With OTB’s Death, Has Winner’s Circle Gone to the Glue Factory?

Photo: Courtesy of OTB

The OTB closed down last week, and today is said to be the last day that the remaining three locations will be open — including the midtown one at 38th and Seventh Avenue. Why should you care? Because that’s the address of one of the city’s most unique eateries, the Winner’s Circle, whose passing we first fretted about nearly three years ago: “To be sure, the décor of the restaurant, above the OTB at Seventh Avenue and 38th Street, is as dreary as the food, but we’ll be damned if watching a harness race at one of the tabletop TVs, with a shrimp cocktail handy, doesn’t beat watching the game on one of the ESPN Zone’s tabletops.” (Little did we know the ESPN Zone would beat it to the glue factory.)

So will the Winner’s Circle be open today, to see the midtown OTB’s last gasps? An employee at the restaurant couldn’t say. “I have no idea,” she told us, sounding more than a little bit distressed. “I have no clue what’s going on, and there’s no one here I can ask. The OTB doesn’t even know.” It’s a shame, because the restaurant was recently renovated, according to a page on the OTB’s site that instructs us to “look for the neon sign or listen for the loud cheers to find the racing excitement.” Well, the neon sign is still there, anyway, but if all of this plays out, it’ll likely become another mere relic of a seedier time, like Bare Elegance’s haunting illumination. If you never went, read nymag.com’s listing for a sense of the place that was “as close as midtown gets to vintage Vegas.”