New York's literary dining scene will be a little less lively tonight, Elaine Kaufman the 81-year-old propreitress of Upper East Side establishment Elaine's has died. She passed away today at Lenox Hill Hospital due to complications with emphysema.

Kaufman founded her eponymous restaurant on Second Avenue north of 88th St. in 1963 after splitting from another restaurant in the Village where she had worked with her boyfriend at the time. Though it quickly found a following with the right crowd, for the first year she waited tables herself and was always, always around.

Though it was never really known for its food (seriously, never) the restaurant was and remains a magnet for a certain set of celebrities. Famous patrons include Woody Allen, Gay Talese, George Plimpton, Joseph Heller, Mario Puzo, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Michael Caine and on and so forth. Some even worked there. Awesomely, according to the Times, "one summer Elaine Stritch, unwilling to do summer stock, tended bar." And then there was one well-known fight with Norman Mailer that involved him sending her an unflattering letter which she returned with "boring" written on top (he came back a few days later). For what it is worth though, Kaufman argued that "writers have never come to my place to talk about literature."

The restaurant will remain open with the same hours and the same staff, if you want to go pay your respects. For a little more Elaine reading, here's a fun Vanity Fair profile from last year.