Friday, August 28, 2009

Patricia Murphy's Candelight Restaurants

Since 1930
Deerfield-Boca Raton, Florida
Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
One Fifth Avenue, New York City
260 Madison Avenue, New York City
12 E. 49th Street, New York City
1703 Central Park Avenue, Westchester, N.Y.

Hi Dears,
"Why can't we have a restaurant like this at home? We were so happy to see dear Art and Marge. They certainly rolled out the 'Red Carpet' for us all the way! They are just great. We arrived in Florida last Thursday and weather is 84-85 everyday. They are praying for rain. Water temp at pool is 84 too! Have good weather when we get home May 6!!!!"
Love to each of you,
Rene and Marge

Patricia Murphy is a restaurant success story from the Depression era. Here's an 1956 excerpt from the Charter, a Nova Scotia newspaper:

" A Newfoundland girl who left her home in Placentia during the Depression to seek her fortune in New York and with a few breaks from Lady Luck, together with boundless enthusiasm and energy, Patricia Murphy has found success.Patricia entered the restaurant business and later owned highly successful eating places in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Manhasset, L. I. and Yonkers."

She left for the great American metropolis with only a small allowance in her pocket and a self unpolished piano-playing talent. In New York she earned one meal a day by playing during luncheon at a small cafeteria. On the same street was a small tearoom where she often ate a "budget meal". One evening she found her favourite retreat closed. She pounded on the door and brought out the cook, who was packing up to leave. She heard the place was closing down because business was so poor, people were really hard hit for "eating out money", she recalled.

She offered the cook a job, made a deal with the landlord to pay $25.00 a week for the use of his equipment and space and then retired to her room with a thick American cookbook. At that time she knew nothing about the tastes of Americans, except they too seem to like hot bread and such mysterious things as "apple brown bells and prune whip". She decided on "popovers" as the hot bread because they could be made quickly and required inexpensive ingredients. Her business started to grow, slowly but surely, now her Yonkers restaurant on Central Ave. New York distributes 10,000 popovers a day, along with tiny loaves of hot bread, muffins, sweet rolls and biscuits. In 1938, Patricia moved into a second restaurant in Manhattan. She occupied herself with the two until she opened another, a suburban place in Manhasset in 1946."


Mary said...

hi - I was going through my mother's things and found a little cup and saucer with script "Patricia Murphy's Westchester New York". I'll ask her about it when I see her. Mom's people were from Newfoundland.

pearl lau said...

we went to the Manhasset place to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries. I got dressed up with white anklets and flats. I was a kid and it was the 1960's. I knew we were having a fancy meal. I still make popovers for fancy dinners. Everybody loves them.


This was such a cool place to go as a kid.It was very elegant yet you felt at ease, The food was great. Pearl, I still love popovers too!! They were the best.They had a room with over 100 fishtanks wall to wall and the most beautiful gardens. Christmas was a sight to see The manhasset restaurant is gone and a Japanese Steakhouse is there.


Pearl, I too have many fond memories of the Manhasset Restaurant. The room of wall to wall fishtanks, the beautiful gardens . And those Hot Fresh Popovers!! I still love them. It was such an elegant yet friendly place. The Christmas decorations were always so nice. And the gift shop. As a kid they had many nice things you could afford. There is a japanese Steakhouse there now. I still have Mom's decks of cards that I had bought her there as a kid. Memories!!

Hassan (Yemen) said...

I wonder if the restaurant chain still operates? They do not seem to have a website at all. I was a 60s eater in their Westchester branch myself (teenager, then) and now I am far away in Sana'a, Yemen). Their popovers are unequalled (and their Filet Mignon).

Tim Detmers said...

Unfortunately Patricia Murphys no longer exists anywhere. I remember dining at Patricia Murphys in Ft. Lauderdale with my parents as a kid and I thought it was great, and that was over 50 years ago. I don't know when they went out of business, but I do have very fond memories of that magical place. I live in the Bay Area now, a pretty great place for food, but I still miss Patricia Murphys! Well nothing lasts forever, but at least I have good memories of good food and a great atmosphere.