Jimmy Armstrong, Saloon Keeper to the World

Jimmy 001 Yes, you Matt Scudder readers, there really was an Armstrong’s Saloon on 10th Avenue in New York City and – naturally – there was a Jimmy Armstrong. I could not find any pictures of Jim on the interwebs… so here is one of mine from December of 2000. Jim Died in 2002. And I must think of him every day. Every damn, lonely day. Last night, I made fried oysters, a dish I first had at Armstrong’s. Armstrong’s Saloon had a world-famous menu. He did everything with care and even aged his own steaks in the saloon. Chef Charles presided over the kitchen, but most of the recipes were Jim’s. From time to time he would pop into the kitchen himself and whip up something marvelous. Like his curried tartar sauce for the fried oysters. He showed me how to do it, and I made that last night too. So I have really been missing my old friend. Jim was a man of hearty appetites. Food and drink flowed for hours around him as he sat at the west end of the bar. Wish you were here, Jim. But in a way you are. That is all I can write.

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4 Responses to “Jimmy Armstrong, Saloon Keeper to the World”

  1. Nadine in Upstate New York Says:

    A moving tribute to a beautiful man — I wish I had known you, Mr. Jimmy Armstrong! Maybe someday on the other side!

  2. scottross79 Says:

    Lovely tribute, Eliot.

  3. Allison Says:

    You have Jimmy Armstrong’s recipes??!! Please share. I loved his eggplant parm with the side of rice, the black bean soup… etc., etc.
    I worked for Jimmy back in the late 1980’s for about 2 years. Armstrong’s Saloon was so different and elegant without being at all fussy. I remember how Jimmy told me that in the early days he kept the infamous “westies” gang at bay and out of his drinking hole simply by playing classical music. They couldn’t take it and cried uncle & left him & his bar in peace.
    So glad to see that someone else remembers this one of a kind man and his saloon.

    • Rev. E.M. Camarena Says:

      Somewhere I have a few of his recipes. Cajun Bread pudding and a couple of others.
      I have an old cookbook/cocktail book he used as well – and I just cannot bring myself to part with it on ebay where it is highly coveted.
      I remember him talking about that reason for having the music! I miss him.

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