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Sarasota deli that shuttered two days after its debut reopens

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 9:45 a.m. November 17, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
The Original Wolfie’s Deli and Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Original Wolfie’s Deli and Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Image courtesy of Peter Acker
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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The Original Wolfie’s & Rascal in Sarasota, a New York-style and Jewish deli that opened to big fanfare Nov. 2 only to temporarily close two days later due to staffing shortages, has reopened with limited hours.

The reopening, first reported Thursday by the Restaurants in Sarasota Facebook page, was confirmed by an Original Wolfie’s spokesperson Friday morning. The hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and plans are to expand the hours as more staff comes on board and is trained. The spokesperson says no other information was available on the reopening, including a full reopening date.

It’s been a whiplash kind of month for the restaurant, at 1420 Boulevard of the Arts in the Rosemary District, just north of downtown Sarasota.

First came the opening. The restaurateur and chef behind the concepts is Sol Shenker, who garnered a devoted following in Sarasota for his New York deli-style food at several different eateries. Shenker has been living in Colorado, where his wife has been attending veterinary school, according to a story on, sister publication of the Business Observer. Shenker previously operated Sol’s NYC Delicatessen in a former Applebee’s in Main Plaza in downtown Sarasota, among other local restaurants. 

Shenker and the owner of the building that houses the restaurant, an entity connected to Sarasota developer and philanthropist Jonathan Mitchell, planned to bring back not only the Wolfie’s food but also its vibe and brand. That brand was a cultural touchstone in South Florida for decades, with a location in Sunny Isles Beach, outside Miami, that closed in 2008. 

The first two days, which created a sizable buzz in local media and on social media, included long lines and crowds. But from the Thursday opening to the Saturday two days later, the owners decided to close for a bit to get more employees. “We have decided to temporarily close our doors in order to welcome more dedicated and passionate staff into our Wolfie's and Rascal House family,” the restaurant said in a statement. “Our aim is to ensure that every visit is as iconic and seamless as the first.”



Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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