After 40 years of life just off 7th Avenue on 42nd Street, Grant’s Restaurant and Bar finally breathed its last whisky and nicotine laced breath in the summer of 1974, and by Thanksgiving, in an early foreshadowing of things to come 20 years later, a national franchise restaurant had moved into its place: Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC spent a reported $200K (~$1.1M in 2019 dollars), and expected to have sales of over $1M yearly ($5.7M 2019).
I’ll do a write-up on Grant’s at some point, while not as well-known as some of the more famous 42nd Street joints it does have a place in history. But by 1973 it had fallen on major hard times. According to a New York Times article from June 23, 1973, Grant’s had changed “from a place where movie and theater goers could get a good, inexpensive mal, to a hangout frequented by pimps, prostitutes and others who give 42nd Street it’s present-day (1973) character.” So it honestly sounds just like every KFC I’ve been to in the last 30 years…The article also notes that Grant’s had been “the scene of frequent assaults and occasional knifings and shootings” (see my previous comment on KFCs). But I guess at the time someone in the KFC Executive Team figured they knew how to handle a group of thugs, which was borne out in 1974: after a Bronx KFC was robbed and the manager (on his first night on the job) was killed, KFC put out a public $10K bounty (~$51K 2019) to find the killer.
And it worked! Guess the ol’ Colonel knew what he was doing after all.