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Remembering 9/11 and Windows on the World

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On Sunday, Americans reflected on the 1oth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. I came across this blog post by Adam Platt, who commented on how the gilded dining rooms in skyscrapers, such as Windows on the World, were replaced by smaller and less showy restaurants after Sept. 11. The farm-to-table trend and popularity of the populist chefs picked up, according to the post. But, while times have changed, it’s our job as Americans to remember what came before.

I never got the chance to experience Windows on the World, the well-known World Trade Center restaurant located on the 107th floor of the north tower with a conference facility on the 106th floor. The restaurant, opened in 1976 by Joe Baum, served 800 dinners each night and was frequented by building occupants, tourists and New York City residents.  With views of the Manhattan skyline and other New York landmarks, and a strict dress code, Windows on the World reportedly was the highest grossing restaurant in its final year, with revenues of $37 million.

Ruth Reichl remembered her experiences at the restaurant, describing the long elevator ride to the top and how one’s head could stay up in the clouds even after the meal. “A souffl√© was the only way to end,” she wrote.

The last chef at Windows of the World was Michael Lomonaco, who opened Porter House New York five years after 9/11. Lomonaco told CBS News, “I wake up every day and I’m really grateful to be here. And at the same time, I dedicate my restaurant work to my lost colleagues, because it was what they were doing on that day that I do today.”

Surviving employees of the famed restaurant joined together to form the Restaurant Opportunities Center and Colors, a co-op restaurant opened in 2006. Colors serves as a tribute to the lost colleagues as it feeds the community.

Leave a comment. How did you commemorate 9/11?

Image credit: klikk via iStockphoto