The Lindy's location at Broadway and 51st Street; a look at the interior and the famous Lindy's cheesecake.
|Closed||February 7, 2018|
|City||New York City|
Lindy's was two different deli and restaurant chains in Manhattan, New York City. The first chain, founded by Leo "Lindy" Lindemann, operated from 1921 to 1969. In 1979, the Riese Organization determined that the Lindy's trademark had been abandoned, and opened new restaurants, the last of which closed in February 2018.
The original chain had locations at 1626 Broadway (at NE corner of 49th Street; now occupied by a Junior's Restaurant, as of October 2020)  and 1655 Broadway (at NW corner of 51st Street; now occupied by a McDonald's Restaurant, as of October 2020).
Lindy's was opened by Leo "Lindy" Lindemann (died 1957, Parkinson's disease) and his wife Clara on August 20, 1921, and was located at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets. A second location was opened at 1655 Broadway in 1929.
In 1969, the 1655 Broadway location was acquired by Longchamps restaurants, who closed the restaurant in September 1969 to convert it into a steak house (it became a Steak & Brew and later a Beefsteak Charlie's).
Lindy's was especially well known for its cheesecake, which was at times credited as perhaps the most famous in the United States. The cheesecake was immortalized in Guys and Dolls, where Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson sang its praises.
The "Lindy's" name and concept was resurrected in 1979 by New York City restaurant operator the Riese Organization, who determined that the name had fallen into the public domain, and later obtained the trademark.
Harpo Marx frequently ate at Lindy's in the 1920s, writing "I had a home again, and during the day a choice of two homes-away-from-home, Lindy's or Reuben's. I was back with my own people, who spoke my language, with my accent - cardplayers, horseplayers, bookies, song-pluggers, agents, actors out of work and actors playing the Palace, Al Jolson with his mob of fans, and Arnold Rothstein with his mob of runners and flunkies. The cheesecake was ambrosia. The talk was old, familiar music. A lot of yucks. A lot of action. Home Sweet Home."
Jewish Mafia icon Arnold Rothstein claimed Lindy's as his favorite "office" and would stand on the corner, surrounded by bodyguards, and conduct business outside. On the day that Rothstein was killed in 1928, his last place before the murder was Lindy's and he received a phone call at Lindy´s.
Milton Berle frequented Lindy's almost on a nightly basis.
In popular culture
The commonly told "Waiter, there's a fly in my soup" joke is theorised to have originated at Lindy's during its original incarnation.
Lindy's was referenced in The Critic episode "Dukerella."
In season 4 episode 10 of “I Love Lucy,” entitled “Ricky’s Contract,” Lucy tells Fred and Ethel that Ricky took his entire band to Lindy’s to celebrate learning that he had been offered a movie contract.
- Meyer Berger (August 4, 1957). "The Passing Parade At Lindy's". The New York Times.("Opening date was Aug. 20, 1921.")
- "Pastrami Makes It to Hong Kong". The New York Times. July 18, 1966.("The original Lindy's here was opened in 1921 by Leo and Clara Lindemann and three partners at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets.... Lindy's annex at 1655 Broadway was opened in 1929. The original place was closed in 1957.")
- "Lindy' s Restaurant Is Sold to Longchamps". The New York Times. June 28, 1969.("Lindy's ... has been acquired by the Longchamps restaurant chain. Larry Ellman, president ... (said) it would be remodeled as a steak house with special delicatessen features.")
- Historic NYC eatery Lindy’s prepares to close up shop Lisa Fickenscher, New York Post, December 14, 2017
- Raskin, A.H. "Thug Hurls Acid on Labor Writer." New York Times. April 6, 1956; Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Victor Riesel, 81, Columnist Blinded by Acid Attack, Dies". New York Times. January 5, 1995.
- Johnston, Richard J. H. (September 20, 1969). "Lindy's Waiters Reminisce With Antidotes at the End of an Error; Lindy's Waiters Reflect on the Past". The New York Times.(Reporting that restaurant would close that night; "The fabled turf of Damon Runyon's stable of Broadway guys and dolls as well as lox and yocks has been sold to Longchamps to become a steak house.")
- Earl Wilson, Sinatra: an unauthorized biography p.349 (1976)(ISBN 9780026300902)("Lindy's is now a Steak & Brew")
- Bea Lewis (Nov 7, 1990). "CHEESECAKE EVEN IN THE ERA OF HEALTH AWARENESS, WE STILL CAN'T GET ENOUGH". Newsday.("Soon Lindy's cheesecake, according to Spira, grew famous nationwide...")
- Craig Claiborne (May 18, 1977). "Is Chef Pascal's Cheesecake Lindy's Long-Kept Secret?". The New York Times.("But most of all it was renowned for its cheesecakes, which were as integral a part of Gotham culture as Yankee Stadium, Coney Island, Grant's Tomb and the Staten Island Ferry....; Quoting Abe Burrows, co-author of Guys and Dolls: "Damon Runyon was very fond of Lindy's cheesecake. In his stories he changed Lindy to Mindy, but he never tried to change the great cheesecake. ...We saw to it that our gambler hero, Sky Masterson, the highest roller of them all, was 'quite partial to Mindy's cheesecake'.")
- "Variations On Cheesecake Theme". Milwaukee Sentinel. October 15, 1964.("Probably the most famous cheesecake in America is served at Lindy's restaurant in New York city.")
- Earl Wilson (May 4, 1979). "Two Talented Brothers". Milwaukee Sentinel.
- Monty Phan (August 24, 2003). "Hot-Dog Ideas, Trademark Steps". Newsday.
- Cathy Grossman (October 15, 1980). "Lindy's Returns With Insulting Charm". The Blade.
- Eric Asimov (August 16, 1996). "Times Square a la Mode". The New York Times.("Lindy's, of course, still exists, but not in its original form. The name is owned by the Riese organization, which foreshadowed the current theme craze with its own nostalgic revival.")
- Harpo Speaks
- Lindy's History
- "Passings." Time. October 7, 1957.
- "What is the origin of the 'Waiter, there's a fly in my soup' joke?". The Guardian.