The Russian Tea Room (RTR) was opened in 1926 by former members of the Russian Imperial Ballet at 150 West 57th Street in New York City, next to Carnagie Hall. Russian emigrants who sought refuge in the U.S. after the revolution flocked to the conventional tea room for pastries and the social scene.

1932 marked the end of Prohibition and the soda fountain was replaced with a bar that stocked over 20 varieties of vodkas from all over the world. The menu was also embellished to include classic Russian dishes such as stuffed cabbage, caviar and blintzes. The Russian Tea Room gained popularity among other New Yorkers, not just Russians, and business started to take off.

After World War II a group of investors decided to get in on the action, among them, Sidney Kaye, a former high school chemistry teacher. In 1955 Kaye bought all the partners out and became the sole proprietor of the RTR. Through his financial shrewdness and his flair for the dramatic The Russian Tea Room became one of the most well known and frequently visited places in all of Manhattan.

Under Kaye's direction the RTR became the place for cultural and literary icons to see and be seen. The dining room was transformed by it's guest list into a veritable Hollywood who's who. Kaye's reign lasted until his death in 1967 and ownership was then transferred to his widow who expanded the business to include a second floor cabaret.

In 1995 Warner LeRoy purchased the RTR and the restaurant underwent a massive 4 year renovation and expansion to the tune of 20 million dollars. The new RTR occupied seven stories and housed a two story ballroom when it reopened in October of 1999. LeRoy contracted artisans from around the world to fill the restaurant with show stopping pieces in accord with the restaurant's history. He contracted a Murano glassmaker to create 36 one of a kind hand blown glass eggs that hung from a gold tree in the second floor dining room. At the opposite end of the same room, a 15 foot tall revolving glass bear aquarium filled with live clown fish stood on a podium. Above them both, a 504 square foot stained glass ceiling (the only one of it's kind) was backlit by 60,000 watts of light.

LeRoy, a self professed child of Hollywood (his grandfather founded Warner Brothers Pictures) came to the RTR after a string of previous successes. Among them were the famous New York eatery, Maxwell's Plum, Six Flags Great Adventure, Tavern on the Green, and the resturaunt Potomac in Washington DC.

Unfortunately, earlier this year, the Russian Tea Room's famous doors were closed until further notice.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.