Before Sept. 11, 2001, the restaurant Windows on the World was figuratively and literally at the pinnacle of fine dining in America. It was one of the highest-grossing restaurants in the nation and the loftiest, sitting on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Tom Roston’s The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World (Abrams Press) opens with the inevitable prologue set on the restaurant’s final morning. But the book offers a completely new perspective on the history of the acclaimed establishment, which opened its doors in 1976. This isn’t just an account of the restaurant but also a history of fine dining over the past 150 years, rooted in the emergence of New York’s restaurant culture and following the ebb and flow of the city’s own tumultuous history over the second half of the 20th century.
A version of this article appears in the September 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline "High Dining."
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