Tag Archives: Sammy Davis Jr.

Foo-Foo’s Steak House

After a night out on “the Strip,” folks would stop by Foo Foo’s Steak House to pick up a mammajamma sandwich to eat on the way home. The restaurant was located on the Strip in West Philly.

In his autobiography, You Only Rock Once, Jerry Blavat, “the Geator with the Heator,” shared memories of Sammy Davis Jr.:

I remembered how he would call me every time he appeared at the Latin [Casino] and ask if I would go to Foo Foo’s in West Philadelphia and get his “mammajamma” sandwiches.

The owner, James “Foo Foo” Ragan, was a numbers writer. From Black Brothers Inc.: The Violent Rise and Fall of Philadelphia’s Black Mafia:

Notwithstanding Ragan’s criminal history, he soon found himself as an extension of the Black Mafia’s racket. “The older heads like [Gus] Lacy and Ragan were given a choice: come in out of the rain or stay out there in the cold,” said one informer. “They hadn’t salted any money away and they were too old to take on the opposition, so they fell into line. The old saying used to be, “You can’t fight City Hall.” Now the saying is, “You can’t buck the system, and this is the system.”

A page from the “Black Mafia notebook” confiscated by the Philadelphia Police Department Organized Crime Unit shows Foo-Foo was being shaken down for a weekly “street tax.”

Foo Foo Ragan's Soliciation

Source: American Gangster – The Philly Black Mafia