The Gang’s All Here

Vero Beach Has Been Home to Some Fishy Fellows Over the Years
Sexton Plaza Martina Tannery Martina Tannery Dsc 3722
Believe it or not, the restaurant we now know as the Ocean Grill was once operated by two Chicago gangsters.

 

“Some Chicago gangsters stayed around there for a while.”

Said by Eliot Ness about the Lake Como Hotel in Wisconsin, a favorite getaway for wealthy mobsters? Or by J. Edgar Hoover referring to the notorious Cal-Neva Lodge and Casino in Las Vegas?

No, this statement was made by our very own Waldo Sexton in reference to the Ocean Grill!

It’s no secret that some shady people have had dealings in the Sunshine State. During the Florida land boom of the 1920s, Johnny “the Fox” Torrio, Al “Scarface” Capone and Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik owned many properties in St. Petersburg. In the ’30s and ’40s, quite a few mobsters ran gambling establishments called “carpet joints” in Broward County’s Hallandale Beach, while living seaside lives with their families in nearby Hollywood. 

The list goes on. Despite a decades-long career in organized crime, Meyer Lansky served a total of two months in jail and lived out his final years quite comfortably in Miami Beach. Capone, likewise, “retired” to Miami Beach, spending the last eight years of his life, 1939–1947, at the Palm Island mansion he had purchased in 1928.

Categories: Features, Local History