‘The Warmest Memories’: Community Mourns Suburban House

(Andy Belt)

After nearly eight decades in business, Suburban House (formerly known as S&H) restaurant, has closed its doors.

On Dec. 27, when a reporter visited the restaurant, the doors of the establishment at 1700 Reisterstown Road were locked with a closed sign in the window.

The restaurant was originally founded as S&H by Henry H. Cohen and his brother, Sydney, in 1939. Suburban House’s most recent owner, Mark Horowitz, bought the restaurant in 1985 and operated it until the end.

Horowitz, who has been the restaurant’s sole owner since 2014, says that “it’s with a heavy heart” he had to close the business.

“I really can’t comment because of a legal [matter],” he said. “I have to protect the integrity of the people involved. Because I’ve owned that restaurant for 34 years, it’s heartbreaking that I had to do that, but a whole lot of factors go into it. It was my life, but situations change.”

Though Horowitz left exact details scarce as of press time, he did note that the current restaurant was twice the size of its previous Reisterstown Road location, which closed after a fire in 2009, and that rent had increased.

Longtime customers recalled the restaurant’s family-friendly atmosphere and legendary community status, and mourned for their favorite dishes from the Jewish deli-style restaurant, from the matzoh ball soup to rainbow cookies.

Cindy McWilliams Schuster of Manchester remembered past family celebrations held at the Suburban House.

“The three-way bagel with lox and whitefish salad was my fav [sic],” she wrote on the JT’s Facebook page. “The Yiddish placemats made me smile, the soup was perfect when not feeling well and the sense of little change and [it] being a community place will be missed.”

Courtney Bluefeld of Baltimore had similar family memories there.

“[I] went with my grandparents Ruth and Harlem Schloss at least once a week until the early 2000s,” Bluefeld wrote on Facebook. “[We] had the same waitresses over the years who remembered me as a child and then met my children … I never had to worry about my babies being loud because everyone welcomed them and of course, they always got a free rainbow cookie! The greatest childhood memories and the original matzoh ball soup cannot be duplicated! A favorite!! [It] was never the same after the move but I will forever have the warmest memories of S&H, as my grandparents called it.”

In February 2017, the JT reported that a class-action lawsuit was filed by three former employees in the U.S. District Court of Maryland in November 2016. They claimed that Horowitz failed to pay employees at least $3.63 per hour, the pre-tipped minimum wage required by Maryland’s Fair Labor Standards Act.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Howard B. Hoffman, said that the case was ultimately dismissed from the court, but that they plan to take further action against Horowitz.

“I’d say it was undeserved win,” Hoffman said of the case. “If you look at the papers that were filed in the case, you get a sense for why it should never have been dismissed at the pre-discovery stage. The court refused to consider any testimony and didn’t consider the defendants’ own admissions that they owed, at least one of the workers, money. We’ve got it up in the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and we’re looking to reverse it.”

Horowitz’s attorney, Melanie Glickson, withdrew from the case in May, according to court documents.

Horowitz remembers his customers fondly.

“I loved the people that came in, they’re family,” he said. “When you deal with five generations of people, they become part of your life. Those are the relationships that keep you going. I’m very good-hearted, I love people and I love to show it. That’s what makes a mark in society. It’s not about how much money you make. It’s all about people.”

This story is developing.


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