Vincent Sardi, Jr., died today at 1991. I don't have to tell you the name of the restaurant he owned.
Sardi was 1991. He hadn't run the day-to-day at Sardi's since 1997; his partner assumed control, though I understand younger generations also have a hand in things. But he was the soul of the place, taking it over in 1947 from his father and staying with it for 50 years (despite briefly selling it in the '80s), coddling actors and agents, and perservering even as it faded as a theatrical watering hole and became a tourist trap.
Actors, except for the very old ones, abandoned it long ago for places like Joe Allen's and Angus McIndoe's. But I wonder if they really traded up? The food may not be great, but the food at theatre hangouts never is. And the dining room still looks fantastic, a high-ceilinged, banquetted time capsule. It's theatre itself. The bar off to the side of the entrance is mighty cozy, too.
Now, if only they could lose those awful caricatures. I know they're historical, but they're also ugly. And I hate that I don't know who half of the faces are supposed to be.
The place will carry on, of course. It makes too much money not to. But it's sad to think there's no one named Sardi at Sardi's anymore.