With Thanksgiving upon us, this seemed like an excellent time to peruse the Museum’s menus collection. The Research Center houses a collection of Chicago restaurant menus from 1853 almost to the present.
One is a 1937 Thanksgiving menu from Isbell’s at 590 Diversey Parkway. Diners had their choice of appetizers, soups, main course, drinks, sides, and dessert all for $1.35. If a whole turkey was included (for parties of six or more), the price went up to $2.00. Selections included “Half Florida Grapefruit, Maraschino,” “Roast Young Pig with Cinnamon Glaced [sic] Apples,” and “Thanksgiving Ice Cream.”
A year later in 1938, a better deal was to be had at the Auditorium Hotel, where the price of a Thanksgiving dinner ranged from $1.00 to $1.50 and the most expensive cocktail was $.40 (it was a Horse’s Neck, in case you were wondering; see below for a link to the recipe). These are just two of the menus in this extensive collection. If you have a favorite memory of dining out at one of Chicago’s restaurants, check out this collection and remember that meal gone by.