I am sad to report that Elaine’s will close next Thursday after 47 years. Diane Becker, the manager who inherited the restaurant from my dear friend, Elaine Kaufman, called to give me the news this afternoon. Facing a long summer, Diane felt that she couldn’t make it without Elaine sitting in the dining room, greeting guests and friends every night. The closing will be a blow to the regulars, to the past customers, to the neighborhood on the way upper East Side. But restaurants so identified with their owners never survive for long without them. Toots Shor’s is a case in point. The ’21 Club’ goes on, but no one is really identified with it anymore. For the next week, Elaine’s will be like another sitting shivah– Elaine died on December 3rd. In three weeks, I will celebrate my own birthday for the first time in fifteen years somewhere else. Elaine’s now becomes an official part of New York history and lore, never ever to be forgotten.
PS A memorial service for Elaine was being planned and still is for late June. Details to come.