              << Yeah, the bread baskets at Wolfie's places were truly a wonderment - particularly the breakfast bread basket at his Pumpernik's restaurants, which included little danishes and muffins, all for free. >>

                              Actually, Wolfie's and Pumps were competitors - Pumpernik's was owned by the Linksman family.

                              Rascal House was always a bit of a hype - they used to close down rooms to ensure a long line outside, which made the place look busier than it actually was. This went on for years, even during its peak.

                              I was always a Pumpernik's guy...ate there, later worked there and even met my wife there (through her mother). We used to get all the stars from The Deauville during the season - Milton Berle, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jan Murray, etc. The place is gone now, and a Walgreen's drugstore resides on the block where Pump's once stood.


                              1. re: kingrex

                                I'm not sure what happened to ownership in later years, but Wolfie Cohen definitely founded Pumperniks. http://www.miamisunpost.com/archives/...

                                The room closing makes sense. Yeah, I definitely recall shuttered wings.

                                Man. You broke mandelbread with Sammy. Or at least in the same room. I'm jealous. Have you noticed an elevated grooviness level in yourself?

                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                  Well, according to that cat, man, Wolfie founded Pumpernik's, but I'm not sure he has the right info - probably wasn't even born at that time. FWIW, nobody in my house remembers Wolfie owning Pump's. (and please note the hep lingo - I'm definitely groovy)

                                  My wife was riding with 2 girlfriends one night on The Beach, and Sammy Davis pulled up next to them at a traffic light. They went nuts, rolled down the windows and started carrying on. Sammy rolled down his window and invited them to the party he was headed to. Unfortunately, the girl driving lost Sammy's limo at a traffic light!


                          2. re: Jim Leff

                            LOL..that's a keeper. I think the entertainment in (old) Miami Beach outshone the cuisine at any of those places. Between hearing exchanges like that and watching....certain customers...klepto the sugar, sweet-n-lo, silverware, salt & pepper shakers as they left made for nary a dull moment.

                            1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston


                              The New York Times article references all the nostalgic people who bought the signs and photos and shelled out $25 for a copy of the menu on the last day...

                              It's all on ebay now!

                              Check out Item number: 120244737916

                              Over $200 for Wolfie & RH menus...


                              1. re: advisor_Girl

                                I'd pay more than that for one more bread basket........

                            2. re: Jim Leff

                              if only i could take your grandfather along to some of my dinners ...

                              1. re: howler

                                Yeah, right, Howler....where the talk's in billions and someone indignantly insists people talk in millions cuz there's poor people around.

                                Not quite the same.....