83% of NYC restaurants could not pay July rent. Several neighborhood restaurants around for many years have just disappeared, weekly it seems another one closes its doors. Close to 1,000 NYC restaurants and bars have permanently closed since March.
I am hearing rumors that Sardi’s, the Broadway institution located at 234 West 44th Street, is closing. If that is true that means this restaurant, which has been a staple of the theatre district since March 5, 1927, is the end of an era. Known for the caricatures of Broadway celebrities on its walls, more than 1,000 luminaries tell the history of theatre.
Sardi’s was founded by Vincent Sardi Sr. and his wife Jenny Pallera, who had previously operated a restaurant nearby between 1921 and 1926. To attract customers, Sardi Sr. hired Russian refugee Alex Gard to draw caricatures in exchange for free food. Even after Gard’s death, Sardi’s continued to commission caricatures. Following the death of Vincent Sardi Sr. in 1969, Sardi’s started to decline in the 1980s, eventually being sold off in 1986. After closing temporarily in 1990, it reopened with new staff.
This pre- and post-theater hangout, is where I spent many an opening night and was where the idea of the Tony Award was devised.
Theater Row Diner – 807 8th Ave, Adella – 401 West 43rd St., Brazil Brazil – 330 West 46th St., Morrell – 1 Rockefeller Plaza 49th Street, Bouchon Bakery – 10 Columbus Circle, Fluffy’s Cafe on 9th and 58th and Morning Star on corner of 57th and 9th are definitely closed.
Also rumored to be closing is Esca – 402 W 43rd Street who is stating they are reopening September 9th, but how long can that last with Mayor deBlasio reluctant to restart indoor dining because it’s an activity for middle- and upper-income New Yorkers. Also boarded up are Orso’s, Bar Centrale and Joe Allen, all on Restaurant Row on 46th Street between 8th and 9th.
If the restaurant God’s are kind, Sardi’s closing is just that a rumor, and life as we knew it can go back to the way it was.