Last Call at Elaine’s: Famed Upper East Side Eatery Closing Its Doors For Good

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Famed Manhattan eatery Elaine’s will have its last call on Thursday as regulars gather one last time before the decades-old restaurant closes its doors for good.

Regulars are still mourning the death of Elaine Kaufman, owner of the storied New York City restaurant, who died back in December.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Neighborhood Feels A Great Loss

elaine kaufman Last Call at Elaine’s: Famed Upper East Side Eatery Closing Its Doors For Good

Elain Kaufman in 2004/Getty

Before the doors are locked Thursday, regulars planned to meet at the place where they ate average food while rubbing shoulders with stars like Michael Caine and Woody Allen.

Elaine’s was synonymous with plugged-in New York for the better part of five decades.

“And they were all impressed with your Halston dress and the people that you knew at Elaine’s,” Billy Joel sang. The restaurant inspired books titled “Everyone Comes to Elaine’s” and “Last Call at Elaine’s.”

For the regulars, Elaine’s was more than a scene, it was a family.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Upper East Side

Kaufman died at 81 after running Elaine’s for 48 years. Longtime manager Diane Becker inherited the restaurant after Kaufman’s death, but says the place couldn’t survive without the woman who was its driving force.

Becker announced on May 17 that the Second Avenue eatery would be closed for good on May 26.

The neighborhood is feeling the loss.

“It’s a bit of a tragedy,” one local resident said. “It’s another changing face of New York that’s not necessarily positive.”

Were you a regular at Elaine’s? Share your story below in our comments section.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Peter Haskell
  • O.J. Wilkinson

    Where is Stone Barrington of the Stuart Woods’novels goint to eat now?

  • H.S.Choi

    Another Korean nail polishing establishment will follow at this location the goal is
    to have 4 of them on every block in NYC as today’s busy ladies do not
    know how to do their own nails anymore ,tis a pity.

  • An old friend

    In the end The old adage money can’t buy you love is so perfect about Elaine. She left the place to Diane Becker who was lucky enough, only in America to have come here from Irealand walk in off the street and get a job some twenty odd yrs. ago. Elaine with all her celebrities, hot shots, etc. left her place to a really nasty stranger with no heart. A testament to the fact that no matter what money really is not everything! All her hard work, money she made 47yrs was given to her. How sad!

    • Inspired Patron

      This is the real story of how this institution met its demise…Diane Becker will go down with the great villains of our fair city as she truly executed a well planned strategy to liquidate. There was no loyalty left for Elaine, the customers who loved her and her place, and the 20 plus employees who worked their hearts out.

  • Kimberly Ybarra

    My home away from home…Trying not to be sad that it’s over, but happy that it happened.

  • Tinman

    In the late 80s, I was a west-coast cop on business in NYC. When I asked, every detective and prosecutor listed Elaine’s. On subsequent trips, I’ve always dropped by. Maybe the food wasn’t the best, but, here, in L.A., if the Pantry closed it’s doors, everyone would loose. Elaine’s was an institution and I guess I’ll miss it, even way out here.

  • B

    Best Spaghetti Bolognese in town.

    Just Ask Winston Groom.

  • Bye

    Out with the old, in with the new. No one cares, that’s just the way it is.

  • joanne

    Like the place or not Elain’es was an institution. And too bad if you felt inferior to the celebrities who dined there. All people were welcomed to eat and drink. The food was not fabulous, but it was not bad. So get over it!!! I guess Diane Becker saw a good way out financially and ran with it. Too bad she did not do more to get knownrestauranteurs to put their name on it. Elaine’s It was the quintessential New York attraction. What I am lamenting is what will occupy that space. Will we have another DRUGSTORE, WIRELESS STORE, NAIL SALON, SUSHI or PAN-ASIIAN RESTAURANT…or some other “JUNKY” and”USELESS” RETAIL OUTLET.

  • p,,,. & .

  • Joe Manzano

    Food was terrible, service matched the food. Very bad experience

  • Brian

    Can’t say I’m sad to see it go. After living at the corner of 88th and 2nd for 4 years, I never once had a positive thing to say about it or the atmosphere when there.

    It probably once was a very nice places, but from 2006 forwarded, it was time to go.

  • Toni

    Elaine’s had passed its “Sell By” date and furthermore they hired immigrants and underpaid then and if you were of any color and did was not known on the runway, on TV or in the movies, you do NOT feel welcomed there. Funny how some loved the good ole Elaine’s and it stirs up such disturbing memories for others… OH, how I Love NY!

  • baltbear

    in the days of the net bubble congames, overvaluations, lies, and pseudo-kulturni elaine’s was a high energy locus breeding the frauds that were the predecessors of 2008.

  • Uncle Pete

    Just curious as to what type of kickback or payment longtime manager Diane Becker is receiving for releasing back the buidlings that Elaine’s was in back to real estate holding companies, new tenants, etc etc. I’m almost certain money must be changing hands for this transition to occur.

    • ALEC

      if Diane is getting money its becuase the restaurant and the building are sold togehter. now there is room for another useless pub for 20 somethings to include on their crawl. the east side does not need more beer and wings joint

  • Frankie G.

    Elaine’s – love the place or hate it, it defined a unique New York style & ambience. It will go down as one of the greats. as the chapter closes on another NYC era.

    Hadn’t been there in 4 or 5 years – but can honestly say that I miss the old joint already!

  • Mike Farrell

    The food was the worst and to be quite frank she became an eye sore–obeast and dirty house dresses . Wow what a stank and that freakin cat………..

    • RNYC2011

      Amen Mike. And I was only there once and ate at the bar, so don’t have a clue what the h*ll Siberia refers to. Ultimately, who cares?

    • nathan

      Mike was clearly banished to Siberia. If you’ve been there you know what I mean.

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