Legendary Restaurateur Elaine Kaufman Dies at 81

Colorful owner of NYC's Elaine's had been in failing health.

Elaine Kaufman, the brassy owner of the legendary East Side establishment Elaine's had died at 81.

The New York Post reports that Kaufman who had been in failing health and died at 12:20 p.m. Friday at Lenox Hill Hospital. She died from complications stemming from emphysema.

A memorial service was expected to take place sometime next year, although no date has been set.

Kaufman opened Elaine’s on East 88th Street in 1963 with just $12,000 and it instantly became the place where writers loved to down beers.

The 5-foot-5 Kaufman took care of a group of writers and reporters at the restaurant that included Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, Gay Talese, Nora Ephron and David Halberstam,