Hapsburg House

“Enjoy to the hilt the mod drawing of Bemelmans… A rich wine cellar… Famous Viennese cooking… Zither music.”

Hapsburg House Restaurant
c. 1925 – 1970s


Alex Chiesi (1950 – ?)

Ludwig Bemelmans (1925 – ?)

Frank Dougherty, Chet Laroche, and Ted Patrick


313 East 55th Street


Batterberry, Michael, and Ariane Ruskin Batterberry. On the Town in New York: The Landmark History of Eating, Drinking, and Entertainments from the American Revolution to the Food Revolution. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Psychology Press, 1999: 274.

Kilgallen, Dorothy. “On Broadway.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 15, 1952: 31.


  • The original owners of Hapsburg House – Frank Dougherty, Chet Laroche, and Ted Patrick – created the restaurant as a private lunch club for their friends. They commissioned Ludwig Bemelmans to paint the black and white murals, before taking him up as a partner.
  • In 1952, owner Alex Chiesi painted over portions of the Bemelmans murals. Bemelmans in turn chose to hold his art exhibition at Lüchow’s instead of Hapsburg House. (1)
  • On March 9, 2017, portions of the murals were put up for auction by Bonhams in the Fine Books and Manuscripts sale, estimated price $40,000 – $60,000. [Images of Lot 119 can be viewed here.]


Sunday, September 30, 1934:


(1) Kilgallen, 1952. [See publications]


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