Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy 100th birthday John's of 12th Street


Just got a press release announcing that East Village mainstay John's of 12th Street "is celebrating their 100th year anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 23 by rolling back the prices on their menu to approximations of those available in 1908."

The release included a few historical tidbits. Like!

During prohibition Momma John kept a "hootch" still in the backyard behind the kitchen and made wine in the basement. John opened a speakeasy upstairs and patrons would enter through the restaurant, where he served Momma John's brews in espresso cups in case of a raid. To celebrate the end of prohibition, John put candles on each of the tables in the restaurant and started the wax candelabra which is still in use and being added to nightly in the back room.


And celebrities!

Patrons though the years include an eclectic range of bold face names including Jackie Kennedy (who brought her young family in for spaghetti dinners), Ben Stiller (who dines with his parents), Pete Townsend (lore has it he sketched the idea for Tommy on a napkin), Christian Slater (who had his 9th birthday party in the restaurant's back room), Tom Cruise (who initially went unrecognized and waited patiently for a table for an hour), and Kelly Ripa (her first date with now husband Mark Conseulo was at John's).

7 comments:

ken mac said...

Gino? Pics pics pics!

EV Grieve said...

My photos from there are awful! It was an overcast day last time I was there...and the building was under the dreaded construction scaffolding...I recommend a trip there to Lex and 61st....The waiters wear tuxes...and there are zebras painted on the walls.

Anonymous said...

ugh, really gross food.

Anonymous said...

John's is a Lower East Side mainstay.

Mike said...

Thanks for posting this. Have fond memories of John's... glad they're still around.

EV Grieve said...

Hey Mike, thanks for the comment...John's must own the building. Otherwise, their rent would be like $350,000 now or something...

Anonymous said...

I actually had lunch for the first time on the anniversary. Amazingly, the place was not packed, even though everything was 95 cents or less! Quick lunch review, the stuffed clams were OK, but a bit too greasy for my taste. The veal parmigiana was good, but the highlight was the sausage and peppers. Go there today if you can, it is only until 4:30 PM!