On Tuesday, Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts celebrated its partnership with Waris Ahluwalia with a dinner prepared by chef Lydia Shire. Over rack of lamb, mustard greens, and oven-roasted cauliflower, Amy Sacco told Grub Street that Graydon Carter should buy Elaine’s because of his connections New York writers, anglers, literati, and power brokers, not to mention the late Elaine Kaufman herself. Sacco then told us how Elaine helped her get her liquor license for her first club, Lot 61. “I couldn’t get the fire department to come for four months, and I called up [Elaine] crying because my party was the next night, and she goes, 'What?!'” Sacco said. “And the guy was eating in the restaurant, and she goes, ‘Get your ass down there now and help the kid.’ And they came the next day, and I had to pass everything, but without her I wouldn’t have been open.”
“She didn’t know me, so it wasn’t like she needed to do it,” Sacco said. “And then as long as I knew her, she’s like, ‘The kid’s here.’ I’m like, I’m 30, what do you mean I’m a kid? But she can call me kid any day.”
Sacco recalled the first time she dined at the legendary Upper East Side spot. “When I first went into Elaine’s, she called somebody a fat fuck and said to get the hell out because he gave her waiter a hard time,” she said. “She called some very important person a fat fuck. And I was sitting at the very front table with some friends; I didn’t even know what that meant then; I had no idea. I just know that she was so cool to me. She goes, ‘Listen, you fat fuck, I don’t give a shit, you’ll never eat here again. In fact, get the fuck out. I don’t want to see you anymore. Get out.’ And I went, ‘I want to be her.’” Sacco noted that Elaine’s temper didn’t keep people from returning to her place again and again. “It didn’t matter, it just was Elaine. Nobody was Elaine.”
She was thrilled that Kaufman deigned to visit each of her downtown venues, Lot 61, Bugalow 8, and Bette, just once apiece. “I mean, getting her out; I was, like, what an honor. What a massive honor.” Elaine, Sacco said, was like her fairy godmother.