Home Celebrity Elaine’s, the Famous Eatery, Will Close After 47 Years

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.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
40 replies to this post
  1. Wow!!! I know I’m late to this crowd, but I only know Elaine’s through the Stuart Woods novels( like so many others) I was actually planning on going to NYC this summer and I wanted to go to Elaine’s. For alot of reasons, but the main one was to see if as a tourist I would be out in Siberia. Oh well. RIP Elaine

  2. The memories etched in the floors and walls, the sweet, somber voices of a life that once was, the relaxed ties, the vibrant laughter, the meaningful moments with Elaine will always live on.

  3. i know that this restaurant has been the setting for many Stone Barrington books. I just learned recently that it was a real restaurant. I’m sorry i couldn’t visit it in person. God Bless Elaine’s. Good Luck in youre next endeavor Diane.

  4. Shocked to hear this! There was nothing greater than going to Elaine’s for my favorite fettucini, except for the people watching. I’ve eaten there with clients when I am in town for the past ten years and it was always a great time.

  5. How very sad! My husband and I visted Elaines’s every visit to NYC. RIP Elaine and RIP Elaine’s. Both of you will be missd…A treasure will be lost.

  6. So change the name to “Diane’s” and keep the place going! Let Diane greet the customers. Surely there are WAY more than enough rich folk in the neighborhood to keep the place plenty viable for a long, long time. Silly decision.

  7. You are full of beans, my friend. They are closing because our mayor chased everybody away from the city, with his idiotic policies. I am sure how long I will endure his BS.

  8. If you are that well known, and you can’t operate at a level that is expected, maybe you should step aside. I never went there, I haven’t been in NY in 30 years, but if I had gone, I might have stopped in, just to say I did.

  9. The late John O’Neill, the top FBI counter-terrorism expert who was killed on 9/11/01 always entertained his foreign intelligence contacts at Elaine’s. After that, they considered John their brother. He knew how to pay a source. Like Elaine’s, he too is in the past but will never be forgotten

  10. Hope and Change strikes again !

    By 2016, all of the restaurants in the USA should be closed by then, except for Federal Government-run cafeterias. Thanks, Obama ! WE LUV YOU !

  11. I’m sorry I never got the chance to have dinner at Elaine’s…It came to my through the writing of Stuart Woods in his depiction of the comings and goings of Stone Barrington…

  12. I’ve only known of “Elaine’s” through the writings of the fiction novelist Stuart Woods, I have always enjoyed the commardary at Elaine’s as portraited through the eyes of Stone Barrington & Co.

    I wish all those who work/ed there well and good luck.

    John C.

  13. Well, have a happy birthday Mr. Freidman, Maybe Ms. Becker can publish an “Elaine’s Eatery Cookbook.” That would be great!

  14. Sorry to hear about the closing –was there a couple summers ago… but there is always Elios and LuSardi’s a few blocks down– they spun off from Elaine’s back in the 80’s and LuSardi’s still has great food. I go there every visit to NYC.

  15. But the people that I knew there there were always impressed with my Halston dress, and they loved the stories of my latest success….

  16. Places like Elaine’s become like an extended member of the family. People celebrate birthdays, marriages, and family special occasions. It is really, really nice to go into a restaurant and it’s like walking into your own kitchen and dining room, you just feel at home.

  17. This is indeed a tragedy, not only for those of us who knew Elaine’s as patrons, for for the many who know the beginning words of every Stone Barrington Stewart Woods book ever published. “ELAINE’S, LATE.”
    Why is it, that NOTHING LASTS FOREVER?

  18. Sad news indeed. I enjoyed manys a night in that beautiful, intimate hostelry and a smiling Elaine played wonderful hostess to many deals closed.

    The food varied, but Elaine’s smile did not.

    ‘Death is not the extinguishing of the Light,
    Rather the dousing of a Candle,
    Cos a new day has dawned’.

    DeLyon Getty.

  19. I remember eating there with Judy Garland’s husband, Sid Luft, when visiting NY. It was a special joint! Sad to hear this!

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