Restaurant, nightclub owner James Poll, 93, dies

James Poll, the patriarch of a well-known Long

James Poll, the patriarch of a well-known Long Island restaurant family whose own nightclub decades ago was frequented by rock stars and the 1972-1973 champion New York Knicks team, has died. He was 93. (Credit: Handout)

James Poll, the patriarch of a well-known Long Island restaurant family whose nightclub decades ago was frequented by rock stars and the Knicks, has died. He was 93.

"It's tough. I find it hard that he's even gone," said son George Poll, 50, of Lattingtown.

He said his father, of Manhasset, sat close to him when the family met for Sunday dinner at different restaurants.


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"I don't know how it will be not seeing him in his chair," he said.

In the '70s, the elder Poll opened Casino Russe, a popular nightclub frequented by such celebrities as the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger.

Family members said the 1972-73 champion Knicks team dropped in, and Bette Midler held her debut album party there.

Poll attended New York University and then joined the Coast Guard. He was stationed in Sheepshead Bay during World War II.

After working at a Manhattan clothing store and in shipping by his late 20s, James Poll bought the well-known Brooklyn-based Pappas of Sheepshead Bay in 1960. He followed the path set by his father, who had run the high-end gourmet deli Angelos Poll, named after himself.

"Our father had us working in his restaurant," said son Gallis Poll, 61, of Muttontown, who learned the business by working as a busboy and traveling with his father to fish markets.

The brothers continued the family tradition by opening Pappas of Sheepshead Bay in Williston Park.

Gallis and George Poll now own several Long Island restaurants, including Bryant & Cooper Steakhouse and Hendrick's Tavern in Roslyn, and Majors Steakhouses in Woodbury and East Meadow.

Son Dean Poll, 56, owns the Boathouse restaurant in Central Park and recently bought Gallagher's Steakhouse on West 52nd Street in Manhattan.

Before retiring, James Poll owned three restaurants in the Time-Life Building.

Poll died of pneumonia on April 17 at St. Francis Hospital in Manhasset.

He is survived by wife, Alexandra Poll, of Manhasset; sons Gillis of Muttontown, Dean of Upper Brookville, and George of Lattingtown; and five grandchildren.

Services will be Monday at 10 a.m. at Archangel Michael Church at 100 Fairway Dr., Port Washington.

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