Volume 74, Number 32 | December 15 - 21, 2004

Ratner’s has final blintz blow-out, as new apartment building planned

By Hemmy So

Lower East Side favorite Ratner’s restaurant celebrated its 100th anniversary on Dec. 14, 2004 — proclaimed “Ratner’s Day” by Mayor Bloomberg — by going out with chocolate blintzes and a bang. Hosting a final night of celebration with blintzes and latkes sold at 1905 prices benefiting the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, Ratner’s finished the last chapter in a history filled with visits from the likes of President Franklin Roosevelt, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and rock stars Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead.

But contrary to the press release circulated for the event, subtitled “Delancey Street Location to Be Demolished and Special Commemorative Ceremony to Take Place,” only Ratner’s kitchen area will disappear.

“The building’s not going to be demolished,” said Ratner’s co-owner Robert Harmatz. Instead, a 12-story apartment building will be built over the old kitchen space, while Lansky Lounge, which currently uses the rest of the old restaurant space, will stay intact. Despite the restaurant’s closing and new construction planned, Robert and Fred Harmatz, along with their nephew, will still be in charge and will own the new apartment building. According to Robert Harmatz, “we’re keeping it in the family.”

Ratner’s has, in fact, been closed for a few years, as the local demand for a kosher dairy restaurant had decreased.

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