The Sarasota market is getting a new entry in New York style and Jewish-themed delis, with the opening of The Original Wolfie’s Deli scheduled for later this week.
The Original Wolfie’s Deli and a night-time sister concept, Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House, are set to open Thursday, Nov. 2, according to a statement, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is at 1420 Boulevard of the Arts in the Rosemary District, just north of downtown Sarasota.
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 YourObserver.com, 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 restaurants.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Shenker, according to a statement, has curated “a medley of favorites from the country’s most historic delis, including South Florida’s renowned Wolfie’s, Pumpernik’s and the Rascal House, Miami’s Epicure Market and Southern California’s Jerry’s Famous Deli” for the Sarasota eateries.
“Our goal is to create a warm, welcoming, lively atmosphere, just like the traditional delis,” says Shenker in the release. “We do this for the love of the food – the highest quality pastrami, brisket, bagels and lox – and now we have the privilege of doing it for the love of our community, because it makes people happy. And if it’s done right, we’ll be reminded of our parents and grandparents.”
The building that houses the restaurant is owned by JFD Parent LLC, Sarasota County property records show. That LLC, according to a Florida Department of State database, is managed by Jonathan Mitchell, a Sarasota developer and philanthropist who, along with his wife, Michelle, is involved in several charitable causes in town, including the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation. An investment entity controlled by the Mitchell family owned at least 20% of Jerry’s Famous Deli Inc. in the 2000s, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. Jerry’s Famous operated the Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House in Sunny Isles Beach, outside Miami, which closed in 2008. (Shenker once worked at the Rascal House in Miami, which was a onetime hangout for gangsters like Meyer Lansky — though that was before Shenker's time.)
In addition to The Original Wolfie’s and Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House, The Box Office, down the street at 1454 Boulevard of the Arts, will offer catering services, the release states.