Wed December 12, 2007
Jeffiee and Bob Tayar in a portrait from the late 1980s.
Tayar's first book, "Whatever Happened to Molly Murphy's
House of Fine
Publishing, $14.95) provides an up-close and extremely personal view of
roller-coaster life in the restaurant business. That ride brought
wealth, success, lawsuits and, finally, the big fall that ended the
empire she owned with her ex-husband, Bob Tayar. He
died almost three
years ago in
Tayar recently spoke with The Oklahoman about
perspective on that era.
told me I needed to write a book,” she said.
"I'd say it's a book, a soap opera .... But I really needed to do this
because, pretty soon, no one will remember.”
enrolled in a writing class at Francis
after returning to
The self-published book covers Bob Tayar's first venture into the restaurant business, then takes readers for a wild ride in detailing how Molly Murphy's came to be one of the most talked-about local restaurants of its era.
At times, the details seem almost too bizarre to be real, as Jeffiee Tayar writes about the jewels, furs and clothes bought while Molly Murphy's was garnering national publicity. She takes readers on the journey of planning, building and furnishing the Tayars' dream home in Nichols Hills, and what happened when they could no longer afford to pay for or maintain the house. The couple eventually ended up in a modest home owned by relatives.
"I felt like I could make any place a home,” she said. "It didn't have to be the biggest or the most expensive. Yes, I hated to leave the Nichols Hills home, but it just wasn't fun anymore. It became a burden. I loved when we moved there and could afford it, and I loved the lifestyle. But when you can't afford it, it's just not fun.”
Today, she said, she's happy in her two-bed, two-bath garden home. "I wouldn't be comfortable in a big home like that now.”
Tayar, who grew up in
just gone broke in a little hamburger spot
his family had found success in the grocery
business, but Bob Tayar had
no desire to do that,
He wanted to open a nightclub like he'd seen in
Jeffiee Tayar said she supported the couple with her job at Braniff International Airways and saved money to buy their first home. When the club closed after a fire, the Tayars opened a burger joint on Northwest 39 Expressway that was eventually called Bonaparte's Drive-In.
claimed to have original ideas,” she
writes matter-of-factly in the manuscript. "Our menu (at Bonaparte's)
almost a replica of The Split-T, an
They also operated a Bonaparte's Charcoaler in Shepherd Mall, with a small bar in the back.
"Bob Tayar was bored with operations,” she writes. "He liked the excitement and anticipation of planning and building a restaurant. Once it opened, he would hire a manager to run it. He was a tough boss, but he was even worse with the customers.”
opened a Bonaparte's in
Playboy magazine described Molly Murphy's as "a Russian Orthodox Church that mated with a ranch house.” It included a toilet filled with flowers at the entrance, upside down flowerpots hanging from the ceiling and a cherry red Jaguar XKE salad car in the middle of the restaurant. Zany waiters and waitresses dressed in character costumes entertained diners with wacky skits and generally bizarre behavior.
restaurants followed, including a Molly's in
A Tijuana Tillie's concept failed, and bankruptcy followed.
And she writes about "The Incident,” involving a local television station reporter who showed up at the restaurant to interview Bob Tayar about a complaint involving restaurant coupons. Tayar became angry, a scuffle followed, and lawsuits were filed. In the end, the Tayars blamed the TV station for the demise of Molly Murphy's.
After Molly Murphy's closed on Jan. 1, 1996,
Tayar followed her husband to the
"I went to
The Tayars eventually divorced, though they remained close, even after he married for a third time. The couple had dinner just days before the 72-year-old Tayar died after a car accident.
Jeffiee Tayar said they'd been making plans to spend time with their son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters for a family gathering.
She did not consult family or friends about writing the book.
"I haven't talked with other people about the book. I didn't want other people telling me what I should put in my book. I just wanted to do it. Yes, it was healing to write the book. And it's all public record.”
Jeffiee Tayar's version of what happened behind the scenes at Molly Murphy's will reveal many of those long-unanswered questions about why the restaurant was shuttered without notice. For others, this book will share far more detail than necessary.
How does the author of this book feel about all she experienced and wrote about?
"It's kind of nice to be in control of my life now,” she said.
The book leaves only one
unasnwered question - is a new Molly Murphy's restaurant a
possibility? Stay tuned.
More about Molly Murphy's
Former employees of the Oklahoma City and
Tulsa Molly Murphy's
restaurants have held several reunions, the most recent being several
weeks ago. Jeffiee Tayar, former co-owner of the restaurant that
1996, has been a guest at two of the reunions.
To read more about Molly Murphy's, go online to mollymurphys.com and mollymurphys.net, two Web sites created and maintained by several of the restaurant's former employees.