Matty Ianniello, the Genovese capo who for decades controlled much of gay nightlife in New York, opened up a fast food joint in North Miami during the mid-1960s called Nathan's of Miami Beach. And no, it wasn't affiliated in any way with the Nathan's Famous from Coney Island although the similar names and restaurant concepts did spark an FBI inquiry to confirm there was no connection between the two operations. Funny enough, however, Matty's venture apparently did use the same supplier as the original Nathan's.
Ianniello's place was incorporated as a Florida corporation on August 26, 1964 by longtime associate Bernard Kurtz as Nathans of Miami Beach Inc with a capital formation of $30,000, and operated at 2000 Normandy Drive. A January 1965 Dun and Bradstreet report describes the food joint as follows:
Plans to open a restaurant, featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, and similar foods on a self service basis. Operations are planned to begin during May, 1965. Sales will be on a 100% cash basis, a nominal amount of employees are expected. Business will be seasonal, with best volume being derived during the winter-tourist season. LOCATION: Rents space in a large concrete structure, located light commercial section of the city. Restaurant will be located toward the eastern end of 79th St. Causeway connecting Miami and Miami Beach.
In a February 1966 FBI report the G-men queried whether "this restaurant may be identical with Nathan's of Coney Island and Long Island who have built a major reputation as a 'hot dog' vendor." However, after inquiry, the FBI determined upon an informant's word that there was no relationship between the two:
On August 25, 1965 [informant] advised SA RALPH R. HILL that Nathan's of Miami Beach opened for business on August 19, 1965 and at that time was doing a booming business, MATTY IANNIELLO, according to this informant, flew to Miami [redacted]. Informant was told that there is no actual connection between Nathan's of Miami Beach and Nathan's of New York, although both of these firms purchase their meat products from Hy Grade Meat Company, Philadelphia.
A March 1966 FBI report reflects an apparent change in ownership from Kurtz to Ianniello's brother Al: "[Informant] stated that it was his understanding that Nathan's of Miami Beach is owned by AL IANIELLO, brother of MATTY IANIELLO," and "files of the Miami Office reflect that the owner of record of Nathan's is the A & D Funding Corporation, operated by AL IANIELLO."
Perhaps Matty Ianniello was attempting to capitalize on the Nathan's name but who was going to bring a trademark claim against the notorious mobster even if the original's founder Nathan Handwerker was living on Normandy Isle nearby Ianniello's interloping establishment? In any event, Matty's venture apparently was not a long-lived success, and ceased operations a few years after opening.
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