Historic Midtown restaurant ‘21’ Club is finally back in action after five months closed.
The upscale, 88-year-old restaurant at 21 West 52nd St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, suddenly shuttered in January after some pipes broke, and it’s been under construction since then following significant water damage. As of this past Tuesday, both the main bar room and the lounge are open for business — with the same art and iconic hanging toys in the dining room. The 10 private dining rooms will not reopen until later this year.
Cold temperatures over the winter led to the broken pipes; sprinklers went off as well, damaging much of the central stairwell. Most of the toys and various memorabilia that contribute to the restaurant’s legendary look were left unharmed.
Initially, the team said that restorations would be finished within a month, but it ended up taking much longer. The restaurant’s located in three converted townhouses first built in 1870, and the age forced more work, according to director of sales Avery Fletcher. Sourcing old leather banquettes and wood floors also took additional time, she says. “When a building this old is faced with so much water, it takes quite a long to dry and restore,” she says.
They aimed to keep it looking pretty similar. ‘21’ is one of New York’s classic restaurants — long known for its timeless look, as well as its roster of rich, famous, and powerful diners ranging from Mario Cuomo to Whoopi Goldberg. Current president Donald Trump was also a regular, albeit a recently controversial one. The restaurant was renovated in the 1980s, and Trump reportedly compared the Afghanistan war plan, based on an anecdote that a former owner called false.
As part of this newest restoration, chef Sylvian Delpique created a new menu with dishes such as lamb with tarragon jus and black sea bass with zucchini blossom and mint oil.