(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)
*This one is for that purveyor of historic NYC Restaurantalia and good Jazz, Hunter-Gatherer...
Embers in New York...one thing you MUST DO is visit the famous Embers to enjoy the MOST EXCITING food and MUSIC in our town...famous for ROAST BEEF, STEAKS, BARBEQUED RIBS. No 20% tax ever. Dinner from 5:30pm. Open to 4:00am.
161 E. 54th Street, NYC. Plaza 9-3228
From Old And Sold.com...
"New York City Jazz Joints and Restaurants with Jazz"
(Originally published (publication not cited) 1n 1959)
The Embers, at 161 E. 54th St., is the 16th restaurant to open on what had become known as a "jinx spot." That was seven years ago and THE EMBERS is still thriving. Ralph Watkins, owner and creator of THE EMBERS, attributes its success to the fact that he pays as much attention to the kitchen as he does to the entertainment, and still personally supervises both operations. Piano trios and quartets playing "subtle jazz" is the specialty in the front of the house; roast beef, barbecued ribs, steaks, etc., are what come out of the kitchen. Joe Howard is the front man, keeping an ear tuned to comments by customers.
Watkins' reputation as a jazz entrepreneur started at a room on 52nd St. called Kelly's Stable. Preceding that was the original Onyx Club, Royal Roost, Bop City, Basin Street and Lower Basin Street, all now defunct. Ralph started his professional life as a saxophone player in the old Ben Bernie and Abe Lyman orchestras and once led his own dance band at Ben Marden's Riviera, on the New Jersey end of George Washington Bridge (wiped out by the Interstate Palisades Parkway).
THE EMBERS' bartender, Jack Spencer, frequently worked as President Roosevelt's bartender at private Hyde Park parties, and more recently mixed drinks for the Eisenhower-McMillan Bermuda conference.
In its seven years' history, THE EMBERS has presented such eminent piano virtuosos as George Shearing, Dorothy Donegan, Don Shirley, Carmen Cavallero, Teddy Wilson, Eddie Heywood, Joey Bushkin, Erroll Garner and Barbara Carroll.
You can see more Broadway celebrities at THE EMBERS than at many more widely publicized spots. Watkins eschews bulb-popping photographers, which he feels interfere with the entertainment. The building occupied by THE EMBERS, incidentally, is owned by John Perona, whose EL MOROCCO is located directly across the street. In turn, the building housing EL MOROCCO is owned by Daniel Lavezzo who is also proprietor of the premises housing a different type of operation, P. J. CLARKE'S, which is just around the corner.