Everybody went to Schrafft’s. Kirk Douglas as a young struggling actor worked as a waiter in a Schrafft’s. Movie stars, politicians, even Presidents (Truman) stopped into Schrafft’s. Truman Capote got thrown out of Schrafft’s (more than once) for being a nuisance to the clientele (joking around irreverently and laughing too loudly). James Beard admired “the precisely trimmed egg salad sandwiches. Mary McCarthy ate them. E.L. Doctorow’s character “Billy Bathgate” ordered the crustless chicken sandwiches at a Schrafft’s where he and his mother joined “all the fine people in the Bronx.” Authors often placed their characters in Schrafft’s, and often noting the specific choices on the menu because those were famously delectable to millions of New Yorkers and out-of-town visitors. David Columbia, New York Social Diary
This is the only tangible remnant of the myriad Schrafft’s lunch counters that once dotted the NYC landscape, and it’s only there because it’s part of the metalwork at at Gothic-style building at #1 Smith Street, just off Fulton.
From my Smith Street page:
The restaurant chain was founded by Frank G. Shattuck, who expanded William Schrafft’s candy business founded in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1861 into chain restaurant empire beginning in 1898.
Schrafft’s was known for wholesome, all-American fare, served by fresh-faced Irish waitresses. Mothers and children ate there; so did movie stars. Schrafft’s restaurants were located in high-end shopping districts, like Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
But times changed, Fulton Street changed, and Schrafft’s did, too. By 1968 they seemed quaint, almost dowdy. They hired Andy Warhol, of all people, to give them a snazzy new with-it image, and remodeled to emphasize their bars to snag the younger clientele. McBrooklyn
Schrafft’s was purchased by the Riese Organization in 1978, the company that brings you T.G.I. Friday’s (which until 2007 occupied the old Gage and Tollner landmarked space on Fulton Street in Brooklyn) and soon after their many locations closed. “Schrafft’s” has since been reactivated as an ice cream brand. NYCNosh: In Search of Schrafft’s