This memoir by Dr. Donald G. Boudreau memorializes and underscores the significance to the culinary world writ large, of the rather remarkable feat accomplished in 1953 by the highly innovative restauranteur, Joseph H. Baum (1920-1998), who would go on to becoming known as the father of the modern restaurant, in creating his premier theme restaurant, the first of many for Restaurant Associates, The Newarker restaurant at Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey (1953-1974).
This accomplished, in the words of the respected food writer Barbara Kafka, a “feat of no mean,” ultimately realizing after a bumpy start The Newarker becoming a popular destination restaurant, largely for nontravelers, especially given its lackluster location (Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey) counterintuitively and rather remarkably becoming a resounding success as a fine dining mecca in the Garden State. The Newarker restaurant was attracting many diners throughout the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, with many paying guests traveling long distances as its loyal patrons. In so doing, Joseph Baum and the company’s then president Jerome Brody, went about pre-staging in The Newarker kitchen for Restaurant Associates, what would ultimately become a high renaissance during the 1960s and 1970s, of fine dining theme restaurants in the restaurant capital of the world, New York City, the likes of which the world had theretofore never witnessed.
They and the Restaurant Associates team would go about creating legendary restaurants such as The Four Seasons (America’s most influential dining establishment), Forum of the Twelve Caesars, La Fonda del Sol (on Avenue of the Americas, on the ground floor of New York’s Time + Life Building], Tower Suite (in New York’s Seagram Building), Trattoria, The Brasserie, John Peel, Mama Leone’s, Tavern on the Green (in New York City’s Central Park), and Top of the Sixes.
Teaming with, including among others, the Swiss-German chef Albert Stockli (1918-1972) who in years to come would go on to becoming one of America’s finest chefs, and James Beard (1903-1985), the joint Dean of American cooking and the father of American food with whom Baum maintained a close warm twenty-plus years friendship and fruitful working relationship, Joe Baum would go about vastly influencing and moreover, positively advancing the food and restaurant worlds beyond his lifetime to the present date. Like few, if many men, ever before him in the restaurant industry and food world a la James Beard, Baum’s seminal contributions continue yielding useful benefits for current and future generations, worldwide, involving all things food. Nine Photographs. Notes.