The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World Summary and Reviews

The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World

The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York

by Tom Roston

The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World by Tom Roston X
The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World by Tom Roston
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Book Summary

The remarkable story of a restaurant on top of the world - built by a legend, destroyed in tragedy - and an era in New York City it helped to frame.

In the 1970s, New York City was plagued by crime, filth, and an ineffective government. The city was falling apart, and even the newly constructed World Trade Center threatened to be a fiasco. But in April 1976, a quarter-mile up on the 107th floor of the North Tower, a new restaurant called Windows on the World opened its doors—a glittering sign that New York wasn't done just yet.

In The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World, journalist Tom Roston tells the complete history of this incredible restaurant, from its stunning $14-million opening to 9/11 and its tragic end. There are stories of the people behind it, such as Joe Baum, the celebrated restaurateur, who was said to be the only man who could outspend an unlimited budget; the well-tipped waiters; and the cavalcade of famous guests, as well as everyday people celebrating the key moments in their lives. Roston also charts the changes in American food, from baroque and theatrical to locally sourced and organic. Built on nearly 150 original interviews, The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World is the story of New York City's restaurant culture and the quintessential American drive to succeed. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A detailed, inspiring, and horrifying account of the restaurant that sat atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center...Stories of creation and destruction told in an informed and compassionate voice." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Roston's book is a riveting account, not only of a one-of-a-kind dining room, but of the evolution of New York City's restaurant business itself, a concentration of talent, industry and imagination forever the envy of the globe." - Ted Allen

"Roston has woven together a riveting history of New York City since its near collapse in the 1970s and intriguing stories about the restaurant business. The terrible tragedy of 9/11 looms, but there is also a heartening theme of how even the worst architectural excrescence can be transformed by people and imagination." - Paul Freedman, author of Ten Restaurants That Changed America

"This book, as bold and opinionated as a true New Yorker, offers a well-documented account of what it takes to create and manage the highest kitchen in the world. Its author is not afraid to call a coq-au-vin a coq-au-vin and does not suffer from vertigo. Bravo, the result has great balance, despite the strong winds of adversity found at such altitude! - Philippe Petit, high wire artist

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More Information

A journalist for over 20 years, Tom Roston worked at The Nation and Vanity Fair, and was a senior editor at Premiere for a decade. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Fast Company, New York Magazine, Food Republic, Salon, and more. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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