Last Lums has closed 53 years after chain began
By Marcia Heroux Pounds Sun Sentinel
3:26 p.m. EDT, July 2, 2009
The Lums restaurant in Davie, the last of a franchise of 500 restaurants nationwide, has closed.
Once a South Florida fixture, Lums was founded by the Perlman family, who opened their first Lums in Miami Beach in 1956. The chain was so successful, and popular with college crowds in the 1960s and 1970s, that the corporation went public, listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The company later bought Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Known for its trademark hot dogs steamed in beer and the "Ollie," a hamburger with special spices, Lums became a franchise, with South Florida locations in Hallandale Beach and on Lincoln Road.
The Perlmans sold the company in 1970 to John Y. Brown of Kentucky Fried Chicken, according to South Florida resident Scott Perlman, son of Stuart Perlman, who co-founded the family business with Scott's uncle Clifford. Scott's mother, Harriet, grandfather Bernard and grandmother Ethel all once worked at the restaurant.
"It brings back memories," said Perlman, who was among the nostalgic customers who gathered Sunday for the final day of business at the Davie location. The contents of the 32-year-old building, filled with memorabilia and Tiffany lamps, was sold at auction this week.
The Davie restaurant was owned for 30 years by Ernst and Rita Underecker. After Ernst's death, Rita sold the restaurant in January to Toula Amanna, who said she will continue the famous menu items when she opens the Flashback Diner at 4125 SW 64th Ave. in October.
"It's kind of sad. A lot of people came on the last day who have been coming for 30 years," Amanna said. But it was time for a change, she said, because "young people didn't even know" Lums.
When it closed, Lums had employed 12 people, some of whom had worked at the restaurant for nearly 30 years. The new 24-hour Flashback Diner plans to hire about 45 employees this fall, Amanna said.
The Flashback Diner received a $100,000 grant from the city of Davie to help renovate the former Lums.
"It's a diamond in the rough," Amanna said.
Marcia Heroux Pounds can be reached at mpounds@SunSentinel.com or 561-243-6650.
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