My grandfather Max Wolf, emigrated from Germany to New York City in 1936. Of all the possessions he brought over from Germany in that crucial and historic move, the TOP HAT was above all his most cherished one. Max's TOP HAT made appearances throughout the history of great family occasions, and would again at his wedding to Betty Lowenstein.

Now as it so happened, Grandma Betty was a certified knockout. And soon Max and Betty had a son they named Gerhard. Following an impactful family visit to the Statue of Liberty, Max & Betty launched the "Liberty Importing Company," a purveyor of imported & exported specialty foods. And little Gerhard Wolf dubbed himself "Jerry."

Then Jerry grew up to marry his very bright and beautiful sweetheart Harriet, wearing the same TOP HAT to his wedding that his father wore to marry his mother. In 1965, Jerry and Harriet moved from New York to Miami where they built a food distribution business they called Monel (for their children Monica and Elliot.) Jerry wore the TOP HAT on one more occasion...at my wedding to Melinda.

TOP HAT is dedicated to my father, my grandfather, and the values they instilled in me which made me who I am today.

- Elliot Wolf
 be nice

Chef Christian

Born and raised in Denmark, Chef Christian started working in a kitchen when he was just 13 years old. Falling hard and fast with the pace of it all, Christian decided to attend Culinary school in Denmark. In 1999, his taste for something new was peaking, so he came to the coastline of South Florida to launch his local career. Christian started his career at Mark’s Las Olas as Executive Chef where he also met his wife. Together, they went onto join the be nice family of restaurants.

 

As part of the original staff at The Foxy Brown, Christian popularized crowd favorites such as the peach salad, the constantly reinvented weekly featured pancakes and Kung Fu Monday.

 

Christian is dad to 5 rescue dogs and a 1 cat.  During his free time, you might find him practicing a little photography as well. Forever a fan of the new, Chef Christian continues to innovate and create fresh items to the delight of our clientele. Welcome Chef Christian to Top Hat Delicatessen.

Julio Rodriguez, General Manager

Originally from New York where he pursued a degree in Architecture and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. As a student, Julio he held a job as a server in the City, little did he know this part-time college job would shape his entire career path. One day a coworker called out sick and Julio was given his first opportunity to step behind the bar, the rest is history.

 

Looking for a change of pace, Julio relocated to Miami in the ‘90s where would begin a career in the hospitality industry as a bartender and eventually move on to hold management positions at several illustrious Miami resorts including the Sheraton Bal Harbor, the Palms South Beach, and the Trump International Beach Resort. Most recently, Julio was part of the opening management team at the St. Regis Bal Harbor as the Director of Food and Beverages. During this time he married his now wife of 17 years and became father to his two lovely girls ages 2 ½ and 10 years old.

 

When Elliot called and asked him to join the be nice team as General Manager of Top Hat Deli. Julio energetically took the position, excited to have to opportunity to help build and grow the newest be nice concept. Julio is friendly, outgoing, and energetic, he rides his bike 20 miles each way to get to work every day.  The things he loves most in life are his family, friends, mountain biking, work, and of course a good meal and a great drink!

Amanda Su, Assistant Manager

Amanda Su came to Chicago a dancer, to pursue an opportunity with the world-renowned Hubbard Street Dance Company. After retiring from the rigorous dance world, she spent some time evaluating career choices and realized that her true passion lie within the restaurant world.

Having worked in restaurants over the years, she fully committed herself to learning all she could, and began her professional career with lettuce entertain you, enterprises – known to have one of the strongest restaurant management training programs in the country. Over the next ten years, Su learned all aspects of the front-of-house, growing the big bowl concept from its original Chicago location to a multi-state brand. Looking for a new challenge, Su left LEYE in 2007 to work as Director of Operations for Adobo Grill, with whom she opened two restaurants. She then accepted a general manager position with Custom House, Shawn McClain’s modern day steakhouse. Su was able to utilize the skills she honed working for a major restaurant company and meld those with the unique challenges of working with a smaller, independent brand. In 2010, Su joined the blue plate family as general manager of Rhapsody, and in 2012, she was instrumental in the transition of Rhapsody into Tesori.

In November of 2013 Su and her husband Tim relocated South Florida to pursue new professional endeavors, while Tim joined the be nice family as the General Manager of Coconuts and G&B Oyster Bar Su headed down to Miami’s Design District as the General Manager of the Cypress Room lead by the James Beard awarding winning Michael Schwartz. Su has now found her new home with the be nice family as well, joining the management team of the newest concept Top Hat Deli.

Su’s style is hands-on – she has the rare capabilities of graciously dealing with guests, and getting in the trenches with her staff. She loves coaching and mentoring and gets particular pleasure when a server she has been working with has an “a-ha” moment. She will tell you she is “doing what I love” – though when not working, she takes every opportunity to travel.