Tips On Tables

Tips on Tables - Robert W. Dana - November 6, 1957

Little Club Attracts Stars of Theater

A peppermint stripe motif fashioned by Russell Patterson and the zest for living so ingratiatingly communicates to his guests by host Billy Reed have contributed mightily to the 10-year success of the Little Club at 70 E. 55th St. Billy dreamed of the candy stripes and has never regretted his insistence that they be used for the decor.

Billy Reed

Dapper Billy is no stranger to success in other fields in which the public has an active interest. He was a hoofer in vaudeville with the team of Gordon, Reed and King. He was featured at the Palace and In many Broadway shows like George White’s “Scandals.”

Later, Billy moved on to become a gag writer for comedians like Bob Hope and to produce many of the early shows at the Copacabana when Monte Proser was there. This was nice work and it was rewarding, but Billy wanted his own place. He opened the little Club after serving in the Navy during World War II.

Favorite of Show People.

Ever since, the club has been a favorite of the people Billy knew in show business, people who seem to prefer it above all others, people like Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall. Julie Andrews, Dan Dailey, Ernie Kovacs, Robert Q. Lewis and Sidney Chaplin.

And what do you think is the favorite dish of Julie Andrews? Why, it’s a potato sandwich, of course; sliced boiled potato over buttered bread, with melted butter and salt and pepper on top.

This is no tip-off on the Little Club’s cuisine, which offers a pleasant variety of Continental specialties as well as roast beef and steak for the most particular tastes.

Prime Ribs With Bone.

Open seven days for lunch, dinner and supper (lunch only on Mondays), the Little Club serves a la carte with lunch entrees from $2.25 up, and dinner from $4.

Going over well at dinner is the Reed cut of roast beef, a thick, beautiful cut of tender prime ribs served on the bone, with a baked potato stuffed with sour cream and chives or butter, and French cut string beans, for $5.25. A lunch version consisting of two cuts of the prime ribs, costs $3.45.

Let me remind you of such long-standing favorites as boneless squab chicken Rossini with wild rice, breast of capon soufflé with green noodles, chicken sauté in champagne sauce and beef Stroganoff, all served expertly under the watchful eye of Roberti, the club’s distinguished maitre de.

For music the Little Club now presents the distinctive piano playing of Bud Gregg from 10: 30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Soon to be opened is a new party room.

Born in Waterbury, Conn., Billy Reed entered the ranks of show business as a hoofer at the age of 14, when he left home to join a minstrel show. This was the only job he could get where his age wouldn’t show. After this he worked in burlesque. As a member of the vaudeville trio of Gordon, Reed and King, he had hit the big time at the Palace Theatre by the time he was 21. His professional career continued to run the gamut writing material for Bob Hope, Ben Bernie, Al Jolson and Ed Wynn to being the first tap dancer in a “talkie” (to the tune of “Tip-toe through the Tulips” in “Gold Diggers” with Ann Pennington) to dancing with Betty Compton and Evelyn Hoey in Cole Porter’s musical “Fifty Million Frenchmen”. He was also dance director and assistant producer to Monte Proser at the Copacabana.

After being in the Navy for four years during World War II, Billy flew to Paris where he was greatly impressed with the many quiet little cafes in which friends could gather for good conversation, food and music. “I felt that after the hysteria of the war,” he recalls, “that Americans might similarly enjoy an intimate place with soft music and soft lights, rather than the gaudy, brassy spots that had been in vogue.”

The Little Club opened on February 26, 1947, with a then unknown singer by the name of Doris Day entertaining the customers.