ROTHMANN’S STEAKHOUSE – EAST NORWICH, NY LANDMARK

Rothmann Restaurant

 

 

Rothmann’s Restaurant is a famous landmark in the small town of East Norwich, NY located at the corner of Route 106 and Route 25A. It was originally established in 1907 by the Rothman family of Oyster Bay, NY.

 

However, its long history went back to 1851 when it was built by Andrew C. Hegeman and called East Norwich Hotel. The East Norwich post office was located there at one time, then it became the Town of Oyster Bay meeting place.

 

After the Civil War, the hotel was sold to Halstead Frost and Richard Downing who renamed it the Osceola Hotel. In 1887, they sold the hotel to Henry Acker who changed the name back to East Norwich Hotel. In 1891, it was sold to James Hurrell of Brooklyn and changed the name to Hurrell House. In 1897 Hurrell returned to Brooklyn and sold it to John Nurnberg and changed the name back again to East Norwich Hotel. Nurnberg operated the hotel till March 1906 when he sold it to Peter Hoffman. Hoffman sold it to Charles Rothmann in August 1907.

 

Charles and Franziska Rothmann invested their life saving and opened Rothmann’s Restaurant in East Norwich with Franziska doing all the cooking. They lived on the second floor with their six children. After the first World War, the three oldest boys, Charles Jr, Paul and Peter joined the business and continued the tradition of serving fine food and drink in a setting that was both comfortable yet felt pampered. Their reputation spread beyond East Norwich and celebrities were seen dining there. They attracted a loyal following of notable politicians and well-heeled socialites. Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th president used to dine there when he was in town.

East Norwich Inn by TripAdvisor.com

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor.com

 

After the three boys passed away, the wife of Peter together with the nieces took over. The Rothmann’s family owned the place till 1970 when they sold it to Burt Bacharach, the singer, and his wife, actress Angie Dickinson who began running the inn. They built East Norwich Inn, the only hotel in town that sits behind Rothmann’s Restaurant. There were plans to open a small shopping mall behind Rothmann’s and close the East Norwich Inn. Luckily because of the economic downturn at that time, that plan was put on hold.

 

Burt Bacharach owned Rothmann’s for a few years and then it was sold several times and the façade was changed. The 1851 building was razed in 1995 to build a western style steakhouse. Then a Greek Restaurant emerged. That did not last long either. It was sort of not in keeping with the tradition. Then it changed hands again and another renovation took place. All through these changes, Gloria O’Rourke, one of the Rothmann’s children who was the Editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian, a local paper, kept watch and wrote something about the good times at the Old Rothmann’s.

 

The new Rothmann’s sported a cupola which the old Rothmann’s did not have. However, the food is still excellent as ever though a little bit on the expensive side. I took my children there for their birthdays while they were in high school and broke the bank but it was all worth it. In 2007, while working as a real estate agent at Century 21 Laffey Associates, I won a dinner for two on a For Sale by Owner Contest. I took my husband there. It was a very special dinner and cost my office $160.

 

I remember my mother-in-law used to take my husband and me to Rothmann’s every Sunday night during the summer in the early 70s when she was residing in town. She wintered in New York city. Since we were a regular, we sat on the same table at the corner across from the bar every Sunday. We had this German waiter who used to work at LaGrange Inn in West Islip and attended to us every week. He knew our names, where to sit us, what drink to serve us and what to order. We ate the same thing every Sunday. My mother-in-law gave generous tip to the waiter and always paid cash. She did not own a credit card and did not want one.

As Gloria O’Rourke would say and it was her favorite expression, “Those were the days.”

Sources:

Oyster Bay Remembered by John E. Hammond

www.activerain.com

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan

 

 

Some Prominent People from Long Island

Long Island has its own share of prominent people who have called Long Island their home. Here is a list of those people who had made a name for themselves and have lived in Long Island for most of their lives or part of it.

Gone but not forgotten:

Oleg Cassini

Oleg Cassini – Couturier most notably for First Lady Jacquiline Kennedy. (Oyster Bay Cove, NY)

William Floyd

William Floyd – Signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Brookhaven, NY)

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock – Winner of 1983 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for her work on the genetic structure of maize. (Huntington, NY)

Robert Moses

Robert Moses – Master Builder for building major buildings, roads, highways, bridges, parks, etc. which change the face of New York state. (Summer Home – Gilgo Beach, LI)

Jacquiline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – Former First Lady of the U.S. (Southampton, NY)

Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt – 26th President of the U.S. (Oyster Bay, NY)

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany – Stained Glass artist. (Laurel Hollow, NY)

William Kissam Vanderbilt II

William Kissam Vanderbilt II  – An avid collector of natural history and marine specimens as well as other anthropological objects for his Marine Museum. (Centerport, NY)

Consuelo Vanderbilt

Consuelo Vanderbilt – Vanderbilt heiress whose mother Alva married her  to indebted, titled Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough, chatelain of Blenheim Palace for the royal title in exchange for a marriage settlement of $2.5 million (approximately $67.7 million in 2015) in railroad stocks. (Southampton, NY)

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman – Poet of “Leaves of Grass”, “O Captain, My Captain” and others. (Huntington, NY)

 

Still living with us:

Billy Joel

Billy Joel – Entertainer (Centre Island, NY)

One of his songs is titled “Rosalinda” (not me, his mother).

 

Mort Kunstler

Mort Kunstler – Civil War Painter (Oyster Bay Cove, NY)

I love his paintings. I have two books about his Civil War Arts and own two of his prints shown below:

IMG_2870

 

IMG_2871

Until next time. Let’s keep on exploring.

Rosalinda

Oyster Bay – A Pearl of a Place

TR statue in OB 2

Oyster Bay, a small picturesque town on a peninsula on the North Shore of Long Island is a destination.  During the summer time, you will see plenty of cars heading north on Route 106 and you wonder where all these people are going.  But it is not a surprise that people flock to this tiown because Oyster Bay has a lot to offer the residents and visitors alike.  Besides the beautiful beaches, Oyster bay has magnificent parks, arboretum, museums – Raynham Hall and Earle-Wightman House of the Oyster Bay Historical Society and the Oyster Bay Festival in the Fall is one to be reckoned with.

Oyster Bay is rich in culture and history.  Back in 1639 when a Dutch navigator named David DeVries decided to settle here, he found an abundance of oysters and maybe that is the reason they decided to name the community Oyster Bay.  Another theory is because of the shape of the Oyster Bay Harbor as it was shown in a 1674 map of Long Island.  While DeVries is credited with the naming of Oyster Bay, an English settler named Peter Wright made the first purchase of land in Oyster Bay in 1653 from Chief Mohanes of the Matinecock Indians in what was known as Town Spot which is where the village of Oyster Bay is now.  It is also interesting to know that George Washington “slept here” during his tour of Long Island in 1790 as a guest of the Youngs family in Oyster Bay.

OB 1910

South Street, Circa 1910

Downtown OB Today

South Street Today

The town of Oyster Bay is Teddy Roosevelt town.  Everywhere you look, there is a footprint of Teddy Roosevelt.  There is a park called Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and the elementary school is named Roosevelt Elementary School.  Teddy Roosevelt had his summer White House here at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay Cove from 1902 to 1908; he worshiped at Christ Church in Oyster Bay; he had an office at the Moore Bldg (the building on the right of the photo with a turret) in Oyster Bay and received phone calls at Snouder’s Drug Store (the store on the left with the awnings).  He participated at the Fourth of July parade here on South Street and rode the Long Island Railroad in Oyster Bay.

Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill, the summer White House during TR’s presidency.

As you enter the Village of Oyster Bay, you are greeted by a statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback by A. Phiminster Proctor across from the Boys and Girls Club of Oyster Bay.  There is also a bust of Teddy Roosevelt in front of the Town Hall.

TR statue in OB

With the migration of people from New York City to the Town of Oyster Bay, the town is changing but there are still plenty of old Victorian homes in the village which keep the small, quaint town atmosphere.  Oyster Bay is one of the most attractive places to live, work and play in Long Island, New York.