You may be wondering why I've decided to review a restaurant in this blog post, as it seems to have nothing to do with graphic art. But this restaurant has something that almost no other restaurant has: original historic murals by one of America's foremost illustrators.
Howard Chandler Christy painted these murals in the 1930s, (shortly before being commissioned to paint his best known work, Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States.) At this time, the restaurant that occupied that space was the Café des Artistes, which was established in 1917 and closed permanently in 2009. After its closing, heated debate arose as to whether or not the murals should be preserved. Thankfully, the murals survived, and can still be admired by diners visiting the restaurant. In 2017, on a vacation to New York, I could be counted among these visiting diners.
My biggest reason for wanting to visit The Leopard was to see the murals, but I also wanted to eat somewhere festive, as it was around Thanksgiving time, and I would not be at home to celebrate with the whole family.
Unfortunately, my pictures of the murals didn't turn out as clearly as I would have liked, but I did what I could to touch them up so at least they look decent. They can be seen below.
I can't even begin to describe the feeling of being in the same room, looking at the same walls that Howard Chandler Christy touched with his brush. The thought of him being there at work on the murals, coupled with the knowledge that I'm actually there decades later, creates a mesmerizing sensation of being part of a broader story.
But I'd be remiss if I didn't at least make some mention of the food, (since that's always the main reason why one would go to any restaurant.) The food doesn't disappoint, and, (surprisingly for a restaurant such as this,) the portions were decently sized, especially for someone with my kind of appetite. And yet, while the quantity satisfies, it doesn't come at the expense of the quality, which is equally good.
In short, I highly recommend this restaurant, and even if you're not around to celebrate Howard Chandler Christy's birthday, (which is today,) I guarantee you'd be delighted to eat here, graced by the presence of his beautiful murals.
Have you ever eaten at the Leopard? Or what about the Café Des Artistes? Please share your experience in the comments section below. I look forward to our chat!
And if you're not in New York in time to celebrate Howard Chandler Christy's birthday, don't forget you can check out our collection of Howard Chandler Christy's art here.