June 25, 2022

Joe Allen, the Theater District restaurateur whose title was synonymous with an evening day trip on Broadway, died Monday. He was 87.

Whereas he retained an condominium beforehand talked about his famend New York institution, Allen skilled been dwelling close to to his kids in New Hampshire for the previous quite a few months, a spokesman suggested The Publish.

Allen opened his namesake eatery, Joe Allen, on West forty sixth Avenue in 1965 as a homey-but-stylish place for actors and different theater kinds, while the debonair man skilled no part ambitions himself. It was a dangerous gambit.

The titan of catering to theatrical clientele skilled extended been Sardi’s on West forty fourth Avenue, however males ended up however anticipated to placed on tuxedos there, and your night meal might presumably encompass bumping into gossip columnists like Walter Winchell or The Publish’s Leonard Lyons.

However above on the subdued Joe Allen’s, a dancer might show up sweaty after a efficiency along with her backpack, order a beer and pet Allen’s Labrador retriever Alice, who would cozy as much as consumers. That was Tony-award winner Chita Rivera’s nightly routine in the middle of her function in “Chicago.”

A number of the restaurant’s different early regulars have been earlier than long-to-be superstars Marsha Mason and Al Pacino.

“He’s a extremely superior tipper,” Allen knowledgeable The Submit of Pacino in 2012.

Joe Allen the restaurant on West 46th Street in 1965 as a homey-but-elegant spot for actors and other theater types.
Joe Allen, the cafe, opened on West forty sixth Avenue in 1965 as a homey-but-sophisticated spot for actors and different theater kinds.

The proprietor’s modest gathering of buddies fast developed into an empire, with Joe Allens popping up in Miami Seashore, Ogunquit, Maine, London and Paris. The French outpost, which opened in Les Halles in 1972 and now operates beneath new possession, was a trigger célèbre within the push on the time for at present being the very first to export the American hamburger to fickle France.

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In 1983, Allen opened the Italian place Orso subsequent doorway on forty sixth Avenue, and the outdated-school speakeasy Bar Centrale upstairs in 2005. Alongside the celebs at Centrale, wherein all of the boozy drinks seem with sidecars, you may find longtime Joe Allen regular supervisor Mary Hattman manning the host stand most evenings.

“It’s a tragic day for all of us,” Hattman defined to The Put up. “I beloved Joe dearly and can skip him completely. He introduced so fairly just a few people with one another.”

Allen’s spirit of conviviality endured even into the pandemic. Joe Allen’s has been shuttered via a lot of the previous yr, however reopened for 2 months within the tumble at lowered functionality. On its first evening again once more, Oscar winner Joel Grey, a consumer provided that the late ’60s, was there at his desk, smiling and waving to different glad devotees.

Lacking, although, was the person who constructed all of it transpire.

“Joe Allen was as a lot a part of the fabric of the theater group — frankly, as an ideal deal a star — as anybody who at any time dined or drank at his establishments,” claimed Broadway publicist Rick Miramontez. “I’m sorry he received’t be sitting on his barstool when Broadway final however not least will come roaring again once more, however his existence shall be felt for plenty of, a whole lot of many years to seem.”

Days simply earlier than the restaurant began serving burgers but once more in September, Rivera fondly recalled her romance with Allen within the ’70s that bloomed at his restaurant.

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“I went out with Joe for a little or no little bit all via ‘Chicago,’ and nobody realized that he was a warmth, humorous man that truly cared,” Rivera, 88, defined. “I simply need individuals to know that he’s that dude. He’s Joe’s.”