The Suburban House restaurant — a kosher-style Pikesville landmark known for its matzo ball soup, smoked deli meats and fish, and chicken-in-a-pot — closed permanently last week, owner Mark Horowitz said.
The restaurant closed on Friday, he said, but he declined to discuss the circumstances. He planned to meet with his attorney to discuss the situation, but had no plans to reopen it as of Tuesday.
“I don’t want to discuss anything further until I go to my attorney,” Horowitz said.
The Suburban House, which moved to the Pomona Square shopping center on Reisterstown Road after a fire at its previous location on the same road in 2009, once enjoyed the status of a social club in the Pikesville area. Regular customers had “their” tables, knew all the wait staff by name and went from table to table greeting one another.
“For elderly customers in particular, it was a social lifeline,” The Sun reported in an article about the fire.
Customers ordered the lox omelets and challah French toast for brunch, or hot pastrami sandwiches, matzo ball soup and “coddies” — cakes of cod and potato on crackers with mustard — for lunch or dinner.
The restaurant sold as many as 50 of the coddies each day and made them fresh every hour, it said in a Facebook post. Cars idled, waiting for spaces, in the old restaurant’s back parking lot on busy Saturday nights. The paper placemats featured a joke “Dictionary of Basic Yiddish,” with humorous definitions of common Yiddish words and phrases.
“It was an institution in Pikesville; anyone 40 or older remembers it well,” said Jeff Karlin, who has owned Miller’s Deli in Greenspring Shopping Center for eight years. “As a businessman in the same industry, I’m very sorry to see it go. We wish Mark and his staff all the best.”
Karlin said he hadn’t visited the new location as much, but was a frequent customer of the old one and had “nothing but fond memories.”
“It felt like home,” Karlin said. “You knew all the waiters and waitresses. Growing up, it was definitely a part of life in Pikesville.”
Horowitz and a co-owner bought the Suburban House in 1984 from the founders, brothers Sidney and Henry Cohen, who opened in the mid-1960s.
Former employees sued the restaurant in 2016, alleging that it failed to pay minimum and overtime wages. An attorney for the plaintiffs said Tuesday the lawsuit had been dismissed, but the plaintiffs have filed an appeal.
Howard Hoffman, the Rockville attorney representing the former employees, said he believed there had been “no developments in the case that would put any pressure on Mr. Horowitz to close his business.”
The plaintiffs plan to follow through with the lawsuit against Horowitz despite the restaurant’s closure, Hoffman said.
“We’re going to continue to pursue our appellate options, even if the doors close,” he said.