May 17, 2022


Free For All Food

Joe Allen, NYC theater district restaurant icon, useless at 87

Joe Allen, the Theater District restaurateur whose name was synonymous with a night time out on Broadway, died Monday. He was 87.

While he retained an condominium previously mentioned his renowned New York establishment, Allen experienced been living near to his youngsters in New Hampshire for the past numerous months, a spokesman advised The Publish.

Allen opened his namesake eatery, Joe Allen, on West 46th Avenue in 1965 as a homey-but-stylish place for actors and other theater forms, whilst the debonair man experienced no phase ambitions himself. It was a risky gambit.

The titan of catering to theatrical clientele experienced prolonged been Sardi’s on West 44th Avenue, but males ended up nevertheless anticipated to put on tuxedos there, and your evening meal may possibly consist of bumping into gossip columnists like Walter Winchell or The Post’s Leonard Lyons.

But above at the subdued Joe Allen’s, a dancer could display up sweaty after a performance with her backpack, order a beer and pet Allen’s Labrador retriever Alice, who would cozy up to buyers. That was Tony-award winner Chita Rivera’s nightly regimen in the course of her operate in “Chicago.”

Some of the restaurant’s other early regulars have been before long-to-be superstars Marsha Mason and Al Pacino.

“He’s a really superior tipper,” Allen informed The Submit of Pacino in 2012.

Joe Allen the restaurant on West 46th Street in 1965 as a homey-but-elegant spot for actors and other theater types.
Joe Allen, the cafe, opened on West 46th Avenue in 1965 as a homey-but-sophisticated spot for actors and other theater forms.

The owner’s modest gathering of pals quick developed into an empire, with Joe Allens popping up in Miami Seashore, Ogunquit, Maine, London and Paris. The French outpost, which opened in Les Halles in 1972 and now operates beneath new ownership, was a cause célèbre in the push at the time for currently being the very first to export the American hamburger to fickle France.

In 1983, Allen opened the Italian place Orso subsequent doorway on 46th Avenue, and the outdated-school speakeasy Bar Centrale upstairs in 2005. Alongside the celebs at Centrale, in which all the boozy drinks appear with sidecars, you can locate longtime Joe Allen normal manager Mary Hattman manning the host stand most evenings.

“It’s a sad day for all of us,” Hattman explained to The Put up. “I beloved Joe dearly and will skip him permanently. He brought so quite a few folks with each other.”

Allen’s spirit of conviviality endured even into the pandemic. Joe Allen’s has been shuttered through most of the past year, but reopened for two months in the tumble at reduced capability. On its first night back again, Oscar winner Joel Gray, a client given that the late ’60s, was there at his table, smiling and waving to other satisfied devotees.

Missing, though, was the man who built it all transpire.

“Joe Allen was as much a component of the material of the theater community — frankly, as a great deal a star — as any one who at any time dined or drank at his institutions,” claimed Broadway publicist Rick Miramontez. “I am sorry he won’t be sitting on his barstool when Broadway last but not least will come roaring back again, but his existence will be felt for lots of, a lot of decades to appear.”

Days just before the restaurant started serving burgers yet again in September, Rivera fondly recalled her romance with Allen in the ’70s that bloomed at his restaurant.

“I went out with Joe for a very little little bit all through ‘Chicago,’ and no one realized that he was a heat, humorous guy that actually cared,” Rivera, 88, explained. “I just want persons to know that he is that dude. He is Joe’s.”