Delmonico's is the name of series of restaurants of varying duration, quality, and fame located in New York City. The original and most famous was operated by the Delmonico family during the 19th and early 20th centuries, closing due to a Prohibition-era slowdown in 1923. Since that time restaurants using the Delmonico's name have reopened in one of the historic locations in lower Manhattan under different proprietors.
The original Delmonico's began in a rented pastry shop at 23 William Street in 1827, appearing listed as a restaurant in 1830. Relocating several times before settling at 2 South William Street for eighty years, it is credited with being the first restaurant in America to allow patrons to order from a menu à la carte, as opposed to table d’hôte. It is also claimed to be the first to employ a separate wine list..
As the decades passed this Delmonico's reputation spread, being widely regarded as one of the nation's top fine dining establishments and birthplace of the universally imitated Delmonico steak. At the peak of "Delmonico's" fame the family operated four restaurants under the name simultaneously, and a total of ten during their tenure.
Six years after they closed the doors of their final iteration restaurateur Oscar Tucci opened a revived Delmonico's at 2 South William Street, which stayed in business until 1977. Other Delmonicos have operated in the space from 1981–1992 and from 1998 to present.
The restaurant was opened by the brothers John and Peter Delmonico, from Ticino, Switzerland. In 1831, they were joined by their nephew, Lorenzo Delmonico, who eventually became responsible for the restaurant's wine list and menu. When the William Street building was opened on a grand scale in August 1837, after the Great Fire of New York, New Yorkers were told that the columns by the entrance had been imported from the ruins of Pompeii.
Expansion and closure
Beginning in the 1850s, the restaurant hosted the annual gathering of the New England Society of New York which featured many important speakers of the day. In 1860, Delmonico's provided the supper at the Grand Ball welcoming the Prince of Wales at the Academy of Music on East 14th Street. Supper was set out in a specially constructed room; the menu was French, and the pièces montées represented Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Great Eastern and Flora's Vase. The New York Times reported, "We may frankly say that we have never seen a public supper served in a more inapproachable fashion, with greater discretion, or upon a more luxurious scale". In 1862, the restaurant hired Charles Ranhofer, considered one of the greatest chefs of his day.
The business was so successful that from 1865 to 1888 it expanded to four restaurants of the same name. At various times, there were Delmonico's at ten locations. Delmonico's vacated the six-story Delmonico Building at Fifth Avenue and 26th Street in 1899. The edifice was sold to John B. Martin, owner of the Martin Hotel, in May 1901.
In 1919, Edward L.C. Robins purchased Delmonico's. Its grand location at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street closed in 1923 as a result of changing dining habits due to Prohibition. That location was the final incarnation of Delmonico's with continuity to the original.
Almost immediately after the closing of the last Delmonico's, a number of imitators opened "Delmonico's" restaurants. The Delmonico family attempted to retain exclusive rights to the name, but a court ruled that with the closing of the last restaurant the name had passed into the public domain.
Restaurants owned and operated by the Delmonico family Location Dates Comments 23 William Street December 13, 1827 – December 16, 1835 (destroyed by fire) “Delmonico & Brother, confectioners” small cafe and pastry shop 25 William Street March, 1830 – December 16, 1835 (destroyed by fire) “Delmonico & Brother, confectioners and Restaurant Francais” 76 Broad Street February 23, 1836 – July 19, 1845, (destroyed by fire) 2 South William St. August, 1837 – July 10, 1890. Rebuilt and reopened July 7, 1891, closed 1917 “Delmonico's Restaurant," informally called “The Citadel.” 25 Broadway June 1, 1846—1856 The Delmonico Hotel Chambers Street and Broadway 1856 – October 26, 1876 East 14th Street and 5th Avenue April 9, 1862 – September 11, 1876 22 Broad Street 1865—1893 Fifth Avenue and 26th St. September 11, 1876 – April 18, 1899 Lobster a la Newberg invented here in 1876 112–114 Broadway near Pine St. October 26, 1876—1888 Fifth Avenue and 44th Street November 15, 1897 – May 21, 1923 The final Delmonico-owned restaurant
In 1929, Oscar Tucci opened a "Delmonico's" popularly called "Oscar's Delmonico's" at the former Delmonico's location at 2 South William Street (sometimes listed as 56 Beaver Street) in New York. The Tucci incarnation adopted the original menus and recipes, and became distinguished in its own right, continuing to attract prominent politicians and celebrities. It was open continuously until it closed in 1977.
In 1981, a new Delmonico's was opened at the location by Ed Huber, which operated until 1992.
The building was vacant until 1998, when the Bice Group acquired the property and again opened a Delmonico's, with Gian Pietro Branchi as executive chef. In 1999, the restaurant was sold to the Ocinomled partnership, which continues to operate Delmonico's at the South William Street location.
Lobster Newburg, and Delmonico Potatoes were invented at Delmonico's restaurant, and possibly Chicken à la King, but it was most famous for Delmonico steak. Eggs Benedict were also said to have originated at Delmonico’s, although others claim that dish as well. Baked Alaska's name was coined at Delmonico's as well.
Among the many well-known people who patronized Delmonico's are Jenny Lind, who, it was said, ate there after every show, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, "Diamond Jim" Brady, Lillian Russell, usually in the company of Diamond Jim, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, J.P. Morgan, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., Walter Scott, Nikola Tesla, Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales, and Napoleon III of France. Journalist Jacob A. Riis claimed to be a patron of a different sort: in his book, The Making of an American, he mentioned that when he was down on his luck, a kindly French-speaking cook at Delmonico’s would pass him rolls through the basement window.
In popular culture
Delmonico's is mentioned in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), the story of a middle-class family in St. Louis at the turn of the century, as the place from which a well-to-do suitor places a long-distance call to a member of the family. In the stage show and movie, Hello Dolly!, the restaurant is mentioned as one of the 'must-see' locations in NYC in the song, "Put On Your Sunday Clothes". Delmonico's is also mentioned in the movie She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), a John Ford western set in 1876.
- ^ Aaseng, Nathan (January 2001). Business Builders in Fast Food. The Oliver Press. pp. 8–10. ISBN 1881508587.
- ^ Hooker, Richard J (May 1981). "18 – Eating Out 1865–1900". Food and Drink in America: A History. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co.. ISBN 0672526816.
- ^ "History of Delmonico's Restaurant and business operations in New York". http://www.steakperfection.com/delmonico/History.html.
- ^ Sic: "irreproachable" may have been intended, unless a covert reference to the evening's crush was implied.
- ^ Susan Bindig (1989), "New York Welcomes the Prince of Wales (1860)", Dance Chronicle 12 (.2): pp. 234
- ^ "Delmonico Building Leased". The New York Times: pp. 3. May 4, 1901.
- ^ a b c Joe O'Connell (August 25, 2001). "History of Delmonico's Restaurant and business operations in New York". http://www.steakperfection.com/delmonico/History.html.
- ^ Lately Thomas (1967). Delmonico's – A Century of Splendor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. pp. 333–336. LCCN 67025686.
- ^ Frank J. Prial (November 29, 1987). "Out of the Cellar". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/29/magazine/out-of-the-cellar.html.
- ^ Ed Huber. "Not in My Neighborhood: The owner of one of America's most historic restaurants faces a modern problem". Guideposts. http://www.guideposts.com/story/delmonicos-neighborhood-homeless?page=0,0.
- ^ "What's Cooking America: "History of Poultry Dishes: Chicken A' La King". http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PoultryDishes.htm.
- ^ Butler, Mabel C. (November 26, 1967), "Letters: Benedicts' Eggs", The New York Times Magazine: SM40, http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F1061FF63D5814728FDDAF0A94D9415B878AF1D3, retrieved February 23, 2007
- ^ "Talk of the Town", The New Yorker, December 19, 1942
- ^ Claiborne, Craig (September 24, 1967), "American Classic: Eggs Benedict", The New York Times Magazine: 290, http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40B13FB3B5F16738DDDAD0A94D1405B878AF1D3, retrieved February 19, 2007
- ^ Photograph included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Pictures of the Times: A Century of Photography from the New York Times MoMA, No. 22 (Summer), 1996:10–130 illus. p. 13.
- ^ Database of Movie Dialogs
- "John Delmonico – pioneer of fine dining in America" by Milford Prewitt. Nation's Restaurant News, February, 1996.
- New York Architecture Images – Delmonico's
- Website of modern-day Delmonico's restaurant in New York. (Opened in 1998.)
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Delmonico's — Das Delmonico s Restaurant im Jahr 1903 Delmonico s Restaurant gilt als eines der ersten Restaurants in den USA. Am 13. Dezember 1827 wurde es in New York City als Café von den Brüdern Giovanni ( John ) und Pietro ( Peter ) Delmonico und eröffnet … Deutsch Wikipedia
delmonico — noun see delmonico steak * * * /del mon i koh /, n., pl. Delmonicos. See club steak. Also called Delmonico steak. [after L. DELMONICO] /del mon i koh /, n. Lorenzo, 1813 81, U.S. restaurateur, born in Switzerland … Useful english dictionary
Delmonico — /del mon i koh /, n., pl. Delmonicos. See club steak. Also called Delmonico steak. [after L. DELMONICO] /del mon i koh /, n. Lorenzo, 1813 81, U.S. restaurateur, born in Switzerland. * * * … Universalium
Delmonico — noun see Delmonico steak … New Collegiate Dictionary
Delmonico — Del•mon•i•co [[t]dɛlˈmɒn ɪˌkoʊ[/t]] n. pl. cos coo big club steak • Etymology: after Lorenzo Delmonico (1813–81), U.S. restaurateur, born in Switzerland … From formal English to slang
delmonico — del·mon·i·co … English syllables
Delmonico's Restaurant — [The light hearted popular history is by Lately Thomas, Delmonico s: A Century of Splendor ((Boston: Houghton Mifflin) 1967.] was one of the first continuously run restaurants in the United States and is considered to be one of the first American … Wikipedia
Delmonico steak — Delmonico redirects here. For the hotel in New York City formerly known as Hotel Delmonico, see Trump Park Avenue. Beef Cuts Beef cut: Short Loin or Rib Steak type: Strip Steak … Wikipedia
Delmonico's Restaurant — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Edificio del restaurante en Nueva York entre las calles de 2 South William Street / 56 Beaver Street. Las columnas de la entrada se dice que fueron importadas directamente de Pompeya. El Restaurant Delmonico´s es uno … Wikipedia Español
Delmonico Place, California — Delmonico Place Unincorporated community … Wikipedia