Café des Artistes

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Café des Artistes' front entrance.

Café des Artistes was a fine restaurant at One West 67th Street in Manhattan and was owned by George Lang. He closed the restaurant for vacation at the beginning of August 2009 and, while away, decided to keep it closed permanently. He announced the closure on August 28, 2009.[1] His wife, Jenifer Lang, had been the managing director of the restaurant since 1990.[2]


The restaurant first opened in 1917.[3] Late in 1985, there was a fire in the kitchen, but the restaurant was able to reopen.[4]

Café des Artistes was designed for the residents of the Hotel des Artistes, since the apartments lacked kitchens. Artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Norman Rockwell, Isadora Duncan and Rudolph Valentino were patrons.[5]

In early September 2009, two years into the Great Recession, Lang announced that the café was closing; shortly thereafter, Lang filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, claiming debts of nearly $500,000, some of which was owed to a union benefit trust.[6] At the time, he also faced a lawsuit from the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Welfare Fund.[6]

In 2011, a new restaurant, The Leopard at des Artistes, opened in the location. According to the New York Times, it caters to those in New York society who derive "fame from power rather than the other way around".[7]

The murals[edit]

The restaurant's famous murals, retained in the new restaurant's 2011 renovation,[7] were painted by Howard Chandler Christy, famous American artist who also painted Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States that hangs in the US Capitol. Christy was a tenant of the building, Hotel des Artistes, until his death in 1952.[8][5] There are six panels of wood nymphs, the first of which were completed in 1934. Other Christy works on display include paintings such as The Parrot Girl, The Swing Girl, Ponce De Leon, Fall, Spring, and the Fountain of Youth.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

The restaurant was featured as a location in the 1993 Woody Allen film Manhattan Murder Mystery.[9]

The restaurant was mentioned in The CW television show Gossip Girl.[10]

Jack Donaghy asks Liz Lemon to meet his friend, Gretchen Thomas, at the Café des Artistes in the television show 30 Rock.[11]

It is the setting for the 1981 film My Dinner with Andre.

In the Friends episode "The One With the Bullies", Monica Geller mentions that she was a sous chef at this restaurant after returning to her apartment from a bad interview.[citation needed]

The restaurant is mentioned in the book "Reliquary" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.


  1. ^ "Café des Artistes closing"
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Café des Artistes history
  4. ^ December 18, 1985 NEW YORK DAY BY DAY Cafe des Artistes Making a Comeback
  5. ^ a b New York Deco, page 127, Richard Berenholtz, Carol Willis, Maren Elizabeth Gregerson (captions), Welcome Books, 2009, ISBN 978-1-59962-078-7.
  6. ^ a b Wells, Pete (September 9, 2009). "Aftermath". 
  7. ^ a b Sifton, Sam (2 August 2011). "The Leopard at des Artistes". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Howard Chandler Christy papers, 1873–2001. Lafayette College Special Collections & College Archives,
  9. ^ "Manhattan Murder Mystery". Sony/CPE US Networks. Retrieved 2015-01-12. Principal photography began in September 1992 and trailed the novice detectives through a variety of venues in and around New York, including: the Hotel 17 on the East Side, the famed "21" Club, the Café des Artistes des Artistes for a poker lesson, Elaine's, Madison Square Garden for a New York Rangers hockey game, Lincoln Center and a night-time visit to a steel smelting factory. 
  10. ^ "Gossip Girl". 
  11. ^ (S01E03, "The Blind Date").

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°46′24″N 73°58′43.9″W / 40.77333°N 73.978861°W / 40.77333; -73.978861