Legendary Restaurateur Elaine Kaufman Dies
Elaine's was a gathering place popular among journalists, writers, and other artistic types, and where you would regularly spot such luminaries as Woody Allen. I had dinner there only a few weeks ago with two artist friends. Elaine was sitting in one of her usual spots, not far from the front door. She was firmly planted in a seat, surrounded by half a dozen admirers. I noticed how each patron would stop by her table to pay tribute as they came in to the restaurant or on their way out. She really seemed to be in her element.
According to the New York Times, Elaine Edna Kaufman was born in Manhattan on Feb. 10, 1929, one of four children of Joseph and Pauline Kaufman. Brought up in Queens and the Bronx, she graduated from Evander Childs High School in the Bronx.
Kaufman opened the restaurant on Second Avenue near East 88th Street, in the early 1960's. Originally featuring Austrian-Hungarian cuisine, the restaurant evolved and now serves mostly Italian dishes.
In 2003, the New York Landmarks Conservancy named Kaufman a "Living Landmark" at a gala alongside other honorees including legendary investment banker Pete Peterson, entertainer Elaine Stritch and labor leader Victor Gotbaum.
Diane Becker, the manager of Elaine's, confirms the restaurant will continue to operate as usual and employ the same staff.