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Sad About ‘Mad Men’ Ending? Eat at These New York Restaurants

Sad About ‘Mad Men’ Ending? Eat at These New York Restaurants

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As the posters for Mad Men’s final season say, “It is the end of an era.” It was truly a great era —the era in which we got to watch the work, relationship, gender, and family dramas of devastatingly stylish people unfold on our screens. As a result, we’ve concocted ideas for Mad Men-inspired cocktails, Mad Men-inspired meals, and heck, whole Mad Men-inspired parties.

But soon, Man Men-inspired anything will start to seem a bit outdated. We’ve compiled a list of places in New York that have been bustling since the actual 1960s, and that have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

As the posters for Mad Men’s final season say, “It is the end of an era.” It was truly a great era —the era in which we got to watch the work, relationship, gender, and family dramas of devastatingly stylish people unfold on our screens. We’ve compiled a list of places in New York that have been bustling since the actual 1960s, and that have no intention of stopping anytime soon.


From plush chairs to an enormous chandelier to curtained windows that look out into a garden — which, in midtown New York, seems almost impossible — Barbetta has been delighting sophisticated guests since 1906. It was New York’s first elegant Italian restaurant at a time when most Italian restaurants were more rustic than chic.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

Located in the resplendent Grand Central station, site of Don Draper’s commute, Grand Central Oyster Bar provides the perfect ambiance for a boozy chat with colleagues — so long as one of them doesn’t throw up the feast later, as Roger Sterling once did during a client meeting.

Keens Steakhouse

Once upon a time, there was a theater district in Herald Square, and the only proof of it that still remains is Keens Steakhouse, which opened in 1885. The most Mad Men thing about it is its collection of around 50,000 pipes, remnants from a time when smoking was expected — and even embraced.

Minetta Tavern

Not only did their burger score the No. 3 spot on our list of the 101 best burgers in America, but Minetta Tavern is a true relic. With tiled floors, sharply dressed waiters, and caricatures of famous people on the wall — not to mention a bustle that hearkens back to its Mad Men-era heyday — you’ll want to reserve a table here as soon as possible, because there will be a wait.

The Pierre

When the show’s leading men decided to break from Sterling Cooper and start their own firm, they set up a makeshift office in hotel room 435 at The Pierre. The Depression-era luxury hotel went through bankruptcy but was revived by the economic boom in the ‘50s, when Don Draper types frequented its bars and restaurants before their romantic liaisons.

Sons of Essex

Though Sons of Essex opened long after the 1950s, and there is no mention or glimpse of it in the show, the atmosphere is perfect for an old fashioned — even if the restaurant and bar is aiming for more of a Gangs of New York vibe.

16 Beloved Restaurants Only '70s Kids Will Remember

All Things Michigan / Flickr

You probably have a go-to favorite restaurant, whether it's a chain or just a local eatery in your town. But many food lovers also know the heartbreak that comes with your favorite restaurant closing for good. And if you grew up in the 1970s, you might have had to bid farewell to a number of your favorite chain restaurants.

We've rounded up a list of nostalgic restaurants that have either gone out of business completely or have greatly reduced their operations. If you got to try these 1970s restaurants before they closed, consider yourself lucky.

Craving even more throwback content? Don't miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

For Minnesota’s ‘Mad Men’ stars, show was experience of a lifetime

“Mad Men” returned Sunday night with the first of its final seven episodes, marking the end of an era for the influential cable TV show. It’s difficult to imagine a small-screen landscape without complicated protagonist Don Draper tossing back a whiskey and pitching brilliant ad campaigns or determined Peggy Olson attempting to conquer her feelings of self-doubt as she searches for happiness. With only a handful of episodes left to find out what happens to some of the most complex, fascinating and frustrating characters in TV history, creator Matthew Weiner and all those associated with the Emmy-award winning show remain mum on its ending.

For an insider’s look at what it was like to be part of “Mad Men,” we talked to three men with Minnesota roots who have been part of the show’s tight-knit world since its beginnings. Vincent Kartheiser, who grew up in Apple Valley, is known on the show as smarmy advertising account executive Pete Campbell Stillwater-raised Rich Sommer plays awkward Harry Crane, the ad agency’s TV department head and Moorhead native Scott Hornbacher is “Mad Men” ‘s executive producer and director of Sunday’s episode. Here’s a sampling of their thoughts on everything from saying goodbye to the show to its impact in their lives.

“Mad Men” debuted on AMC in July 2007. The first of the series’ final seven episodes, which wrapped filming in July, aired Sunday. We asked them about the end of this era.

Sommer: “It’s not fun. It’s been hard to let go of working on this show, but also having worked with these people for eight years … I’ve done lots of plays and at the end of the play, it’s a little sad. But this was a whole new level.”

Kartheiser: “It was bittersweet. We got to finish it — we got to the end — and a lot of times we didn’t know if we would. I know for (creator) Matt (Weiner) it was so important to get the story out and there were lots of seasons where he didn’t know if we were going to come back. For him it was sweet that he could finish it. And for us it was sweet that he got to come to a place with these characters where we felt Matt was seeing his vision realized. And of course it was bitter because it was the end of an era.”

Hornbacher: “Anybody who worked on the show would tell you it’s bittersweet. It felt like it was time to end. From Matt on down, everybody wanted to end on a high note with the show being as strong as it ever was. I feel very strongly we did that. I think it was tough because you spend your life with these people for seven years — we had a great process. People enjoyed one another. There was a lot of pleasure. There was a lot of fun that came out of the rigor. And the rigor of making the show was its own reward because the end product was so good. The idea you’re not going to show up every week and get that amazing script in your hand and not see these people is sad. There’s also a feeling of accomplishment and completion and, hey, maybe it’s time to do something new and exciting.”

While everyone is tight-lipped about what happens in the final seven episodes, we asked if they were happy with how things ended.

Sommer: “I was very satisfied with the way everything went. This isn’t ‘Lost’ — there aren’t things happening on the show that are, like, what? It’s all pretty well laid out. I think everyone follows their natural course.”

Kartheiser: “All around, Matt does a great job of bringing the characters to a realistic place. And I think he’s really smart with the way he does it.”

Hornbacher: “I’m totally happy with the ending. I’m sure it’ll be controversial because every year the show goes on the air and the audience says, ‘Wait a minute why are they doing that — that’s not what they were doing last season.’ And then as the season progresses they start getting on board with the story. They have to adjust to being told a story they don’t know the outcome of. There’s always been mystery in the show that way. That mystery is maintained in the last seven episodes. As a fan of the show, the characters’ outcome is true to who their core selves are. … It’s a befitting end to Don’s story and a culmination of the series in a great way. We’ll see how people react.”

In the beginning, people involved with the show knew creator Matthew Weiner’s script was special, but they had no idea how audiences would react.

Sommer (who had never done a TV pilot before “Mad Men”): “We had no idea (it would be a success). We knew Matt’s pedigree coming from ‘The Sopranos’ — that show had been a game-changer in television. Of course we hoped and thought as scripts started coming in — even me with no experience reading them — ‘This is really good. This is not “Law & Order.” ‘ Nothing to knock ‘Law & Order’ — I love ‘Law & Order’ — but ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Law & Order’ fill a different niche. And this was not ‘Law & Order.’ ”

Kartheiser: “I didn’t (think it would be a hit). And Matt would hate me for saying that, but it’s not because I didn’t think it was great, it was because I underestimated the public. I shouldn’t have. I should have known the public was ready because there were other great things on TV already. But as much as ‘The Sopranos’ was amazing, it was about the mob. There’s a crime element to it and people watch things that are involved with crime.

“We did the pilot and when we started shooting the first season, I was like, ‘This is amazing, but come on guys,’ you know. And then the world surprised me because they got it. I was like, ‘This is amazing, people are on board.’ They want something that is more subtle, a little bit more a psychological story.”

Hornbacher: “My immediate response purely on a creative level was that it was a great script and I wanted to be part of making it. The pilot script — I felt like I could see the movie as I was reading it. And the writing was so good, the dialogue was so sharp, the characters were so instinctive. I didn’t really think, ‘Is this going to be something that in the long term is viable?’ I was just responding to it on a creative level saying ‘I want to do this — I want to be part of this.’ ”

From its critical acclaim to its multiple Emmy wins, we asked the trio why they think the show has been such a success.

Sommer: “The simplest reason is it’s one of the most well-written shows on TV. But from there it also looks pretty. The 󈨀s are still sexy and compelling and I think when you have people like Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery and Vincent Kartheiser hitting it out of the park week after week after week, someone’s bound to appreciate it.”

Kartheiser: “I got on a plane the other day and there were three other celebrities in first class and they were all coming up to me talking to me about my character and the show. It’s weird, wait — I’m not the celebrity, you guys are. But it’s that kind of show — it made that kind of impression on people. Especially people in the industry.”

Hornbacher: “Several reasons. No. 1: I was born in 1964 so the truth is it wasn’t until season 5 when my existence caught up to the show. All of the context of the show — we were being force-fed that our entire lives. Kennedy, advertising, self-made man, New York — it was part of popular culture and movies and magazines. Re-examining that through the lens of a generation that didn’t actually live through it is great because you’re re-examining all that rose-colored perfection. It’s really ripped and torn and flawed and not that different than right now. For people who did live through it they’re like, see, nobody ever talked about that. And I think for younger people it’s almost like science fiction — it’s a totally alien world. But more than anything the characters are flawed and rife with human frailty. Everybody on some level can identify with one or some or all of them on a very personal level. It’s not preachy or judgmental — it just shows people in all their weakness and doesn’t judge them.”

All three agree the show changed their lives.

Rich Sommer: ” ‘Mad Men’ is my career. I had done a couple of commercials, and the ‘Devil Wears Prada,’ but that’s not a career really. Any door that has been opened since May of 2006 has been opened by ‘Mad Men.’ ”

Vincent Kartheiser: (Kartheiser met his wife, fellow actress Alexis Bledel, when she guest starred on the show): “It changed my life in every single way. Not only with my wife — she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire life, including any career or job I’ve ever had — but also the friends I met on it, the things I learned as a human being and an actor. Watching Jon Hamm be a leader among this cast of people and not being a prima donna and not treating himself better than other people. Seeing him do it quietly without having to show off — it was a great learning experience and it took me years to gain understanding of what he was doing. If I can take even 1 percent of what I learned from that man being a leader then I’ve accomplished something great.”

Scott Hornbacher: “Working on the show has been an experience of a lifetime. For me it was my transformation from being a guy who came up in physical production to a full-on creative producer. I was able to build that relationship with Matt that turned out to be directing eight episodes of the show, including the season opener on Sunday. To be involved in the filmmaking the way I always kind of expected to when I went to film school, which not everybody gets to do. I had a long arc to get there — now I feel like I have a whole different perspective on my career.”

We asked all three what, after working on the series for more than seven years, they’ll take away from the experience.

Rich Sommer: “I fear I’ll never have anything that approximates the experience. I take away a lot of things — that a show can be at its best when there’s only one cook in the kitchen. There’s no question Matt Weiner having full creative ownership of the show is the driving force. He checked everything — he checked costumes, he checked props. I think the reason the show became what it became was mainly because there was one person who was driving a vision.”

Vincent Kartheiser: “The biggest thing I’ll take away is just the human experience. What it’s like to have a family. To have a bunch of people you respect, you love. That doesn’t mean it’s always fun and games … but the big idea was that we were all in it together and we had each other’s back.”

Scott Hornbacher: “That you have to believe in yourself. If you really want to do something you have to keep working at it and keep believing in yourself. Even if doing that doesn’t get you the exact thing you want, it’s going to move you forward to a place that’s better than the place you’re in. I feel like I get that from having watched Matt pushing to get the show made, pushing for what he wanted — his tenacity and hard work turned into this incredible legacy of 92 episodes of a series that’s beloved.”

Yes, there is life after “Mad Men.” Sommer says he’s looking for another TV job and lately has been doing cartoon voice work that included a part in a recent “Simpsons” episode. He’s also in Netflix’s upcoming release, “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” which debuts in July. On May 9, Sommer will be back in Minnesota for two Stillwater Public Library Foundation events at the Lowell Inn. Reservations can be made at the foundation’s website (

Kartheiser will be in town later this month to promote “Red Knot,” a film he stars in that’s part of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. “Red Knot” is scheduled to show at the St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis April 23-24. He also has a part in “The Blunderer,” a yet-to-be released film directed by Andy Goddard and starring Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson.

As for Hornbacher, he’s working on the pilot of a drama he’s trying to get made. He’s also interested in doing more directing and keeping his options open to produce another series if the right project comes along.

Amy Carlson Gustafson can be reached at 651-228-5561. Follow her at

What: “Mad Men” (second half of season 7, the show’s final season, started Sunday)

The Most Popular Recipes of the 1960s

Travel through time with us as we explore the most popular recipes of the 1960s. The world's news was dominated by wars, protests, and marches. Fashion focused on ponchos, bell-bottomed jeans, and tie-dye, with the culminating fashion and music event Woodstock in 1969.

But at home, whether it was whipping up a quick weeknight meal or organizing a menu for a dinner party, food preparation in the 1960s was all about convenience. Finger foods were simple to eat and prepare, and many popular hors d'oeuvre, like French onion dip and cocktail meatballs, started with flavorful, shelf-stable ingredients. Take a look at the 1960s' top recipes, from easy weeknight fare to showstopping mains and desserts.

Food and Drink at Business Meetings

The first episode introduces viewers to the in-office business meeting, Sterling Cooper style. The meeting is with Rachel Menkin of Menkin's Department Store. Bloody Marys and shrimp cocktails are served. Rachel is Jewish. Shrimp is a shellfish. Not kosher. The placement of shellfish in the scene reinforces the lack of sensitivity started with Don's "not on my watch" comment in reference to whether or not the firm has ever hired any Jews. The meeting did not go well. Don invites Rachel to dinner that night to repair the damage. A waiter walks by with a pu-pu platter as another delivers Rachel and Don's drinks: a special mai tai and a whiskey, neat.

7. Daniel

Daniel is in many ways the ideal New York restaurant. The staff can't do enough for you. The wine list is expansive. The dining room is spacious and refined. Chef Daniel Boulud is revered, of course, and he has just brought on (or, more accurately, repatriated from Adour) pastry chef Sandro Micheli, a master of classicism. Looking over the dining room, a guest of mine thought it was rakishly reminiscent of Mad Men, retro but sexy. None of this is surprising, because Boulud, in addition to his skills at the stove, is also one of the great restaurateurs of our day.

The food at Daniel has changed over the past decades. It's now intricate, beautiful, multi-dimensional and worldly. Lobster, like so many of the dishes, comes three ways—the most fabulous of the three, a lobster samosa, should be named the official snack food of the Taj Mahal.

The reason I don't rank this restaurant closer to the top is entirely personal and perhaps unreasonable: I have an entrenched fondness for the cuisine Boulud prepared in the early nineties, when I considered his establishment the best restaurant in New York. Back then he specialized in uplifting the dishes French people ate every day, some of it home cooking, some of it rustic. In my opinion, no chef anywhere turned everyday French food into haute cuisine as well as he did. (You can get some idea of his talent in this regard by ordering in advance his canard à la presse, or pressed duck, an upscale dish made famous at La Tour dɺrgent in Paris. There, it's good. At Daniel, it's astonishing.) While I understand that the days are gone when such food made economic sense, I hope I can be forgiven for wishing I could eat that way again.

"We have everything." Betty

The chance encounter with Don and Beth at the restaurant confirms Betty's suspicion that Don is waltzing around Manhattan like Alfie. Her jealousy is enough to make Henry symbolically remove the last of his things. I loved the scene with the Francises driving back from Manhattan with Betty right back where she was with Don. This is juxtaposed with a very relaxed Don in the back of the cab with Bethany. But this means nothing. Eventually even Betty realises she's the lucky(ish) one.

Sad About ‘Mad Men’ Ending? Eat at These New York Restaurants - Recipes

Savor award-winning chef Daniel Boulud's seasonal French cuisine inspired by the market in the sumptuous Venetian Renaissance style dining room or in the Bellecour Room, available for private parties. To ensure the excellence of his cuisine, Daniel Boulud has established a ki.

#2. Le Bernardin

Le Bernardin

Le Bernardin, New York's internationally acclaimed four star seafood restaurant, was born in Paris in 1972 by sibling duo Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze. Dedicated entirely to the cuisine of Gilbert Le Coze, the self-taught seafood wizard, it only served fish: Fresh, simple and prepar.

#3. Aquavit


Located in Park Avenue Tower at 65 East 55th Street between Park and Madison Avenues in Midtown New York, Aquavit offers modern takes on modern Nordic Cuisine complemented by an extensive winelist and an Aquavit infusion and cocktail program. Aquavit transforms Nordic cuisine wit.

#4. per se

Per se

After per se opened in 2004 it quickly established itself as one of New York City's top restaurants. With per se, Thomas Keller brings his distinctive hands-on approach from Napa Valley's French Laundry to New York City. The restaurant reflects his intense focus on detail that ex.

#5. Jean Georges

Jean Georges

The eponymous crown jewel in Jean-Georges Vongerichten's global culinary empire, Jean-Georges also one of the city's greatest restaurants, with accolades from the James Beard Foundation and nearly everyone else, including four stars from the New York Times and three Michelin star.

#6. Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern

One of America's most beloved restaurants, Gramercy Tavern serves inventive American cuisine in a rustic yet elegant setting. Opened in 1994 by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer in a historic landmark building, the Tavern has welcomed guests to enjoy its contemporary American cu.

#7. Masa

At Masa Takayama's namesake restaurant, you won't find standard menus any more than you'll find the standard sushi chef. While he's been in the States since 1980, working at his craft in Los Angeles and New York, Takayama's beginnings in Tokyo laid the foundations and set the cou.

#8. DB Bistro Moderne

DB Bistro Moderne

A modern French-American bistro where the traditions of French cuisine meet the flavors of the American market with a menu reflecting the changing seasons and a focus on the simplicity of fine ingredients. This is perhaps best reflected in Daniel Boulud's now notorious take on th.

#9. Blue Smoke

Blue Smoke

Danny Meyer followed up his uncommon string of successes—Union Square Care, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park—with a more casual restaurant, something that evoked the comfort and cuisine of the American South, but with his own fine-dining flair. The result, Blue Smoke, serves .

#10. Red Rooster

Red Rooster

Named in honor of legendary Harlem speakeasy, Red Rooster is renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson's exploration of the roots of American cuisine and the diverse traditions of Harlem, the neighborhood he calls home. serves comfort food that celebrates the roots of American cuisine .

#11. Craft


Craft reminds diners of the basics of ambience and fine cuisine. From the oversized, workbench-inspired tables to the catwalk above the bar, Craft pays homage to the art & craft of preparing a meal. While this restaurant has clearly jumped the shark in terms of being hot or tren.

#12. Perry St.

Perry St.

A 60-seat restaurant amidst the three gleaming Richard Meier glass towers along rapidly-developing West Street, celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten pares it down with his latest offering. Rather than the over-the-top attributes that characterized 66, Spice Market and V Steak.

#13. Mercer Kitchen

Mercer Kitchen

Global phenom chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, never satisfied with success for too long, brings American-Proven๺l cuisine the the Mercer Hotel. The Mercer Kitchen is a far more relaxed affair than the chef's eponymous𠅊nd duly celebrated—restaurant, with two hundred seats the co.

#14. Buddakan New York

Buddakan New York

Asian fusion hits Chelsea Market right where fabled Buddha Bar made only a transitory appearance. Here on the Ninth Avenue side, previously home to a lumber business and with an eye-popping 17,000 square feet on two floors, Buddakan provides some additional west side balance to t.

Deviled eggs, ‘Mad Men’ and Coachella

The final season of “Mad Men” launches this weekend — by which time, you’ll likely be awash in hard-boiled Easter eggs. So here’s a brilliant idea from executive chef Jennifer Puccio, from San Francisco’s chic Marlowe, The Cavalier and Park Tavern: a Don Draper-inspired viewing party complete with 󈨀s-era cocktails, oysters and Marlowe’s warm deviled eggs.

Peel a dozen hard-boiled eggs, Puccio says, and remove a small slice from each end, so they stand upright. Cut the eggs in half through the equator. Use a whisk to break up the yolks and egg white slices using “a stabbing motion,” until they are the size of large peas. Add ¼ cup or so of mayo, mixing until the yolks are creamy but still hold a shape. Add 2 tablespoons minced pickled shallots (cover the shallots with lemon juice and let them sit until pink, then drain off the liquid), a tablespoon each of Tabasco and minced parsley, 2 tablespoons minced chives, ¼ teaspoon cayenne and salt to taste. Fill the egg white halves generously.

Top each egg with a slice of pickled jalapeño, a 2-inch piece of thin-cut bacon (cooked till very crispy) and a small triangle (a sixth of a slice) of aged provolone. Warm the eggs in a 450-degree oven, just until the cheese starts to melt. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, minced parsley and chives, and sea salt. Serve with martinis, preferably while sitting on a couch with one arm draped, Draper-like, over the back.

If you’re heading to the Coachella music festival — and its chic new pop-up restaurants — later this month, here’s news you can use. (And if you’re not heading for the desert fest, read on anyway, because there’s news for you, too.) You can reserve seats at the prix-fixe pop-ups ($50), run by Roy Choi and other Los Angeles chefs, and at six Outstanding in the (Coachella) Field ($225) dinners via Reserve, the new dining concierge app from the founders of Uber and Foursquare. You choose a time frame. The app books the table and pays the tab, including the tip and a $5 flat fee, so you can skedaddle back to the music without waiting around for the bill.

Turns out you can use the concierge service at 29 hard-to-snag-a-rez restaurants in San Francisco, too. And in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and, soon, Chicago. Unfortunately, it’s no help at all in snagging a seat at Manresa, Chez Panisse or any other fabulous bistro outside the city borders. On the upside, we got a table at flour+water on a Friday night.

Watch the video: We Finally Understand The Ending Of Mad Men (May 2022).