Robby Morgenstein grew up in Baltimore’s large suburban Jewish community. Robby says that in his home, a “huge” fish platter (along with Frank Sinatra on the radio) was standard Sunday morning fare. Going into the restaurant business was a good fit for Robby. His grandparents were kosher caterers; his mother worked for them and a cousin owned the venerable (and still thriving) Attman’s Delicatessen downtown, and another cousin owned Miller’s deli in northwest Baltimore.
Robby moved west when he was in his 20s (“I was young, I was bored,” he says). After working as a chef, he opened Miller’s East Coast Delicatessen in San Francisco in August 2001. But an aging building, construction woes and, soon enough, 9/11 created insurmountable problems. Miller’s East Coast West lasted three years. But Robby resolved that he would learn from past mistakes when the new Miller’s opened in 2004 at 1725 Polk St., Robby was determined to do things right. “From the day it began,” he says, “it was a whole different ballgame.”
Not only did revenues climb dramatically, but Robby also settled on East Coast food purveyors for standards, such as bagels (from Long Island, N.Y.) and smoked fish (from Brooklyn). “We’re getting the exact same fish that they do at Zabar’s,” he says, referring to the famous food store in New York City.
Robby, a Novato resident who tends goats, chickens and a vegetable garden by his home, favors local food sources when possible for his restaurants, as well as locally brewed beers.
Restaurant Realty had the opportunity of putting together Robby’s very successful second Miller’s East Coast Deli which opened this year in January in Montecito Plaza Shopping Center in San Rafael at the former Pasta Pomodoro site.
We wish Robby continued success in all his future endeavors and we look forward to working with him in the future.