Publisher's Letter: Our latest non-invention
In the past this magazine has shamelessly claimed to have invented the popular “Who’s Who In Charity and the Arts.” The concept is a natural, for it attracts advertisers from leading high-end institutions that like to be identified with the social and cultural leadership of the community. It goes back to the late 1980s when our late associate publisher, John Broderick, came up with the idea for another magazine that was struggling to survive. That book went under anyway, but Broderick, a friend since our first days in town, brought the idea to our company, which had reorganized after a long legal battle. It was the basis for our strong comeback in the 1990s. It also caught the interest of other regional magazines, who one by one have copied the concept. Today, even the largest and oldest city magazines run similar features on philanthropy at least once a year.
This month we introduce another popular feature, which we shamelessly can’t claim to have invented. Indeed, it has appeared in a number of other magazines, usually with obvious success. “Faces of Fort Lauderdale” (page 65) is an advertising section, featuring leaders in a number of business and cultural fields. There is an element of editorial selection involved, however, in that we approached known leaders in their fields, giving them first dibs at being included in their respective categories. The appeal is similar to our annual “Top Docs” section (coming up next month), which we also shamelessly did not invent. The difference is that the Top Docs lists are selected by a national organization that is independent from our magazine, but it also attracts medical advertisers who value the association with the best in their fields.
This is also our annual Foodie issue, and is dominated by three of Eric Barton’s pieces on quite different people prominent in the restaurant business.
Barton is one of those writers to whom we say “yes” to any idea he has, whether it be an intimate look at truck stops or an up-close profile of wild monkeys on the edge of Fort Lauderdale. He is an ideas machine and has won the magazine several nice awards in recent years. Foremost among his journalistic gifts is an unusual ear for revealing quotes, displayed in all of his stories in this issue.
Foodie issues almost always feature what’s new, but this month, we add a small reflection of what is, or was, very old. Stratford’s Bar, just off Interstate 95 at Sheridan Street in Hollywood, was around for 81 years, and the announcement that it was closing made the papers. It was a classic neighborhood hangout, and we got to know it during a brief term as a columnist for the Hollywood Sun (formerly Sun-Tattler) in the late 1980s. The place was favored by Miami Dolphins players during the glory years of the 1970s, and its regulars included an eclectic group of cops, politicos and legal types. Owner Guy Roper, grandson of the founder and a Hollywood commissioner at the time, was as down to earth as the bar he owned. One day we wanted to talk to him about something. Most politicians are wary of press calls; some even have PR people sound you out in advance, but personable Guy promptly returned the call and said, “C’mon down to the bar and we’ll b.s.”
A major part of Stratford’s décor were shelves of football dolls painted in the colors of pro and college teams. One of the bartenders painted the dolls and we had one done in Notre Dame’s classic colors. It was for our son—at ND at the time. Later the doll was in our office when we had a small fire, which sooted up everything. Our doll had been a ND Heisman winner Paul Hornung, with Hornung’s No. 5. After the fire his complexion changed a bit. It still reposes in our office, a memory of good times that are no more.