While attending acting school in California, a New Yorker told Lucy Owen that Café Luxembourg was a great waitressing job. When the San Francisco native headed east, she went directly to Luxembourg. The Lincoln Center brasserie celebrates its 25th anniversary tomorrow, and Owen recalls for us some of her celebrity regulars and other secrets of restaurant longevity.
Are there perks to working so close to Lincoln Center?
The last thing I saw was the Beckett trilogy — the artistic director for the Gate Theatre from Ireland was in and gave me and another staff member tickets.
Do you have celebrity regulars?
Daniel Radcliffe is in a lot because he’s opening Equus on Broadway, and Liam Neeson comes in really frequently; he’s a delight to have in. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are regulars.
How does Harry Potter tip?
He is extremely nice. He’s charming. I think he’s really young — just a sweet teenager. Just fine. Very well.
What’s the best time to come in to see someone famous?
We’re close enough to 42nd Street that we certainly see actors for their post-show meal between 10:30 p.m. and when we close at midnight. I don’t always recognize directors and writers and producers so I’ve discovered later, oh, that was Tony Kushner (I knew who that was), that’s Larry Moss.
Do you get a lot of bad behavior?
I’ve worked in other restaurants where people are really rude and demanding but I don’t really see that here. Maybe because it’s a lot of regulars; nobody’s going to make a stink at a restaurant they have to come back to.
What do regulars order?
Steak, and we have really good French fries.
You’ve been giving out free Champagne this week for your anniversary. Is that your most popular drink?
I serve more dry martinis than I ever have in any other restaurant.