Veteran Atlantic City broadcaster Pinky Kravitz, one of the city’s most influential voices over the past six decades, talks dining, delis, and vice president Joe Biden at another Atlantic City standby—the Knife & Fork Inn.
Pinky Kravitz, radio personality and local legend, dined at The Knife & Fork Inn while talking with Philadelphia Style.
Pinky Kravitz remembers his first big headline mention in the Press of Atlantic City. He was the last guy off the bench on the 1944 New York University basketball team, a 6-foot-4 freshman on scholarship from Atlantic City High. At the time, the NYU team record for its home games at Madison Square Garden was a mere 76 points. But with NYU beating Temple by 20, the coach put Kravitz in for mopup duty, and a late basket scored points 77 and 78—a new record.
“The next day, the headline in the Press read, ‘Kravitz Breaks Madison Square Garden Record,’” says Kravitz about the misleading headline in his hometown paper. In the ensuing decades, he would go on to become Atlantic City’s most unabashed and outspoken promoter—the captain of the city’s proverbial “all-broadcast team.” In November, the now-86-year-old celebrated his 55th anniversary as a five-day-a-week radio personality for WOND, and over the years he has interviewed everyone from Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Marilyn Monroe to contemporary celebs over our airwaves. He has also maintained a weekly column for the Press, “Pinky’s Corner,” and hosted a TV show each Saturday on NBC 40.
The Knife & Fork Inn.
Most Fridays you’ll find this legend of the boardwalk having a leisurely lunch at another AC institution—the iconic Knife & Fork Inn. Owned for more than 50 years by the two most prominent restaurant families in the city—first the Latzes, and now the Doughertys—the Knife & Fork had its own star turn in the 1980 Louis Malle film Atlantic City with Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon sitting down in its dining room. But no matter the locale—if you’re in Atlantic City, you’re in “Pinky’s Corner.”
Why The Knife & Fork Inn?
It really is a vestige of the old Atlantic City. You always see people here. Mr. Latz was a fierce individual. If you didn’t have a tie on, you couldn’t get in, but he would stand there without a tie or socks. I like sitting on the first level adjacent to the bar so I can see the ocean out the window, and I love the corn and crab chowder soup. The crab cakes, too, are outstanding.
A crab cake with Asian pear slaw and red pepper coulis.
And where else can you be found besides the Knife & Fork today?
Angelo’s for Italian and Gilchrist Restaurant for breakfast. At Steve & Cookie’s in Margate, they also make good crab cakes, but I have whatever specialties Cookie comes up with. Of course, there is White House for subs—Atlantic City is a “sub” place. We have nothing like “hoagies.”
You’ve seen a lot of restaurants come and go. Are there any you miss?
The Venice on Mississippi Avenue. Senator Frank Farley would be there on Friday evenings, and if you were lucky, he asked you to sit at his big table. He would pick up the check and say, “See you at the house at 11,” and since he was the boss, you would have to go. We would play Scrabble; he was the best on two-letter words. Then there was Kornblau’s at Virginia and Pacific Avenues. It was the go-to deli where you would get pastrami or chicken soup with matzo balls. Today, there is no deli like it in all of Atlantic City.
The lobster thermidor with filet mignon.
Six decades of writing and broadcast in one town is amazing. Have you had any moments of late that bring things full circle?
At my 55th anniversary party in November, I got a letter with no stamp—it just had the heading: Vice President of the United States. Now, I don’t know if Biden really wrote it, but who would have thought some guy from Atlantic City would ever get a letter from the Vice President’s office? I’m just a local yokel, but I have always tried to give people a place to express their views and voice their concerns.
You always have something going on to promote. What are you excited about now?
With Miss America coming back to Atlantic City, I thought we needed a statue of Miss America. So this summer, you will see a bronze statue of Miss America across from Boardwalk Hall; people can stand with her and have a photo of themselves being “crowned.” I also thought there needed to be something new for the veterans, so I helped start the Armed Forces Parade last year and was chosen as Grand Marshal. The parade on August 11 will be the lead up to the Air Show on August 13, which 75,000 people saw last year. And we have moved the big boardwalk replica billboard from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire to the parking lot near Resorts. It’s the most popular place for tourists to take photos—it just brings Atlantic City to life.
photography by andrew kahl