In 1927, the year Gallagher’s opened, James J. (Jimmy) Walker was mayor of New York, the Woolworth Building was New York’s (and the world’s) tallest, and Fred and Adele Astaire were starring in the Gershwins’ “Funny Face” next door at the Alvin Theater. Jimmy Walker passed on in 1946, virtually forgotten; Woolworth’s tower was overtaken by the Chrysler Building in 1930 and the Empire State a year later; and the Alvin is now the Neil Simon Theater.
But Gallagher’s is still going strong in the same location, more than ever secure in its legend as New York’s first steak house, the nation’s model of its kind and the standard by which all others are judged.
The formula that Helen Gallagher created is the acme of simplicity: USDA prime sirloin accompanied by a vast menu of first-quality, fresh vegetables always served in hearty portions, followed by a tempting array of traditional American desserts. The decor that made Gallagher’s a success from Day One also remains unchanged: planked floors, burnished wood paneling, red-checked table cloths and a wall-to-wall collection of classic portraits of the movers and shakers on the New York scene from the turn of the century to the present day.
Completing the picture are the colorful and discriminating diners that make Gallagher’s the one-in-a-kind place that it is.
Some are celebrities – George C. Scott late-lunching with Mary Tyler Moore; Sean Penn; Andrew Lloyd-Webber; Don Mattingly; Joe DiMaggio to name a few. But Gallagher’s broadest base of support comes from discriminating New Yorkers and Big Apple visitors from the world over-with an appetite for plain, carefully prepared American fare served in a classic American atmosphere. Nowhere else in New York do the Gap, Georgio Armani and Bloomingdale’s blend as seamlessly. Gallagher’s is New York – the true American Steakhouse.