Serving Truman Capote

In the mid-'70s, Jay LaMont, who now owns the piano bar Jay's on Read, was a partner in the New York City restaurant River's Edge.

River's Edge was a favorite afternoon watering hole for author Truman Capote (pictured).


Around 1975, after an embarrassing college graduation speech, Capote pledged to never drink again.

"I thought, 'Hmm, we'll see about that,'" LaMont said. ...

(Associated Press photo from 1980) 

LaMont recalls:

Two weeks later, it was a very hot summer Sunday, and I was getting the restaurant ready for lunch.

Truman was knocking on the French doors at about 10 minutes to noon. I went over and here I am looking Truman Capote right in the face. I see him all the time and I say, 'Sorry, sir, we don't open for another 10 minutes, you'll have to come back.

He said, 'Oh, fine,' he walked around the block, and 10 minutes later he came back in.

I went back behind the bar and said, 'What will you have?'

He said 'I think I'm going to have a glass of orange juice.'

As I started to turn, he said, 'Wait a minute! And another glass of vodka!'

That was the end of that oath. He was a character.