Cover image for The Russian Tea Room : a love story
The Russian Tea Room : a love story
Stewart-Gordon, Faith.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [1999]

Physical Description:
250 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library TX910.5.S48 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library TX910.5.S48 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Coinciding with the opening of the glamorous, new Russian Tea Room, former owner Faith Stewart-Gordon's charming and revealing memoir shows why this legendary restaurant lives up to its reputation -- and then some.

Rudolph Nureyev told Time magazine that the Russian Tea Room was what he liked most about America. Carol Channing regularly dined there for lunch -- on mysterious items she'd bring herself in a lunchbox. Leonard Bernstein scribbled the first bars of "Fancy Free" there on a napkin. And Dustin Hoffman made his hilarious and unforgettable debut public appearance as a woman in the famous movie Tootsie at the Russian Tea Room.

Now, just in time for the Russian Tea Room's long-awaited reopening, comes this delightful, anecdote-rich story of the famed New York eatery. And more -- not just about a famous place, it is a true memoir, at times very funny, always touching, sometimes sad, and often revealing, about a brave and quirky young South Carolina woman, Faith Stewart-Gordon. Her journey from the early 1950s and acting on Broadway to her marriage to the Russian Tea Room owner, Sidney Kaye, and her subsequent struggles to oper

Author Notes

Faith Stewart-Gordon ran the Russian Tea Room for nearly thirty years. She lives in New York City and Washington, Connecticut.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Any number of existing books extoll the uniqueness and the special flavor that distinguished Manhattan's Russian Tea Room--none, however, as much as this one by Stewart-Gordon, the restaurant's former owner. Married for a decade to the Tea Room's founder, Sidney Kaye, she weaves somewhat jumpy, nonsequential tales of her South Carolina upbringing, her marriages, and the relatives, staff, and celebrities that populated the Tea Room. It's a lighthearted, engaging memoir, which includes anecdotes such as that actor Zero Mostel dropped his trousers to be recognized by theater critic Harold Clurman. It's somber, too, detailing Kaye's seven-year losing bout with cancer. And it's realistic; Stewart-Gordon admits to marital mistakes as well as to financial blunders. Yet all's well that ends upbeat; the Tea Room, closed in 1995, is reopening this year, refurnished and under new ownership. --Barbara Jacobs

Publisher's Weekly Review

This disorganized but good-natured recollection takes readers inside New York's famous restaurant, which was founded in 1927 by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet. Stewart-GordonÄthe perky name-dropper and former actress who inherited the restaurant from her husband, Sidney Kaye, in 1967Ächarmingly recalls stories from the Tea Room (most of them comic, at least in retrospect), like the time the restaurant flooded and the diners just went on eating, or when Dustin Hoffman showed up in drag for his role in Tootsie. Stewart-Gordon can also switch abruptly from comic routines to the highly personal, as when she affectionately describes a typical evening with her second husband in a mock stage script, then immediately afterwards details how that marriage ended with a bitter divorce. (Her marriage to Kaye sounds less than idyllic as well: she offhandedly tells of a night that she tried to strangle him and he gave her a black eye.) Celebrity appearances are the draw here, and there are plenty of cameos from the restaurant's heyday in the 1970s and '80s: Sam Cohn, Woody Allen, Richard Burton, Helen Gurley Brown and Russian defectors Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolph Nureyev are some of the names that crop up. The appeal of this book may be generationalÄit will entertain those who thrill to hearing stories of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, but may be lost on those who know them best as Ben Stiller's parents. Photos. (Oct.) FYI: Publication is timed to the reopening of the Russian Tea Room, which closed in 1995. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 7
1 Beginningsp. 15
2 First Datep. 30
3 Newlywedsp. 40
4 New York Restaurantsp. 46
5 Isaacp. 56
6 Hungry Artistsp. 63
7 Location! Location! Location! Real Estatep. 67
8 RTR Divas and the Art of Having Lunchp. 88
9 Tall Talesp. 123
10 Into the Valleyp. 157
11 Fires from Ashesp. 166
12 Jimp. 172
13 Caviar and Vodka and Other Epicurean Delightsp. 186
14 Ellen--Heartbreak and Afterp. 189
15 The Art Collectionp. 195
16 RTR Advertisingp. 202
17 Making Movies and Making Troublep. 209
18 Last Daysp. 218
19 Cabaretp. 220
20 Endingsp. 229
Epiloguep. 235
Indexp. 237

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