A while back, Ephemeral New York put up a link to a 1958 Village Voice review of Gene's restaurant, citing "fantastic vintage ads for other restaurants and cafes of the era." They are fantastic vintage ads, and I thought I'd piggyback and share a few here from restaurants that have been more recently lost.
They are simple ads that appeared in the pages of the Village Voice, mostly text, a bit of illustration here and there. They use the old telephone exchanges and tout their air conditioning--a luxury.
Jade Mountain vanished in 2007 after being on Second Avenue since 1931. It had the best neon signs. Its hot-pink CHOW MEIN sign kept glowing until 2011, when it was finally removed. The main restaurant sign was crushed and carted away that same summer. It was salvaged and is currently sitting in a Bronx warehouse.
The Phoenix Theatre mentioned in the ad is today's Village East. (Take a look back.)
We lost El Faro very recently--just this October when it was closed indefinitely while the owners try to raise the money to pay off a number of fines to the city. It opened in 1927.
The Minetta Tavern, opened in 1937, closed in 2008 when the landlord raised the rent too high for the owner to manage. The original owner's son tried to take over, but could not afford the luxury-level rent. Trend-maker Keith McNally took over, gave the place a glittering polish for the swanky set, and took away the portrait of the infamous Joe Gould.
Chumley's, oh Chumley's. The great "writers' rendezvous" collapsed in 2007 and still hasn't been restored, though we hear it will become a (blasphemy!) sports bar. Revisit it in a lovely scene from the Woody Allen film Another Woman.
Finally, the Beatrice Inn, the ravaged and debauched Italian grandmother of West 12th, vongerichtified and vanquished. One of our vanished red-sauce joints recently turned haute cuisine. At least the neon sign was lovingly restored.
New York put together an Oral History of the Beatrice Inn that manages to skip over its long life as a real place, before it "ruled as a subterranean bar for fashion designers, editors, stylists, and the celebrities and young socialites." Well, it is mentioned in passing as an "old restaurant," quirky, strange, and full of garbage.