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.

Found Another

Jimmy at the table

UPDATE animatedHere is a photo of MANNY KAUFMAN
in 1982 accepting his Emmy® Award.

Manny 1982

Fondly Remembered Armstrong’s “Regular” Manny Kaufman of CBS-TV Gets An Emmy For His Expert Audio Work

Click Image For More Info

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14 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.

  4. Tommy m Says:

    I remember danny snow and reggie harris…the whole gang

  5. Louise Says:

    The year I spent waiting tables at Jimmy’s in the early 80’s(1983) was unforgettable. Charles from Haiti and his amazing cooking (I have never found back bean soup like it, Arroz con pollo etc…the lovely manager hired me solely on the basis of my Australian credentials ( accent)- exotic in those days if you can believe that, and many a tip earned on the back of it from the beautiful customers!. Lucky for me because I was not the best waitress.)
    I did not know how lucky I was to find such a place to be while adrift in the world, but the memories of the people I worked with have remained with me since those days, the kindly bar tenders who’d been there forever, the friendly wait staff, all looking for their big break somewhere. I’ve often wondered what became of them all. Very grateful for my time in this very special place and great to find news of Jimmy’s after all these years.

    Louise from Sydney

  6. William Keller Says:

    I remember Jimmy’s , had my reception there years ago, he moved to 10 th ave sometime after that, food was always great, we’d go there for brunch most weekends

  7. Mike Says:

    I loved this place, best ceviche I ever ate. I was a student at John Jay College from 1984 to 1988 and would never pass up an opportunitu to stop in for a drink and meal or bring my friends in when visiting NY from out of town. I wish I still had my blue Armstrong’s t-shirt. Always a mixed and fun crowd. This saloon was everything I loved about NYC…… waxing nostalgic

  8. Daniel Zwirn Says:

    Jimmy was a dear friend of mine and many years later I find myself dreaming about his food and missing his friendship. If You have more pictures or information about Jim please Contact Me. Freezerman10@gmail.com I was his Refrigeration contractor and My Dad was his Attorney. Sincerely Daniel Zwirn

    • Rev. E.M. Camarena Says:

      I absolutely have more pictures. The just await my going through the boxes of pictures. Was your dad the person who handled that huge lawsuit against Jimmy? The one thrown out when the first witness lied on the stand?

  9. Judith Prescott Says:

    I have so many wonderful memories of Armstrong’s on 9th Ave & then on 10th. My second home, really. Loved the music & the food, but mainly the crowd: Manny Kaufman, Tom Doyle, Dan Snow, John Ahearn, Jim Mumford, Orlanda Brugnola, Bartenders Randy & Paul.
    Joanie, John, Michael Gebhardt. Jimmy was quite a character & he
    loved & appreciated his “regulars” as we loved & appreciated him.
    Judith (Judy) Prescott June 18, 2020

    • Rev. E.M. Camarena Says:

      Just this afternoon my wife reminded me that she kept a check she got from Manny because of his gorgeous penmanship.
      We sure miss that place. I still emulate Jimmy by adding curry to my tartar sauce when I make fried oysters – a dish he introduced me to. Jimmy and Doyle would get into the damnedest arguments! It really was a second home for many of us. Those Thanksgiving parties will live forever in our memory…

  10. Dave Kole Says:

    I worked at House of Burgundy on 58th St in the mid 80’s. Ate t lunch at Jimmy’s all the time. Jimmy was a great guy, and lots of fun! He was a true saloon keeper, as was my great grandfather in Jersey City in the 1890’s. I think of Jimmy often, RIP Jim!

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