Covey's Sardi's, Hollywood 1941
Sardi’s - as famous as Hollywood itself. That was the proud boast of restaurateur Eddie Bandstatter in 1933 after opening his chic restaurant and nightclub at 6315 Hollywood Boulevard at Vine Street in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Sardi’s was an outpost of the original Sardi’s in New York, made famous by owner Vincent Sardi and his wife Jenny. They opened the legendary waterhole for New York’s theatrical community in 1927, famously hiring Russian refugee Alex Gard to draw caricatures of Broadway celebrities in exchange for a free meal every day.
Back in LA, Bandstatter copied the idea and caricatures of stars such as Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart adorned the walls.
Already the proprietor of Montmartre, the Embassy Club, Lindy’s and the Sunset Inn, Bandstatter was friends with big stars of the era but was also known for befriending stars in their lean years or those still waiting to make it.
Perhaps this was because Bandstatter knew about difficult times – the opening of the restaurant was postponed twice because of financial difficulties and it opened at the height of the Depression, when even Hollywood was feeling the pinch. He was convicted in 1934 for selling 'stimulants' at Sardi's.
Sardi’s seated 200 diners and was open 24 hours, but in 1936 the restaurant was badly damaged by fire. Brandstatter and manager David Covey vowed to rebuild.
The popular radio show Breakfast At Sardi’s was broadcast at the restaurant five days a week and became one of the top-rated radio shows in the nation.
In 1940 Brandstatter committed suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide in his car in the garage of his home in Sherman Oaks and Covey took over as proprietor of the Los Angeles location. His name is on the front of this 1941 menu. Sardi’s in LA closed in 1945 and a chain called the Chi Chi club took over the location.
Sardi’s in New York continues to flourish and remains a theatrical landmark, admired for its history and the fact that the Tony awards were devised there.
After Gard died, other artists continued the tradition of caricaturing until 1954 and, though many still portraits still line the walls of the New York restaurant, they are copies. The Sardi family donated the originals -more than a thousand - to The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.