|Tips on Tables - Robert W. Dana - April 1957
Luchow's Marking 75th Anniversary
World-famed Luchow's Restaurant, beloved of all ages, celebrates
its 75th Anniversary at 110 E. -14th St. tomorrow through Sunday
by featuring an eight-course dinner similar to those served in 1882,
when August Luchow, a native of Hanover, bought a tiny German restaurant
and beer parlor In which he had been a waiter.
If one of Luchow's original customers could return today he'd feel
completely at home, even more so, perhaps, than he might have a
few years ago. For
when Jan Mitchell bought the restaurant in 1950, after nearly 10
years of negotiations he restored a number of German dishes absent
from the menu for a quarter of a century.
Wienerschnitzel, saurbraten, pigs knuckles schlemmerschnitte and
perfectly cooked game are just a few of the scores of dishes from
which the customer can choose.
Week- Long Festivals.
And something else for which one can thank Mr. Mitchell is his restoration
of the pre-prohibition week-long galas. The venison festival, goose
feast, bock beer festival, May wine festival, and midsummer forest
festival, complete with a German band, special menu and souvenirs.
All of these are included this week.
Thanks to the Care with which August Luchow handled and dispensed
the Wurzburger and Pilsner beers he imported, the delectableness
of his Rhine and Moselle wines and the excellentence of his food,
Luchow's was a roaring success by the turn of the century.
Heart of the City Then.
At this time 14th St. was the heart of the musical theatrical, literary
and political life of New York, with Tony Pastor's of variety fame,
the Academy of Music and Tammany Hall. E. H. Sothe,. and Julia Marlow,
John Barrymore and Weber and Fields, 0. Henry and 0. 0. McIntyre
and Thomas Wolfe and Edgar Lee Masters were regulars.Victor Herbert
wrote some of his operettas at Luchow's, and the table he occupied
at lunch is still referred to as the Victor Herbert Corner. In 1914
at Luchow's, Herbert called the meeting of fellow composers that
led to the founding of the American Society of Composers, Authors
His Music Still There.
In 1901 August Luchow was persuaded by Herbert to engage an ensemble
to play at dinner and supper. The musicians concentrated on Strauss
waltzes, excerpts from Wagner operas, Brahms and Victor Herbert.
And so it is today with Julius Richter and his musicians.
Jan Mitchell bought Luchow's because its traditions, atmosphere
and fine food reminded him of his childhood on his family's estates
in Swede. and Finland. He had learned the secrets of good food from
the chef who had worked for Alfred Nobel, door of the Nobel prizes,
and he had mastered the art of being a perfect host under the eye
of his parents, who often, entertained more than 100 guests at a
time for hunt parties.
Bar on Original Site.
Luchow's today consists of seven public dining rooms, with the bar
and men's grill occupying the original site. The main restaurant,
fronts on 14th St. Behind it are the garden and cafe, originally
an open-air beer garden. On the left is the New Room (opened in
1902) and on the right the Hunting Room, lined with the heads of
animals shot by Lucbow. Beyond this is the Niebelungen Room, named
for murals with scenes from Wagner's Ring Cycle.
The only physical change Mr. Mitchell made in the high-ceilinged,
dark-paneled rooms that stretch back to 13th St. was to install
air-conditioning. More than 200 beer steins, many of them collector's
pieces, line the walls, as we'll as 60 oil paintings, including
a Van Dyke, a Snydes, a Van Mienis and a Goya. The largest was purchased
by Mr. Luchow at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 and years later
was discovered to be the work of Sweden's greatest artist, Augusto
See a portion of the Menu
Website visitor Roger Hall from Australia
writes: Thank you for the wonderful review on Luchows. I remember
well dining there as a young (16 year old) wide eyed Aussie in 1964
when I backpacked through New York and across the USA on $99 a Day
Greyhound ticket.I also dined in Voisin (spell?), and The French
Shack I think it was called. My host, a WW2 buddy of my Dad also
took me to Four Seasons and to see "Fiddler On the Roof".
A most enjoyable trip down memory lane.