Sometimes you just want to go to a bar where you know everyone else’s name. Woody Allen claimed he was “crushed” when Elaine’s closed in 2011. If you were an aspiring writer in Manhattan, you may have been, too. Cheer up! The iconic restaurant at 1703 Second Avenue that nightly wined and dined (and wined again) intellectual luminaries from Norman Mailer to George Plimpton is reopening under the name the Writing Room. Suzy and Michael Glick of Parlor Steakhouse are overseeing the transformation and promise that “the Elaine look to it will still be there, and inside you’ll know you’re in the same building. We’re trying to embody what happened over the last 50 years with a new twist.”
The name of the restaurant is intended to pay tribute to and hopefully attract the literati who used to visit. Wall space will be taken up with pictures from Elaine’s glory days, and there will be a card catalogue where guests can record comments about the place. The Glicks also promise “the back room will be perfect for book parties.”
The food—which even longtime fan Allen said was “unrelentingly bad” at Elaine’s—will be much improved. Executive Chef Lucas Billheimer promises a menu full of American classics like baby back ribs, fried chicken, Parker House rolls and buttermilk biscuits that will make any Paleo devotee weep.
One feature that—sadly—they won’t be continuing is Elaine’s tradition of letting struggling writers eat free (she sent checks to their table that simply read “tip the waiter”), so you will need to show up with some bread for those biscuits.