“We were from Chicago but moved to Lamarque, Texas, and then to Galveston,” she said. “My mother and I used to drive River Road between New Orleans and Galveston and we would stop at restaurants along the way. We would try anything. It was such fun.”
She began to collect menus and soon family and friends were collecting them for her. “I had so many that one time I thought I would wallpaper a bathroom with them.”
Some of the donated menus include the following:
- A small menu from Pat O’Briens describing two cocktails – the Breeze, and the Squall
- An Antoine’s Restaurant menu from its centennial year, 1940.
- A Commander’s Palace menu from the 1950s. For $4, patrons could get shrimp Remoulade, Commander’s Steak, Brabant potatoes, sliced tomatoes and coffee.
- Restaurant Sclafani, in Metairie, Louisiana, features the standard oversized menu of the era but also includes a typed menu of specials for the day, including oysters Rockefeller or oysters Sclafani for $1 per half dozen.
- A menu from Bill Williams Restaurants which features the Cisco Kid (Duncan Renaldo) and Pancho (Leo Carrillo) in a classy 1950s rendering on the cover.
- A beautiful color menu from the Traveltown Motel Dining Room and Restaurant in Cloverdale, Virginia. One item that stands out: half fried chicken with soup, salad, vegetables, bread, beverage and dessert for $2.
- The Menger, San Antonio, featured a daily special of broiled flounder, julienned potatoes, cole slaw, and coffee, for $1.50.
- A menu from Bob Adamcik’s Café, west of Schulenburg, Texas, where there is “26 hour service.”
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum has an extension collection of menus from Southern restaurants. It is housed at the Huey Long Library at the University of New Orleans. For more information about the Menu Project, please click here.