Known as much for its matzoh ball soup as it was for its reputation as a place to spot Broadway stars and chorus kids grabbing a bite in between shows, Café Edison shut its doors Dec. 19, 2014, after 34 years of business.
When news broke of the Edison's closing late last year, management originally told the staff that a white-tablecloth restaurant with "a name chef" would be replacing the eatery.
Inside Café Edison's Final Day – Broadway Bids Farewell Over Matzoh and Memories The New York Daily News states that Friedman's Lunch won the bid over 50 other offers, some of which included big chains and celebrity chefs. Jeff Roseman, the broker who closed the deal, told the Daily News Sept. 16 that the Edison landlord wanted "something warm" and was keen to steer clear of high-end, celebrity chef tenants, a turn around from last year's report.
The hope is that Friedman's will pick up where the Edison left off – as much as possible. "This is going to be everything the Edison Cafe was — just a few decades later," Roseman said. It is aiming for a spring 2016 launch.
Friedman's founder Alan Phillips said that the menu will carry with it some familiar items from "The Polish Tea Room" (as the Edison was frequently called), including chicken matzoh ball soup and reuben sandwiches. For comparison, The Edison's reuben sold for $8.50, while Friedman's grilled comes with a $17 price tag. The chicken matzoh ball soup ranges $5-$8.
For many industry regulars, the no-frills nature of the Café Edison was its draw. "I hope that the new place works for me and everyone in the theater. I hope it's not too expensive," Tony winner Linda Lavin, an Edison regular, told the Daily News.
"You're Sick, You Don't Pay for Chicken Soup": Producer Emanuel Azenberg on Memories of Café Edison