Following the death of Kenny Shopsin, the legendary owner of diner Shopsin’s General Store, customers are taking to social media to pay respects and share remembrances of the complicated man. People from best-selling author Meg Wolitzer to New York magazine food critic Adam Platt — who called Shopsin an “opinionated short order genius” — are among the fans.
Shopsin died this weekend, leaving behind a large legacy of a restaurant that could be both welcoming and judgmental all at once. Open since 1973, Shopsin’s General Store is known for its wacky 900-item menu, many rules, and communal spirit. But perhaps most famous of all is its mercurial leader, who has been known to both feed starving artists for free and tell other customers off.
Profiled by the New Yorker in 2002, Shopsin became a living legend and went on to write a cookbook, star in a documentary, and continue his daily work in the restaurant. Here are some remembrances of the influential man:
Word seems to have gotten out that Kenny Shopsin passed away yesterday. I have no photos of him in the restaurant because why? What photo could capture everything I ate and learned from him. Why interrupt those moments trying to capture them, rather than simply be in them? Some people would call that one of Kenny’s rules. But it was a lesson. I loved him and love his family. This is a hard day. Reopening comments after this morning of silence. Say something nice or at least true. ... PS I grabbed this shirt at random today. I don’t believe in signs. But.
So sorry to hear Kenny Shopsin has died. My early 20s were spent at Shopsin's General Store in the W. Village. There my best friends and I ate his Senegalese soup and I think a chicken soup with orange sections in it, and sat back and watched the scene.— Meg Wolitzer (@MegWolitzer) September 4, 2018
RIP NYC’s voluable & opinionated short order genius, Mr Kenny Shopsin.... pic.twitter.com/uFJn01UCFP— Adam Platt (@plattypants) September 3, 2018
Kenny Shopsin taught me that turning cheeseburgers into soup was an smart decision; that a restaurateur could be stubborn af and even teach guests to have a laugh about it, even if it meant they couldn’t sit in a party of 5. and he was so sweet to me whenever I came in. RIP— Soleil Ho @ XOXO Fest (@hooleil) September 3, 2018
There's nothing I can say about Kenny Shopsin's passing that he wouldn't find insufferable, except: this city is a boring shithole made for tourists, and your kid is beautiful.— David Yee (@tangentialism) September 3, 2018
Rest your gloriously cranky soul, Kenny Shopsin. You were a truly great New Yorker. https://t.co/ud25Ls94pG— Kat Kinsman (@kittenwithawhip) September 3, 2018
I’m saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and Greenwich Village Legend Kenny Shopsin. Living in New York, (in particular The West Village) in the 1980’s was one of the most magical times of my life. It helped to shape who I am today and it’s where I formed some of my most important relationships. Every day was an adventure. And my New York family took very good care of me. In particular Kenny and Eve who kept me nourished and alive with their delicious food and love. It was an extraordinary family to be an extension of and I will always be grateful. Rest easy, Maestro. With Eve. My love goes out to the Shopsin family. #KennyShopsin #Shopsins #newyorkintheeighties
I loved Kenny Shopsin. He/Eve fed me for free when I was broke. Like everyone, our friendship was based on profane barbs flung back & forth at each other. The magic of Bedford St has so many memories. I’ve more to say, but for now- #AllOurCooksWearCondoms #RIPkennyShopsin #EatMe— Lizz “Pecker Watcher " Winstead (@lizzwinstead) September 3, 2018
kenny shopsin cursed me out once because i made the mistake of complimenting one of his menu items. RIP to a legend https://t.co/sBw0SvSgL7— Jack Hamilton (@jack_hamilton) September 3, 2018
Tonight we lost an icon in NYC. Kenny Shopsin opened his store in 1973, giving us Village kids a menu of over 600 items after a long night out or day in the neighborhood. His foul mouth and personality will always be something we treasure. The originator of the mash-up food experience in his book Eat Me The Food And Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin. We love you @shopsinsnyc #idols #respect @teamcoco