Founded in 1861 as a Boston candy company, Schrafft's was transformed in the 1900s into a chain of casual yet genteel restaurants, many of them in the greater New York City area. According to Jeri Quinzio in Savoring Gotham, Schrafft's "specialized in such homey dishes as egg salad sandwiches with the crusts cut off, cheese bread, and chicken à la king, along with indulgences like butterscotch sundaes. Most shops included a candy counter and a soda fountain as well as table service. Some boasted a bar."
This location, which may have opened with the building in 1925 and had closed by the late 1970s, sported a men's grill. A clubby preserve found in many midcentury restaurants and hotels, the men's grill maintained a strict door policy at some establishments. At others, including Schrafft's, a woman could cross the threshold provided that she was escorted by a man.
Read how E.B. White, channeling Hemingway, imagined lunch for two at another Schrafft's, in 1950. ("This is my last and best and true and only meal, thought Mr. Pirnie as he descended at noon and swung east on the beat-up sidewalk of Forty-fifth Street. ...")
Surviving signage, 1 Smith St. (Fulton-Livingston Sts.), Downtown Brooklyn