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On tonight's menu: mermaid riding a lobster
February 27, 2013 4:52 PM   Subscribe

10 Vintage Menus That Are a Feast for the Eyes, If Not the Stomach
posted by donajo (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
The restaurants in my area can't be arsed to do better than Comic Sans or Papyrus.

How much we have lost.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:02 PM on February 27, 2013


This would be a lot cooler if we could actually see what was on the menus. Just saying.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Port Huron, Michigan's (awesome) Chicken In The Rough still has this drawing of a smoking chicken breaking a golf club on the menu.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:18 PM on February 27, 2013


If I don't use " Curlz" how are people supposed to know how fun and casual my southwestern omelette platter is hmmm?
posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This would be a lot cooler if we could actually see what was on the menus. Just saying.

I sort of skimmed the blog post, but I understand that some of these photos were coming from library collections. So I googled around a bit and found a few (I love historical menus, so this was no hardship).

You can see what's on the menus at restaurants from coast to coast, from the first part of the century to more modern eras:
-The justifiably famous NYPL collection.
-The collection at University of Washington.
-UNLV's collection.
-LAPL's collection.
posted by librarylis at 5:45 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Those were great. Ballsy move putting a cockroach on the last one.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:03 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can read the menus, click on the name of the restaurant in the text under each image, these link to pages where you can see both the cover and the text.
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 6:08 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the Blackhawk one.
posted by codacorolla at 6:14 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the Blackhawk one.

My favorite too.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:41 PM on February 27, 2013


These are great -- I'm forwarding these to an artist friend. Love 'em.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:00 PM on February 27, 2013


My s/o and I have pledged to visit every restaurant in the continental U.S. which features a crustacean with a top hat (cane and monocle for bonus). But this is a cockroach! Not gonna do it!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:16 PM on February 27, 2013


If you like those, I recommend this book; it's immensely fun, with better entries than most of these. My copy is in a box somewhere but from memory I'm pretty sure it also has the Blackhawk Restaurant one.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:17 PM on February 27, 2013


>Beer is British, and McMahon Scottish

Rage. Taking. Over.
posted by kcds at 4:56 AM on February 28, 2013


For some reason, I'm drawn to any restaurant with the word "grotto" in its name.
posted by jbickers at 7:17 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can see what's on the menus at restaurants from coast to coast, from the first part of the century to more modern eras:
-The justifiably famous NYPL collection.
-The collection at University of Washington.
-UNLV's collection.
-LAPL's collection.
posted by librarylis at 1:45 AM on February 28 [4 favorites +] [!]


It would interesting to see a kind of google trends for dishes (e.g. how particular ethnic cuisines spread). The NYPL one allows you to download all the data as a .csv, so I'm sort of tempted to actually do this...although it feels far too much like work.
posted by Erberus at 1:02 PM on February 28, 2013


Erberus, you can kind of get at what you're talking about through a combo of:
The Food of a Younger Land: A portrait of American food-before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation's food was seasonal
and The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution
and America Eats!: On the Road with the WPA - the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin Feasts That Define Real American Food

(All three of those books are awesome and highly recommended on their own, especially if you have an interest in how American food became...American food). They're not exactly dead-on to what you're asking about, but they all get at your question in different ways.
posted by librarylis at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


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