Rick's Café was inspired by the famous character Richard (Rick) Blaine from the movie classic Casablanca. It is a full service restaurant / wine bar located in downtown Staten Island in a pre-war building built during the prohibition era.
Our space is similar in style to those found in the Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Park Slope neighborhoods of New York City. There is a full service antique mahogany bar, exposed brick walls, a cozy brick fireplace, and an inviting dining area supported by dark cherry hardwood floors, and surrounded by charming windows that welcome in the natural light.
My goal is to provide a warm and comfortable dining environment with subtle hints of style from the great Swing and Blues era of the 1940s, and recorded and ‘live' music reminiscent of the time. Rick's seats about 70 guests inside, with room for an additional 25 guests on our private patio. In addition to dining al fresco, you may choose to enjoy a cigarette or cigar, or one of our refreshing cocktails.
Executive Chef Dominick Rappa, former Executive Chef/Owner of the renowned Aesop's Table provides tantalizing menu items ranging from unique seasonal salads and decadent tasting bites to surprising and hearty entrees that will leave you both satisfied and wanting more. You may also enjoy one of our Charcuterie plates which contain various imported cheeses and meats from Italy and France. Desserts are either made on the premises or chosen from a select list of local pastry artists to keep things new and exciting. Local vendors are always preferred as fresh ingredients are purchased on a daily basis to support our changing menu.
Private parties of up to 100 guests are welcomed. Please book early as availability is limited.
I hope to see you soon at Rick's Café. Rest assured, my staff and I will do everything possible to make your experience fulfilling, fun and memorable. Parking is available in our lot directly behind the building for your convenience.
"In water one see’s one’s own face, but in wine one beholds the heart of another" - French Proverb, Author Unknown
Rick’s Café 2012 New Year’s Eve Masquerade Dinner Party
5 Course dinner, champagne toast, prize for best mask, open bar
6:00-8:30 pm and 9:30-1:00 am seating
Please Dress Accordingly
Please reserve early as space is limited
Everybody Comes to Rick's
Everybody Comes to Rick's is an unpublished play which was the basis for the movie Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. It was written by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. It was produced at the Whitehall Theatre in London in 1991
In the summer of 1938, while on vacation from his job as English teacher at a vocational school, Murray and his wife Frances travelled to occupied Vienna to help Jewish relatives there, for the Nazis had occupied the city in March that year. Later, the couple visited a small town in the south of France, where they went to a nightclub overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. There a black pianist played jazz for a crowd of French, Nazis, and refugees. Burnett returned to the USA via UK and stayed a few weeks in Bournemouth - it is at this time that the first diary notes that became the basis of the play were written. Burnett's experiences in Vienna inspired him to write a play in the summer of 1940 about a cynical bar owner of the Cafe Americain in Casablanca, Morocco named Rick. Eventually, Rick helps an idealistic Czech resistance fighter escape with the woman Rick loves.
When Burnett and Alison failed to find a Broadway producer, they sold the play to Warner Brothers for $20,000. Warner Brothers first handed the script to the screenwriters Julius and Philip Epstein, and changed the title to Casablanca. While some dialogue, particularly short quips, from the original play were used verbatim in the film, for the most part, the play merely acts as an outline of the movie, organizing major plot points and character interactions.
The inclusion of "As Time Goes By" came from Burnett and Alison's play. The song, from 1931, had been Burnett's favorite when he was a student at Cornell. "As Time Goes By," written by Herman Hupfeld, was first performed by Frances Williams in the musical comedy, Everybody's Welcome, which played on Broadway from October 1931 to February 1932. The café La Belle Aurore in Paris, where some of the film's most famous scenes take place, was based on the French nightclub that Murray and his first wife (Frances) had visited in 1938, where a black piano player inspired the character of Sam, played by Dooley Wilson. The real nightclub was on Cap Ferrat, on the French Riviera, and was also called Cafe Americain, as in the film.
The film's opening credits say 'Screen Play by...From a Play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison". However, after the success of Casablanca, Warner Brothers and the three screenwriters downplayed the role of Everybody Comes to Rick's in creating the movie. Although Koch and the Epsteins received an Academy Award for best screenplay in 1943, very little recognition was given to Burnett and Alison. Even the leading actors seemed unaware of Everybody Comes to Rick's. In 1974, Ingrid Bergman said in an interview: "Casablanca based on a play? No, I don't think so ... for we didn't know how the movie would end." A year earlier, Howard Koch wrote in New York Magazine that Everybody Comes to Rick's provided an exotic locale and a character named Rick who ran a café, but little in the way of a story adaptable to the screen. Burnett unsuccessfully sued for $6.5 million. By 1991, Howard Koch, who was 89 years old, admitted in a letter to the Los Angeles Times that Murray's and Alison's complaints had been justified.
Burnett and Alison also sued Warner Brothers, when the television series based on Casablanca aired in 1983, but the courts decided that they had signed away all rights to their work. Finally, when they threatened not to renew their agreement with Warner Brothers when it would expire in 1997, they received $100,000 and the right to produce the original play.