America's Classic: Keens Steakhouse

 

72 W. 36th Street, NYC 
Owner: George Schwarz

 

New York City specializes in new restaurants, not old ones, and local interest in them is generally measured in months instead of years. So it’s nothing short of astonishing that a 120-something-year-old restaurant has managed to stay both relevant and wildly popular in the middle of Manhattan.

 

Albert Keen, a theater producer, opened the restaurant in 1885, when the Herald Square Theatre District thrived. Actors came in for a drink between acts. Today, the walls are decorated with over 50,000 clay pipes, donated by celebrated customers like Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein, souvenirs from an era when smoke clouded many restaurants. George Schwarz, the current owner, took over in the late 1970s, investing much money and sweat equity in reviving the restaurant.

 

What Keens has always done well is to age and grill meat. It was one of the first restaurants to... Read more >

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