Yes, you guessed it, Wilensky's Light Lunch celebrated its 75th anniversary yesterday with champagne and plenty of fanfare and even some balloons. Loyal readers of "...an endless banquet" know full well of our affection for Wilensky's. Unfortunately, we weren't in attendance for any of the festivities yesterday, but we did get a chance to celebrate their 75th anniversary two weeks earlier with a couple of photographers from a travel magazine. The shoot was more or less the final, crowning step in the completion of a story we penned for said magazine [more on this later when the issue is closer to hitting newsstands--eds.], and when asked where we'd like it to be staged we didn't even have to think about it: our hands-down #1 choice was Wilensky's. Not only is Wilensky's ridiculously photogenic, not only is it literally three minutes from our apartment, but ever since I took Michelle there for her very first Wilensky Special two and half years ago, it's been our top lunch-date spot. Thing is, anyone who knows anything about Wilensky's knows that loitering or even lingering is not exactly encouraged, in fact it's actively discouraged, and that that's just part of the unmistakable, irresistible charm of the place. So you can imagine how the staff at Wilensky's took to an extended photo shoot, especially one that was focused on a couple of upstarts like ourselves. Ruth Wilensky, in particular, was in fine form. About 40 minutes into the shoot she suddenly announced, "You know, we close at 4:00." I looked down at my watch, thinking, "Jeez, is it almost 4:00 already?", and saw that it was only 3:10. The photographer, a bit rattled, responded, "Isn't it only ten after 3:00?" Ruth, in turn, gave her a look that only an 87-year-old could deliver, one that spoke loud and clear, "Yeah, but at the rate you're going..." As it turns out, by the time we wrapped things up it actually was pushing 4:00--clearly, Ruth had seen it all before. We thanked Ruth and Sharon Wilensky profusely, apologized for any inconvenience*, grabbed what remained of our Wilensky Specials (sadly, cold by then), and congratulated them once again on having reached their diamond anniversary.
* Contrary to what one might think, the Wilenskys seem to remember the Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz shoot, back in 1973, more as an unfortunate disruption of business than an event which did much to immortalize Wilensky's in the wake of its 40th anniversary. When we asked Ruth how long the film crew had occupied their luncheonette for that shoot, Ruth told us "one week." She then paused a beat and shot out, "Why, are you thinking of staying a week?" Boston Red Sox fans are fond of the platitude "that's just Manny being Manny." Round here we're more likely to say "that's just Ruth being Ruth," and we wouldn't have it any other way.