Bela Lugosi – the King of Horror and the Most Famous Dracula

“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” – When we think of Dracula, it’s this line that comes to mind. So do long capes, heavy eyebrows, and perfectly smooth hair. In fact, what we see when we think of Dracula is not the original book, but the likeness of the Dracula actor, Bela Lugosi.

Bela Lugosi, however, had a life that deserves its own feature film.

From Hungary to Hollywood

There is some shroud of mystery surrounding Bela Lugosi’s early life. In one of his interviews, he said, “for purposes of simplification, I have always thought it better to tell [lies] about the early years of my life.”

What we know about the iconic Dracula actor is that he was born in 1882, in the small town of Lugoj, in the Kingdom of Hungary (present-day Romania) to a Hungarian banker father and a Serbian-born mother. The youngest of four children, his name (before he hit the stage) was Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó.

At the age of 13, a short while after his father’s death, Bela ran away from home and worked in the mines. After several tumultuous years, marked by moving countries to live with his sister, a stint at the school, and other manual labor, Bela found his way to the stage.

By 1903, he found a steady job as a player in traveling theatre companies. There he honed his skills as an actor in stage plays, operas, and operettas. His big break struck him in 1913, when the most prestigious theatrical institution, The National Theatre of Hungary, cast him in 34 shows. He also appeared in multiple Hungarian silent films, all the while using the stage name Arisztid Olt.

But then came the war.

Because Lugosi was a member of the National Theatre, he was exempt from duty. He, nonetheless, decided to enlist in the Austro-Hungarian army in 1914. During The Great War, Lugosi fought against the Russian forces as a lieutenant and was even wounded on three separate occasions. After a period of recovery, he left the army in 1916 and returned to the theatre.

And then came the exile.

Sometime in 1919, Lugosi left Hungary for Germany after being persecuted for taking part in forming an actor’s union. By 1921, he made his way to the United States of America.

Once he arrived, Lugosi again turned to manual labor, but quickly found his way back to the theatre within the Hungarian-American community. Not long after, in 1922, he was cast as Fernando in a Broadway play.

The only problem was that Bela Lugosi still didn’t quite have a firm grip on the English language.

Still, Lugosi worked with a tutor and managed to memorize his lines. Though he did not fully understand their meaning, he reproduced his lines phonetically and kept his place on the stage.

Bela Lugosi, Dracula

The first time Bela Lugosi sank his teeth in the role, that would never let him go, was in 1927, on Broadway. The show ran for a full year, then spent the next two touring the country. This did not go unnoticed. Universal Studios decided to adapt the play for the silver screen, and though Bela Lugosi was not their first choice, he ultimately reprised his role.

In 1931, we were finally introduced to Bela Lugosi Dracula. Since then, the titular character never left Lugosi’s side, sometimes to his annoyance.

His ever-present Hungarian accent may have been the reason why he was typecast as a villain with a Dracula-ish presence in other movies. While this fact certainly did influence his future roles, it’s also likely that Dracula as a character was simply too large a presence, one too iconic to be simply wiped away by another role. The King of Horror was thus born, and his reign extends to the present.


If you want a taste of the Old Hollywood Bela Lugosi was a part of, drop by George’s and you will feel the atmosphere ooze all over you. Gloria Swanson’s dinner, or Valentino’s spaghetti challenge – you pick a meal, and we’ll take care of the atmosphere!

Morgan Reilly

Morgan Reilly

Born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morgan Reilly studied voice and piano and spent her time performing with local and regional theater groups starting at the age of 3. From a young age, she knew she was born to perform.

In 2015, she took a leap and moved to New York City to focus on the beginning of her pop music career. Everyone is aware of the tough road ahead, but Morgan continues to persist as she makes her mark in the industry.

You can frequently find her playing gigs at The Duplex in the West Village, Lower East Side’s Rockwood Music Hall, and Kaufman Astoria Studios’ very own, “The Astor Room.”

Her fans can keep up-to-date with her schedule by following Morgan on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, along with keeping up with the “Shows” page on her website.

Amy Rivard

Amy Rivard

“As a singer, songwriter, and actor from the Great White North, I try to share what’s in my soul.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world with Riverdance, Celtic Woman, Disney, and many others. I’ve lived in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve lived on a cruise ship. I’ve lived in London, England. For the last 8 years, I’ve lived in NYC and I am proud to say that I have been granted the title “alien of extraordinary ability.”

Though you’ll find lots of songs about love, laughter and life on my two albums SHOUT IT OUT & WHERE I AM, two of my favorites happen to be about real-life dearly departed: “The Three Divas” features silent film stars who’ve long since left their physical states but are still enjoying their time at Kaufman Astoria Studios’ Astor Room. “Haircut & A Shave” follows a notorious NY mobster who finally found his demise.

My passion is creating and story-telling: be it in my songs, on camera or via my social media accounts. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my art.”

What Is Dry Aged Prime Beef? Everything You Need to Know

What Is Dry Aged Prime Beef Everything You Need to Know

You may have noticed that many restaurants today have some sort of dry aged beef on the menu. Usually, it’s a bit pricier than your usual prime ribeye or any other kind of “regular” steak. Most often, dry aged beef is hailed as the more superior choice, but you may not fully understand why this is so. Meat is meat, after all. Except, of course, it’s not.

Tenderness, taste, and the time it takes for its preparation all influence its quality. What makes dry aged beef so special and worth every last penny is all of that and more.

What is dry aged beef?

First, let’s talk a little bit about dry aging. Your typical meat is not prepared this way. When bought, it’s fresh, it’s bright red and full of moisture. Dry aged beef, however, is of a deeper red and may look a bit shriveled.

Dry aging means the meat is aged anywhere from 7 to 120 days before eating, dried in controlled conditions that manage the level of moisture and bacteria. The environment is heavily controlled, with precise humidity and temperature levels. Because of this, the meat does not spoil.

During the process, collagen is broken down. Since that is what holds all the muscle fibers together and usually makes the meat tough, getting rid of it naturally results in meat that is much more tender.

While this is happening, the meat is also losing moisture. Water is coming out of the meat, and during the first 3 weeks of dry aging, the meat loses about 10 percent of its weight. This continues throughout the process – on the 120th day of aging, the meat is at only 35 percent of its original weight.

Despite everything that’s now happening to the meat, the marbling does not change. The meat also retains all its fat. This means that with dry aged beef, you get more square fat per inch than usually.

Remember, this entire process is done in a controlled environment so that there is no danger of the meat spoiling. While there are some guides that claim they can teach you how to do it at home, it’s impossible. The humidity and temperature of your regular fridge is far from suitable for any kind of dry aging process.

What’s the difference between a dry aged and a “regular” prime ribeye?

The main advantages of a dry aged steak are the taste and tenderness. Because of the entire aging process, the meat becomes very tender with an exceptional taste. It’s been described as a mix of rare roast beef and buttered popcorn.

The most common age is 30 days – the more the beef is aged, the more potent the taste. Not many restaurants buy steak that’s been aged 120 days because the flavor is of such intensity that usually only the connoisseurs enjoy it.

If you’re curious to know how dry aged beef compares to the typical steaks, we can offer you dry aged prime ribeye steak, served with Hasselback potato, and haricot vert baby carrots.

Beef With Potatoes

At George’s, we take pride in every meal we prepare. From our salads and cocktails to our dry aged ribeye steaks and beef tartare, we make sure you get only the highest quality ingredients. Steeped in the atmosphere of Old Hollywood, back when the great walked the streets, George’s guarantees that every bite is an experience like no other. Drop by for a delicious dinner and you won’t regret it!

Jackie Gage

Jackie Gage

Sweet, calming, warm and soothing – all ways that listeners describe vocalist Jackie Gage.

There’s an intimate and hushed feeling present in her live concerts. It’s as if she’s reading your heart, sharing personal memories of love and loss – at times vulnerable, and equally sweet and sincere. It’s an uplifting experience that’s not to miss.

She is a musical storyteller; her debut album Siren Songs found praise from the likes of AFROPUNK, All About Jazz, and Singersroom alike, celebrating her youthful nod to the future of jazz.

Originally from San Jose, California, Jackie was a 2014 Jazz Search West finalist, and one of the recipients of the inaugural Leigh Weimers Emerging Artists Award.

It wasn’t much later when she moved to New York and began to perform with East Coast bandleaders Marc Cary, Winard Harper, and Antoinette Montague. She has opened for Darlene Love, El Debarge, Eric Benét, The Brand New Heavies, Digable Planets, and Tony Toni Toné, among others. Her music has also been heard internationally, from KCSM, KCRW and Hawaii’s CUH, all the way to Jazz FM in England.

Recent opportunities led by Music Director Marc Cary have also immersed her in the music of Abbey Lincoln and Betty Carter, playing with the likes of Terri Lyne Carrington, Marion Cowings, Reggie Workman, John Webber, Curtis Lundy, Kenyatta Beasley, JD Allen, and Clarence Penn, among others.

She has also been heard performing with LA’s electronic disco producer Captain Supernova, Bay Area rapper Lyrics Born, Vermont pianist Joshua David Washington, and NY rapper Dane Lawrence. She can be seen visiting California regularly, touring the state from Harlow’s in Sacramento, down to The Mint and Blue Whale in Los Angeles. Additional past performances include BB King’s and The Bitter End in New York, Minton’s in Harlem, DC’s Howard Theatre, Philadelphia’s South Kitchen, Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles, Harlem Stage, the Pittsburg Cultural Trust, Fillmore Jazz Festival, and San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. East Coast residencies include Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, the Cell Theatre, and the George’s, here in Astoria.

The History of Caesar Salad and the Best Recipe

The History of Caesar Salad and the Best Recipe

Not many of us are aware of the many fascinating stories behind our favorite meals. Especially not if that meal is as commonly ordered as Caesar salad is. This dish, however, has an interesting history.

The History of Ceaser Salad

Contrary to popular belief, this salad wasn’t named by an ancient Roman emperor. While each and every one of us has certainly made at least one Brutus joke while eating it, the fact of the matter is Ceaser salad was named after its creator, the chef Caesar Cardini.

Back in 1924, while Prohibition was raging all across the United States, Caesar opened a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico – a popular tourist destination (not least because the Prohibition did not reach its streets).

During one particularly busy 4th of July weekend, Caesar Cardini simply threw a bunch of ingredients together and served such a dish to his friends. The original ingredients, according to What’s Cooking America, were: garlic, romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and boiled eggs. Soon, the word spread and the meal was in high demand. Like many other legends, this story is difficult to prove, but it persists nonetheless.

Two years later, in 1926, Caesar was joined by his brother, Alexander. He was the one who added anchovies to the mix and named the concoction Aviator’s salad. This version of the meal became so popular that it was known as the standard recipe and was later renamed to Caesar salad.

No one was exempt from the wonders of the salad, not even the extraordinary Julia Child. In her cookbook, she mentions visiting Cardini’s restaurant. Cardini himself mixed the salad in a wooden bowl, right by her table. A child was surprised by the addition of two eggs in the mix, but, she notes, the salad was a sensation in the States, and even in Europe.

The International Society of Epicure even declared Caesar’s salad as the greatest American recipe in 50 years, way back in 1953.

Caesar Salad Recipe


Romaine lettuce


6 anchovy fillets, drained of oil

1 garlic clove

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ of a teaspoon of Dijon mustard

½ cup of vegetable oil

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese

Caesar Salad Recipe

The dressing

Chop the garlic and the anchovy fillets together, and add a pinch of salt. Mash this into a paste (you can use the side of the knife to do it), and scrape it into a bowl.

Next, whisk in the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and the mustard. Then, gradually whisk in olive oil and vegetable oil until the dressing is thick and glossy.

Whisk in the Parmesan next, and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

The Salad

Now that you have the dressing ready, it time to mix it in with the lettuce and the croutons. What’s recommended is to mix with your hands. Gently toss the lettuce, croutons, and dressing until you’re satisfied with the result.

This is just one of the many ways you can make a Caesar salad. We, for example, prefer to make our Caesar salad grilled.

If you’re hungry for a good meal and want to skip the fuss of making it, come over to George’s, where you’ll find not only the most delicious food that’s ever graced your tongue but also the inimitable atmosphere of Old Hollywood.

Rosalyn McClore

Rosalyn McClore

Born in Memphis, Tenn, Rosalyn McClore is one of the most talented jazz pianists and singers on the east coast. Inspired by Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole, Rosalyn studied with the worlds leading jazz pianists.

With tutors like the late Phineas Newborne Jr., she absorbed with acute attention to detail the styling’s of jazz piano and vocal interpretation while refining her own vision and conceptual vocabulary for the music. She emerged, through careful study and focus, her own unique style and presentation of the music of jazz.

Rosalyn McClore studied at Memphis State University where she was a jazz piano major. After completing studies at the University, she continued private study with Phineas Newborne Jr., Mulgrew Miller, the late James Williams and Donald Brown-Director of Jazz studies at the University of Knoxville.

She can be seen at jazz festivals and local venues on the east coast and around the world.
Rosalyn is now recording an album in tribute to Nina Simone and has an off-Broadway show in development on the life and music of Nina Simone. This year she began talks with the Jersey City Chamber of Commerce to develop the Jersey City Blues society.

Rosalyn has been described as “an unfound treasure” when it comes to live performance. She brings a level of entertainment rare in musical settings and makes her live performances a “must see” event. Future projects include the development of younger musicians and jazz artists in order to keep the music of jazz, blues, and jazz studies alive and well around the world.

Taulant Mehmeti

Taulant Mehmeti

As a youngster in war-torn Kosovo, Taulant Mehmeti amazed local audiences with his songwriting talent and musicianship. Under the mentorship of renowned local jazz guitarist Armend Xhaferi, he developed into a leading jazz player in Kosovo and Albania.

Now an active performer on the New York scene, Mehmeti has played, as a leader and a sideman, in venues including Blue Note, B.B.Kings and Iridium just to name a few.

Taulant’s performances have taken him to over 20 countries and varied settings, among them: TED Talks, Prishtina Jazz Festival and DokuFest in Kosovo; Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland, International Gypsy Romanian Festival Bucharest; Tirana Jazz Festival and Shkodra Summer Jazz, Albania; Concert Noble Brussels, Belgium; Contours of Contemporary Kosovo Istanbul, Turkey; and in New York: Stars of Tomorrow- Hudson River Park, Jazz in the Square and Ideas City Festival – New Museum.

He has performed with artists such as Vic Juris (Dizzy Gilespie, Sarah Vaughan), Dave Glasser (Clark Terry), Luisito Quintero (Chick Corea) Danny Mixon (Betty Carter) and Linda Briceno (Arturo Sandoval).

His recently released debut jazz album Pinxhur’n’Pestil with his band Trio of Love, received positive press and garnered airplay, including a New Year’s Eve live TV performance on KlanKosova network in Kosovo. Other notable recordings include his performance with Kosovo jazz drummer Nesim Maxhuni’s Hip-Bop Quintet release Syndrome; as well as his appearance on Ernesto Llorens’ new album “On My Gypsy Way” featuring legendary gypsy guitarists Bireli Lagrene, Stochelo Rosenberg and Adrien Moingnard with whom he shared tracks.

Taulant Mehmeti recently graduated from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, holding the distinction for being the first jazz guitarist from Kosovo to study there.

New York City Events in December 2018


Let’s face it, New York is magical no matter the time of the year, but with the holidays approaching, the magic is getting more palpable every day. The sheer amount of things to do can feel overwhelming, so we’ve picked top 5 New York City events in December you just might be interested in.

  1. The Always Enchanting Ice-Skating at Bryant Park

    It might sound old-fashioned, but ice skating in the open is one of the most fundamental wintertime activities that always get your heart racing, and fill your belly with laughter, especially if one of the people in your group is new to it!

    Just like every year, Bryant Park is opening its Winter Village. You’ll be able to skate to your heart’s content in The Rink, roam around Holiday Shops, and fill your stomachs at the food hall. The Winter Village is open until January 2nd, so make sure to drop by and experience a little bit of winter magic.

  2. The Nutcracker version 1

  3. The Nutcracker version 2

    Tchaikovsky’s perhaps most famous work, and definitely most winter-ish, is The Nutcracker, and this year you can catch 2 electrifying interpretations.

    Company XIV brings you Nutcracker Rouge. Called “the greatest holiday homage ever” by the Huffington Post, McCormick’s reimagining of the classic tale brings eroticism, sensuality, and opulence on the stage, as our ever-favorite tale unfurls.

    Kings Theatre, on the other hand, brings you a modern version of The Nutcracker. Hip Hop Nutcracker is an urban dance retelling of the age-old tale. With dance choreographed by Jenifer Weber, Kurtis Blow as special guest MC, an on-stage DJ, digital backgrounds and an electric violinist, this version of the Nutcracker is perfect for those who want to experience a modern beat. As per the New York Times, it’s “sure to heat up even the most restless and wintry of souls.”

  4. Unsilent Night

    Phil Kline will lead a procession of boomboxes from the West to the East Village in this year’s Unsilent Night. The whole event is described as a public sound sculpture – it’s created when a large number of people simultaneously play the same track.

    What you need to do to take part in this blast of sound is bring a boombox (Phil Kline will, however, provide a limited number of boomboxes from his private collection), or whatever device you use, download one of the tracks (in case you want a cassette, you’ll need to contact one of the organizers), and show up at the arch in Washington Square Park, on Sunday, December 16th.

  5. SantaCon

    In case you not only want to feel the December magic but also be a part of it, you might want to put on a red suit and ho-ho-ho through the streets on December 8th. Just like every year, SantaCon is committed to spreading the holiday cheer.

    To participate, you need to deck out in a Santa suit – wearing only a hat won’t cut it. However, if you’re not the Santa type, you can be an elf, a dreidel, or really anything that fits the theme of the December holidays. You’ll also need proof of donation to this year’s charity drive – SantaCon is all about goodwill and cheer, after all. The starting point of the event is announced only the night before, so make sure to check out SantaCon Facebook page.

These are only 5 of the many magical NYC December events you can explore in this winter. We at George’s are working hard on our own magic, too – we bring you the taste and feel of Old New York, the time when the great film stars of old Hollywood walked our streets.

If you’re up for a delicious meal and some movie-magic atmosphere, drop by for a holiday feast!

Female Entrepreneur Revolutionaries in the Jazz Age

Women in the Jazz Age

Jazz is a room filled with bluish smoke, stolen kisses, women in flapper dresses, the band twisting music into the magic that curls and coils, and caresses our hearts until we all fall blissfully into its rhythms. Women in the jazz age were flappers, shameless, and happy, and as inexorable as a thunderstorm in July, still, they contained hidden depths. Not a few of them were entrepreneurs.

Like any other human endeavor, entrepreneurship was practiced by both men and women throughout history. Let’s not forget Julia Felix, who was the owner of a restaurant, a bath, and other properties she ran for profit in ancient Pompeii. Still, the notion of women entrepreneurs has been more widely accepted starting from the early 20th century.

This time, we want to introduce you to just some of the many women entrepreneurs of the jazz age.

Hattie Carnegie

Once crowned as the “undisputed leader” of American fashion by Life magazine, Hattie Carnegie had risen from a messenger girl to a true fashion maven.

Originally from Vienna, Hattie moved to New York in 1900, and only 9 years later established Carnegie Ladies Hatter with a seamstress, Rose Roth. Along with Rose’s help, Hattie learned the secrets of the fashion business from the ground up. After buying Rose out the business, Hattie moved on to specialize in the design of custom dresses.

What was special about Hattie’s clothes was not their design, but the way Hattie chose and refined the design of others. As early as 1920, only 11 years after establishing her first business, she was a well-established taste-maker and had a column in Vogue called “Vogue points from Hattie Carnegie.” Her business outlived her, closing in the 1970s when her style of both life and clothing was replaced by the younger designers of the 60s.

Retro Fashion Beauty Woman Portrait, Old Fashioned Hairstyle Makeup Dress

Elizabeth Arden

After leaving Canada and moving to Manhattan, Elizabeth Arden rose to become one of the most influential beauty industry makers. She learned her craft while briefly working at a pharmaceutical company, and then as a “treatment girl” for Eleanor Adair, one of the early beauty culturists.

She founded the Red Door in 1910, and from there, her rise to the top hardly ever slowed. After coming back from Paris with tinctures and rouges of her own design, she began expanding her business. It has never stopped growing since.

You can say that Elizabeth Arden was one of the first, if not the first, woman who understood the value of a good tutorial. Both in her salons and her marketing campaigns, she put great stress on teaching others how to use makeup, coordinate the colors of the face, and the importance of a good formula. She was also responsible for fixing makeup’s reputation from something suitable for prostitutes to something proper and appropriate for ladies.

Texas Guinan

You’d think that a woman who partnered with a gangster to open a club, and who once said “‘Get hot!’ is my slogan, to encourage bedlam and get the crowd wild,” would be a true jazz age flapper, a model of a party girl. Texas Guinan, in fact, didn’t drink. She was a woman with a mind for business, a former actress who saw an opportunity and was capable of snatching it up before it disappeared.

Her nightclub was one of Manhattan’s firsts, and even in the time of Prohibition, Texas Guinan’s speakeasies remained in operation.

None of us can ever experience the true speakeasy, however, the spirit of the jazz age is alive and well. At George’s, we take pride in New York’s rich history, and the atmosphere in our restaurant is that of an early 20th-century movie sets.