In 1955, the restaurant was purchased by Sidney Kaye, who, in 1967, left the restaurant to his widow, Faith Stewart-Gordon.
In 1981, Harry B. Macklowe, the developer of the Metropolitan Tower, planned a large office tower that would have included not only his own site at the Metropolitan Tower but also the restaurant's and the lot on which Carnegie Hall Tower was erected. There was an agreement with Carnegie Hall about their lot but Stewart-Gordon, who owned the lot dividing the project, refused to sell. Macklowe also offered to buy the air rights only and to give room for her restaurant inside the new tower building, but Stewart-Gordon declined. No matter what she was offered, Stewart-Gordon refused to sell the lot. During the planning of the Carnegie Hall Tower at 152 W. 57th St. On the other side of the Russian Tea Room, again Stewart-Gordon declined to sell its site or its air rights. The result is the narrow twenty-foot gap separating the Metropolitan and Carnegie Hall towers.
In December 1996, Warner LeRoy bought the restaurant from Stewart-Gordon for $6.5 million and closed it down, much to the despair of New York high society. After four years and $36 million in renovations, it reopened, but it was never the same; it closed with little notice on Sunday, July 28, 2002, after declaring bankruptcy. LeRoy's health was failing, and after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the local economy did not recover quickly enough to make payments on the substantial loans for the renovations.
After Warner LeRoy died, his estate sold the property for $16 million to the United States Golf Association in December 2002. The Association had planned to reconfigure the property as a dining room and museum in which to showcase its extensive collection of golf memorabilia, but instead it sold the building in 2004 to the RTR Funding Group of Gerald Lieblich. The 20-foot-wide building goes all the way from 57th St. (restaurant main entrance) to 56th St. The plans are to replace some of the current building facing 56th St. with a 29-storey condominium which is to be designed by Costas Kondylis. The original restaurant will be kept undisturbed.
Double Life of the Tea Room; When Is a Tea Room Not a Tea Room? When It Is the Mediterranean Tea Room in Kings Heath on a Weekend Night. Jo Ind Went to the Restaurant That Swops Its Scones for Steaks
Mar 10, 1999; The Mediterranean Tea Room in Kings Heath is a tea room by day and a restaurant by night. Just as a woman goes shopping in her...