P. J. Clarke's
|Food type||Hamburgers, Pub Food|
|Street address||915 Third Avenue (NE corner of East 55th Street)|
The bar was once owned by a Patrick J. Clarke, an Irish emigrant who was hired in the early 1900s by a Mr. Duneen who ran the saloon. After about ten years working for him Clarke bought the bar and changed the name.
The building is a holdout and is surrounded by 919 Third Avenue, a 47-story skyscraper. Clarke's former owners, the Lavezzo brothers, signed a deal in which the building housing the saloon was sold for $1.5 million and a 99-year lease was signed with Tishman Realty and Construction. However, due to financial reverses the Lavezzos were forced to sell their interest to a consortium, which includes George Steinbrenner, Timothy Hutton, and others. Prior to his arrest in 2008, Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, whose offices were located near to the bar, was also an investor.
The building was originally a four-story structure. It lost the top two floors when the skyscraper went up in the late 1960s. On the second floor there is now a separate upstairs bar/restaurant called Sidecar, which offers a more formal dining experience.
The bar has catered to a number of notables over the years:
- Nat King Cole proclaimed in the late 1950s that his P.J. Clarke's bacon cheeseburger was "the Cadillac of burgers!"
- Buddy Holly proposed to his fiancee, Maria Elena Santiago, at P.J. Clarke's on June 20, 1958. It was their first date. In honor of that, on April 29, 2011, Maria Elena Holly unveiled the never before seen "True Love Ways" photo of their wedding kiss, now displayed at P.J. Clarke's' above Table 53.
In popular culture
- Nat's Bar was based on P.J. Clarke's in the Ray Milland movie The Lost Weekend (1945), directed by Billy Wilder. Charles R. Jackson, author of the novel on which that movie was based, was a regular at P. J. Clarke's.
- Popeye Doyle, played by Gene Hackman in the movie French Connection II (1975), asks the French police to get him a "nice, juicy P.J. Clarke's hamburger" while he is going through heroin withdrawal.
- In the AMC Television series Mad Men, the employees of the Sterling Cooper advertising agency frequent P.J. Clarke's.
- P.J. Clarke's at Lincoln Square (44 W. 63rd Street) on the Upper West Side opened in 2007 across Columbus Avenue from Lincoln Center.
- P.J. Clarke's on the Hudson (250 Vesey Street at Four World Financial Center) opened in 2006 near Ground Zero.
As well, there are two restaurants of the same name, licensed from the original, in Chicago:
- P.J. Clarke's Gold Coast (1204 N. State Parkway, Chicago, IL 60610) opened in 1986 and serves their MinnieBurger http://www.pjclarkeschicago.com
- P.J. Clarke's Streeterville (302 E. Illinois Street, Chicago, IL 60611) opened in 2002 and served their MinnieBurger This location closed in October 2012 http://www.pjclarkeschicago.com
In early October 2010 P.J. Clarke's opened just two blocks North of the White House:
- P.J. Clarke's Washington DC (1600 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006)
- P.J. Clarke's Las Vegas (3500 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109)
Its first location outside the U.S. opened on November 7, 2008, in São Paulo, Brazil. It's a partnership with local entrepreneur Maria Rita Pikielny Marracini. There are currently two P.J. Clarke's in Brazil.
- P.J. Clarke's - New York | West 60s Restaurant Menus and Reviews
- Dunlap, David W. "New Team, Old Look for Saloon; P. J. Clarke's Changes Owners, Who Plan to Retain Atmosphere", The New York Times, February 15, 2002. Accessed August 4, 2008.
- "P.J. Clarke's". Burger Weekly (Burger Weekly). June 12, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
- True Love Ways Unveiled
- "GOOD EATING; Oscar Ate Here", The New York Times, March 23, 2003. Accessed August 4, 2008.
- Schimidt, Fernanda "Tradicional hamburgueria americana, P.J. Clarke's inaugura primeira filial fora de NY em SP", UOL, November 6, 2008. Accessed November 6, 2008.