Thank you for the Advanced Readers Copy of The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World, provided by the publisher, Abrams Books.
Working in a restaurant is hard work and often looked down upon, but fascinating. It’s a world that many of us don’t get to see or experience. Tom Roston takes us inside the inner workings and history of one of the most interesting and famous restaurant’s that’s ever been. Part historical, part memoir, The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World shows that creating and running a successful eating establishment takes long hours, plenty of hard work, and all of the creativity you can muster. Windows of the World was the highly anticipated restaurant and club that would live at the top of the World Trade Center and it would be one of the most unique places in New York City.
Today, when we think of the World Trade Center, we don’t think about its beginning. We think of the horrific events of 9/11 and how they changed America forever. If you back up to the 1960’s and the planning stages of these enormous buildings, you encounter an idea of progress and hope- two buildings built during a tumultuous time, in a city that was down on its luck. The individuals behind the building saw something special, what it could be – and what it could become.
Following the big shots of the restaurant industry during the three decades Windows of the World existed, the reader is given an inside look at how one builds the most famous restaurant in the world from just an inkling of an idea to a multi-million dollar eatery. Restauranteur Joe Baum was the driving force behind this special place and it probably never would have existed without him behind the wheel. Every inch of the dining rooms and kitchen had his thumb print and it’s because of his genius that it became what it did.
With bumps along the way- recessions, a city riddled with crime, and governmental red tape – we see a restaurant that persevered in spite of the obstacles it encountered, much like the city it inhabits. We see progress, both for the city of New York and the restaurant, both surviving often by sheer will. Windows would become the place to go to celebrate, to be seen, and to see the skyline that was second to none. Its success came from the dedicated staff, those that saw how special it was and the management that believed in it from the start. While it was a challenging atmosphere to work in, to say the least, it was dynamic enough to be a coveted job.
Roston explores the restaurant industry in New York in a way that brings the reader into the food culture. His very thorough research shines through in an extremely respectful manner of this group of people that rode a roller coaster of success that ended in the most tragic way possible. This is a story that hasn’t been told on this stage, and it’s one that needed to be told. It’s a piece of history that we share as Americans.
This book is a great read for any historian, the New York City lover, or the dedicated foodie. I recommend The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World to anyone that has a special place inside of them for a time that can only live on in our memories.
Look for The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World by Tom Roston at your favorite independent bookseller in September 2019.