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Arthur Horowitz, 85, founder of Junior's restaurant chain

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Feb 4, 2003, 12:35:22 AM2/4/03
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Arthur Horowitz, 85, founder of Junior's restaurant chain
BY ANA VALDES
ava...@herald.com

Arthur Horowitz served lump crab meat cocktails and double rib lamb chops to
more than 2,400 weekly frequenters of his Miami venue, Arthur's Eating
House.

On Friday, the 85-year-old Coconut Grove resident died of cardiac arrest.

Horowitz, born in New York City, followed his father's love for the
restaurant business by establishing several South Florida dining hot spots,
including the Junior's Restaurant chain, known for its roast beef and
fruit-topped cheesecakes.

''He was extremely capable. The standards were high, but he never
complained,'' said Horowitz's wife of 58 years, Bernice ''Bunny'' Horowitz,
who remembers her husband's endless hours working at his restaurants.

After his tenure in the Army during World War II, Horowitz and his wife
settled in Miami Beach in the late 1940s.

In 1948, Horowitz, along with then-business partner Paul Grossinger, opened
the first Junior's, on Collins and 30th Street in Miami Beach, the first of
five restaurants that eventually created the Junior's food chain in South
Florida.

''[Junior's] was really wonderful, ahead of the time. It was consistently
excellent,'' Bunny Horowitz said. ``It was melt-in-your-mouth food.''

Junior's was open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks. When
all five restaurants were open, the chain served about 25,000 diners a day,
Bunny Horowitz said.

Junior's was open until 1968, when Horowitz sold the chain to Longchamps, a
New York-based corporation.

Selling Junior's, however, did not mark an end to Horowitz's passion for
good food. He worked with Longchamps for a while, building several
restaurants for the company in the early 1970s, but eventually left that
project to embark on a new dining adventure -- Arthur's Eating House at
Biscayne Boulevard and 15th Street, founded in 1980.

''He loved that place,'' Bunny Horowitz said.

The restaurant, besides serving mushroom barley soup, had an extensive art
collection and often featured entertainment by performers such as jazz
artists Shirley Horn and John Eaton and pianist Monty Alexander.

''[Arthur] was the quintessential restaurateur in the city for many years.
Everybody knew him and his restaurants -- his claim to fame,'' said Donald
Lifton, Horowitz's closest friend for 30 years.

Some of Arthur's frequent diners also recall the restaurant's distinct foods
and architecture, with modern art that decorated its walls and tables.

''We used to go there for lunch a lot. I was just sorry to see it go,'' said
Calvin Schofield, former bishop of the Episcopalian Diocese of Southeast
Florida, who would often visit Arthur's for meals.

The restaurant closed in 1986.

In the mid-1990s, Horowitz and his wife created The Original Junior's Take
Home at Northeast 203rd Street and U.S. 1.

Bunny Horowitz said her husband envisioned a business where products were
made fresh within the store's walls. But the idea was unsuccessful, Bunny
Horowitz said.

When not behind the counter supervising meal orders or away on business
trips to select award-winning cattle for his restaurants, Horowitz was an
active member of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, where he served as a
member of the executive committee.

''Arthur was someone who cared deeply about the Jewish community here and
elsewhere,'' said Michael Adler, campaign chairman for the Jewish
Federation.

Besides his wife, Horowitz is survived by sons Jeffrey, Steven and James
Horowitz; brother Herbert Horowitz; sister Marilyn Belle; and five
grandchildren.

Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. today at Riverside-Gordon Funeral Home,
1920 Alton Rd., Miami Beach.


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