The Russian Tea Room is Closing!

Joined Feb 6, 2002
9/11 has taken another causalty... :(

Russian Tea Room Closes its Doors After Decades of Blintzes and Caviar

New York-AP, July 27, 2002) — The Russian Tea Room, the fabled Manhattan restaurant known for its caviar, vodka and lavish decor, will close its doors on Sunday. Chief executive Jennifer LeRoy, who inherited the restaurant from her father, Warner LeRoy, announced the closing to her staff on Friday.

"Unfortunately, like so many other restaurants, the Russian Tea Room suffered from the slowing national economy and the tragic events of 9/11," LeRoy said in a prepared statement.

Article Continued
Joined Nov 10, 2001
This is a sad thing to happen,i`ve read about this establishment a number of years ago in a trade magazine.This i a terrible shame for all the people who worked there.A lot of hard work has gone straight down the drain.
It couldn`t have come at a worst time,given certain other events,Enron,WorldCom,Xerox,etc.

I do feel that other countries could do more to promote America & Canada as holiday destinations.Both countries have so much to offer and the benefit from this would be mutual.
Right now the U.S. economy needs a huge boost,tourism is one way that would help to some extent.
Panini doesn`t seem to have much confidence in President Bush,i don`t know how many Americans feel the same way.
Joined Jan 26, 2001
I have actually read books on the Russian tea room, it was #1 on my list should I ever get to New York. Now I guess I'll have to go to Russia?!?

I've never had blintzes and caviar!!!!

I think the U.S. should do what Costa Rica did- eliminate the military. They have so much money per capita now. How can you be strong outside until you're strong inside?

*Dodges angry darts from everyones eyes*

Wait! This isn't the topic! I digress, it's one of my pet peeves, don't take the attention away from the RTR.

Joined Apr 19, 2001
from Panini:

"Panini doesn`t seem to have much confidence in President Bush,i don`t know how many Americans feel the same way. "

You can put my vote right there under Panini's!! Nuff said!

It is sad that the Tea Room is closing - It's been one of those NYC landmarks for so long. I also heard that they had just put something like $3 million in renovations right before 9/11.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
That is so sad. The RTR is located in a very touristy area, and unlike many of the newer restaurants, it really attracted a lot of tourists. It truly was a legend before its time.:cry:
Joined May 26, 2001
Don't worry, Shimmer, there will always be places to get caviar and blinis in NYC ;) Let's see, there's Caviar Russe, Caviarteria, Petrossian, Firebird, Russian Samovar ... and if you go to Brighton Beach (just next door to Coney Island) there are many Russian nightclubs and restaurants where you can get the whole deal, for less money!!

Actually RTR was around for quite a long time, in the restaurant time-line. Before Warner Leroy bought it and redid the whole interior, it had been closed for severa years. Faith Stewart Gordon, who owned it before, wrote a book about it. I remember going there a couple of times, once in my teens (I had Karski Shashlik [lamb chops] and Lodichka [a chocolate "little boat" filled with mousse]) and another time in my early 20s (Chicken Kiev and Kissel (cranberry compote over farina).

I had not been since it was redone, for many reasons. It was a gorgeous place before, even when it was getting seedy. Look for the scene in "Tootsy" where Dustin Hoffman interrupts his agent at lunch there -- still an impressive place. But since it reopened, it was just not considered good enough to compete with so many other places. Sad, yes, but such is the life-cycle of a restaurant.


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Joined Oct 5, 2001
All food related posts should be directed to those forums. This was posted in the late night cafe originally and is being moved to the Restaurant Rave.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Thanks for the article Suzanne. It sure brings memories for a lot of people!

None of these equal TRTR...
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Speaking of old New-York institutions, who remembers the Automats and the old Hamburger Train on West 54th St? Suzanne?...
Joined May 26, 2001
Oh, don't get me started on Automats :cry: :cry: :cry: What heaven when you're a little kid! They had the best hot chocolate, and pretty darn good macaroni and cheese, and fried cornmeal mush with maple syrup. Mainly, though, it was such fun!!! Go to the cashier and get lots of nickels. Then look in all the little windows until you find what you want, insert the needed number of nickels, turn the handle, lift the door, and pull out your food. The beverage dispensers were beautiful spigots. And sometimes you'd see a real live person's (gloved) hand replacing the dish in the now-empty slot.

I think I've heard of someplace that might have been Hamburger Train -- kind of like the sushi bars with a conveyor belt snaking around the counter? But never been, as far as I know.

I just finished reading the 25th anniversary version of Michael and Ariane Batterberry's On the Town In New York, which seems a VERY complete history of public eating places from the very beginning through 1973, with a little update. Fascinating to read about places I used to eat at years and years ago.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
It's certainly worth shedding a tear, or two...or three!

Hubby might have something to add on the subject, later on!

Interesting read Suzanne. I'll try to find it here.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Here's hubby's fond memory:

As for the Automats, I remember whole walls of little doors, each one with a single food article inside. You took a tray and circulated along a counter, looking in little micowave-sized spaces for something you wanted. It was a combination of a buffet, where you took a tray and the modern vending machine, where you chose a single food item, only the food was hot as well as cold stuff. Suzanne was right...often, invisible people, working out-of-sight behind the rows of little wooden doors, would replace a food item that had been removed, and a hand would appear. It was a real kick for me as a kid. I also remember stuff was replaced quickly, and it was not necessarily replaced with the same article. I also remember only seeing this in NY; I think they may have only existed in NYC, but I wouldn't like to swear to this!

I remember them as being the logical precursor to today's buffet counter, because I remember thinking of them specifically when I saw my first buffet counter.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I fondly remember visiting an automat in Parker's department store in Davenport, Iowa. My grandmother took me there many times in the late 50's and early 60's. The food wasn't up to the level Suzanne describes, as I recall. I remember eating canned beef stew that I heated in a little convection oven- and burning myself on the lid! Refer to the thread about law suits if you think this is a pretty good idea. :rolleyes:

But the word does evoke happy memories!
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