"Elaine's" restaurant to close

Elaine Kaufman, the colorful restaurateur whose East Side establishment, Elaine's, became a haven for show business and literary notables, died at the age of 81. (AP Photo)

May 17, 2011 2:26:50 PM PDT
Nearly six months after the death of legendary New York City restaurateur Elaine Kaufman, her eponymously named Upper East Side Manhattan restaurant, Elaine's, will close its doors permanently after "last call" on May 26.

"This is one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make," explained Diane Becker, Elaine's longtime manager who inherited the restaurant, "but the truth is, there is no Elaine's without Elaine."

"I'm enormously proud of the waiters, the bartenders and the entire staff who have worked so hard with me to keep the place open and going since Elaine's passing in December, but it's simply not a viable situation. The business is just not there without Elaine."

A memorial service on behalf of Elaine Kaufman is being planned for June.

Elaine Kaufman opened Elaine's in 1963 and it quickly became one of the city's most high profile restaurants with a legion of literary customers.

During its 48-year run, it came to attract the city's and the country's power elite from media and politics to entertainment and law enforcement.