Judson’s Restaurant 1853 à la carte menu
The Grolier Club, America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts, just launched the online exhibition A Century Of Dining Out: The American Story In Menus, 1841–1941.
Among the objects, scanned at very good resolution, is this 1853 à la carte menu from Judson’s Restaurant on Broadway in New York. It includes some ornamental type that had just gained popularity in the mid 19th century, such as the outlined Modern/Scotch (No. 61 BROADWAY) and a typeface generically titled as Shaded No. 5 or Gothic Shaded with its backslant and unusual perspective effect.
Sans serif type was also recently coming into common use at this time. The gothic “JUDSON’S” on the cover is similar to Gothic No. 2, but is not quite a match. The main dish here, used for “RESTAURANT”, is another unnamed design sometimes shown as Ornamented No. 13. Its age is uncertain, but this use helps us date it before 1853.
The exhibition, curated by Henry Voigt (author of The American Menu blog) from his own collection, includes commentary on the peculiarities of each period’s cuisine and the way it is presented in menus. Henry Voigt:
New Yorkers called the 6¼- and 12½-cent price increments a sixpence and a shilling, respectively, employing the British abbreviations “6d” and “s” for these units of American currency. For example, the price of the breaded veal cutlets on this six-page menu is shown to be 2s, or 25 cents. The most expensive dish shown here is the breast of partridge with truffles that costs 10s, which was about the amount a laborer earned for a day’s work.
- Ephemera (620)
- Food/Beverage (1546)
- unknown (1538)