One of the most fascinating phenomena of Russians in New York City is their restaurant tradition. Restaurants and coffee houses run by Russian immigrants first appeared in the late 19th century with the influx of Russian immigration, but Russian-themed restaurants truly flourished in the late 1920s and 1930s.
The history of haute Russian cuisine in New York City goes back to the opening of The Russian Tea Room in 1927 by Jakob Zysman, who operated a chocolate factory at the little tearoom where ballerinas used to get together and socialize. Soon after its opening, the tearoom moved across the street where its new owner cultivated it into a restaurant. It has gathered people of importance (politicians, actors, musicians, etc.) as well as masses of tourists who flock to experience its picturesque cuisine and atmosphere. The restaurant has received a ton of media attention and has even been featured in a few films (i.e. Woody Allen’s Manhattan).
Since the opening of the Russian Tea Room, Russian eateries in New York City are setting the bar for engaging a crowd in culinary experiences that make immigrants reminisce the taste of decades past while simultaneously keeping up with current dining trends.