Algonquin Round Table

by candy47

The oldest operating hotel in New York City, The Algonquin was the meeting place for the famous 'Vicious Circle' of literary giants.

The oldest operating hotel in New York City, The Algonquin was the meeting place for the famous 'Vicious Circle' of literary giants. The Queen of Wit, Dorothy Parker and her cohorts Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber, Harpo Marx, Alexander Woollcott, to name just a few. For several years (beginning in 1919) these sharp tongued writers, critics and actors met for lunch every day in the Rose Room of the Algonquin Hotel, sitting at the large round table in the center of the room as the unofficial club grew larger and larger. After a few changes and a very recent renovation, the Rose Room is now known as the Round Table Room.
For my sister's birthday I treated her to dinner at The Round Table Room. It was just as much a treat for me as I absolutely adore Dorothy Parker. My sister, unaware of the history of the Algonquin Round Table, really loves cats. I didn't tell her where I was taking her for dinner, I simply told her that it was a restaurant inside a hotel in New York City and it had a resident cat. Continue reading this page and the reference to cats will become clear.
Oh, dinner was fantastic by the way! I'll tell you about it down below.

Intro photo credit:  Wikipedia in the Public Domain

The Infamous Round Table

Lemons anyone?

Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Robert Sherwood were casual regulars for lunch.. Then one day in 1919 they planned a welcome back luncheon for Alexander Woollcott when he returned to the U.S. after his gig as a war correspondent. Several people were in attendance and someone suggested that they make this a daily event. They were all in agreement and met at the Algonquin every day for many years.
Frank Case, the owner of the hotel, liked having this lively and talented group of young people at his hotel every day even though they were grossly underpaid at their jobs and could not afford to pay for lunch at such a swanky restaurant. Mr. Case offered them free celery and popovers, their own table and waiter. The legend was born!
I could almost feel the electricity and excitement generated by that circle of friends who met there almost a century ago.
Our waiter assured us that this is the original table where the acid tongued (hence the lemons?) writers met and lunched every day. Of course, we were seated at a table for two.

The Round Table
The Round Table
Photo by Candy Dorsey

Dinner at the Legendary Restaurant

The Round Table Room has two dinner menus, one is their standard menu and the other is a pre-theater fixed price menu. My sister and I both elected to choose from the pre-theater menu. Which by the way, is surprisingly affordable.

These were our choices:

We each had soup:

  • Manhattan Clam Chowder...thick, not watery. Lots of veggies and clams.

  •  Lobster Bisque...creamy and chock full of lobster.

Our main courses:

  • Linguini with Shrimp and Sea Scallops with Oven Roasted Plum Tomato, English Peas and Lemon Garlic Broth.

  • Pepper Crusted Salmon Filet with Baby Vegetables and Mushroom Risotto. The risotto was 'out of this world'! It was by far my favorite dish.

And for dessert:

  • New York Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries, Coffee.
  • Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Ice Cream, Coffee.

By the time we got to dessert, I didn't think I could eat another bite, but I did!
The price is very reasonable and the portions are quite large. So large in fact that the lobster bisque would have been enough for me!
The food was prepared to perfection, served by a courteous and accommodating staff. I give the Algonquin Round Table Room 5 Stars!! If you're ever in New York City, try to include this landmark hotel and restaurant into your'll be glad you did.
Maybe I'll see you there next time!

History of the Algonquin Cats

Hamlet and Matilda

 It was sometime in the 1930′s when the group acquired a new member, a tabby cat who strolled into the lobby looking for food. The owner of the Algonquin, Frank Case, named the cat Rusty, because of his coloring. However, John Barrymore who was appearing on Broadway in Hamlet, told Mr. Case that the cat should have a more regal name…Hamlet. That was the beginning of a tradition.
Since that day, there has always been a resident cat at the Algonquin. The males have always been named Hamlet and the females Matilda. The current is a female Ragdoll who was adopted from a shelter and made her debut in 2011.
When we arrived for dinner, Matilda was taking a nap in the executive office (we saw her on the Matildacam). By the time we were preparing to leave, Matilda was having a snack at the registration desk, greeting guests and posing for pictures with her usual poise and grace.

Matilda the Author

Matilda wears many hats at one of New York City's most notable hotels, The Algonquin. As the Executive Director of Guest Relations, CFO (Chief Feline Officer) and now Matilda has told her story to author Leslie Martini.

The Hotel is Pet Friendly

Thanks to Matilda...the Ragdoll cat

The Executive Director of Guest Relations, Matilda, gathered her team at the Algonquin and they made the hotel pet-friendly for the first time in it’s history. Each pet guest is greeted personally by Matilda and is given a welcome package which includes a letter from Matilda along with a list of her favorite places in New York City. Matilda and the hotel concierge will help pet guests find a salon and/or spa, suggest places to run and play or just to shop for a new collar. Their mission is that no pet will lift a paw at the Algonquin.
The pet guest humans will also receive a pet package that includes latex gloves, waste bags, a litter box if necessary, a water bowl and more.
This pet-friendly policy is another reason to stay at the historic Algonquin Hotel in New York City.

Matilda the Algonquin Cat Facebook page


Meet Matilda

And her assistant, Alice
Updated: 03/06/2017, candy47
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candy47 on 07/26/2015

blackspanielgallery, Since the 1930's there has always been a cat in the hotel. Each cat stayed until an illness took them. Matilda is currently the resident cat. You can see her on Facebook at Matilda The Algonquin Cat.

blackspanielgallery on 07/26/2015

Interesting. How ling did the cat stay?

candy47 on 04/24/2015

Thanks Mira!

Mira on 04/24/2015

Nice read, and yes, the food sounds fabulous.

BarbRad on 12/23/2014

Thanks for an enjoyable and informative post. I've only seen NY from the freeway. but it's interesting to see all the trouble this hotel goes to in order for cats and their owners to be comfortable.

RuthCox on 12/23/2014

Oh my, what fun to visit such a legendary place for literary greats! What more could one ask for than to lunch in such a delightful spot in writing history that is pet friendly and has fabulous food too!

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