Who were the Harvey Girls, and what were the Harvey Houses in which they worked? It's actually more innocent than it sounds, as Hunter Oatman-Stanford explains in his latest piece at Collectors Weekly. The Harvey Houses were a series of eateries and hotels run by a British ex-pat named Fred Harvey alongside the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad tracks that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. The Girls were women from the East Coast and Midwest, imported to replace the local, often uncouth male waiters in towns like Raton and Belen, New Mexico. Together, the Girls and the dining establishments they worked in lent an air of respectability to the still-wild American Southwest at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, as Hunter learned when he spoke to Richard Melzer, author of Fred Harvey Houses of the Southwest.
Here's a snip from the article:
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In 1883, Harvey had decided to fire the rowdy male waiters at his restaurant in Raton, New Mexico, and hire respectable young women in their place. Customers responded so positively to the female staff that Harvey began replacing all of his company’s male servers, advertising for women employees in newspapers throughout the Midwestern and Eastern states.
Unlike much of the Eastern United States, in small Western outposts, it was acceptable for single young women to work and live away from their parents — though they were often stigmatized as being prostitutes or sexually promiscuous. “The Harvey Company called its servers ‘Harvey Girls’ — not waitresses — because the term waitress had a bad connotation: It was linked to the saloon girls,” who were viewed as bawdy and indecent, Melzer says.
What did you think about on New Year’s day? I sat in my home in Washington, DC, and dreamed the dream of a middle-aged Jew.
Not of wealth.
Not of fame.
Not of my wife and daughter or other assorted family members and friends.
Not of travel to a foreign land.
And not even of my grandmother’s chicken soup. As a person she was a monster, but boy she made good chicken soup.
NO! I was dreaming of a pastrami sandwich.
I was craving a pastrami sandwich.
Every store was closed here, of course, being New Year’s Day, but it wouldn’t matter—there’s no pastrami worth a damn in this town.
At that moment my body needed to be magically transported to New York City or Los Angeles, the only two places I’ve ever had a really a fabulous pastrami sandwich. (Maybe there’s one in Chicago, who knows?)
In New York, I go to the 2nd Ave. Deli; in LA, I go to Art’s on Ventura Blvd. The 2nd Ave Deli has a long history, and plenty of tragedy (the original owner was robbed and shot to death bringing the day’s cash to the bank in 1996). Then the landlord got greedy and forced them out. His nephews reopened the restaurant on 33rd Street just west of Third Ave. They did a good job: tiled floor, pressed tin ceiling, “A” rating from the Health Department. And the aroma is what I want to smell in heaven when I die. Your tush hasn’t been in the chair for five seconds before Health Salad and sour pickles are on the table. Read the rest
The Star Wars merchandise machine is in full death-march, and we're already sick of the Force-sploitation. But this offbeat little gimmick has us smiling--and jonesing for some sweets.
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Chuck E. Cheese is hoping to market itself to "millennial moms" by expanding its beer and wine offerings, selling lattes, and amping up the salad bar. They should put in a boxing ring to ensure better viewing of the infamous Chuck E. Cheese parental brawls that break out at kids birthday parties!
“Her kids know it’s a fun place to go, but millennial moms want to provide that great experience without sacrificing for themselves,” Greg Casale, head chef of Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company CEC Entertainment, told Bloomberg. “Before she was a mom, she was going to places like Panera and those concepts. She wants something that fits into her millennial lifestyle.” Read the rest
Daytona Beach, Florida commissioners approved a combination 12-lane indoor gun range and restaurant, that serves alcohol, to open in the city. Read the rest
Pastor Troy Tucker is suing Ozark, Missouri's Lambert’s Cafe, billed as the "Home of Throwed Rolls," after a flying roll allegedly hit her in the eye and lacerated her cornea. Read the rest
Some lower-quality eateries are actually passing off 'formed steaks' melded from lower-quality scraps as the real deal. Here's how they do it.
Our own sysadmin Ken Snider writes, "Toronto Mexican Restaurant Fonda Lola, in an attempt to both raise capital for bulk purchases (to lower costs) as well as create a War Chest to open a second location, has decided to issue 1000 public shares at $75 each, via Indiegogo."
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It's in Toronto's Trump hotel, main courses are $45, and it sounds fucking awful.
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Arby's, inspired by customers who inquired about a poster in the restaurant depicting a heap of myriad meats, now sells an off-menu "Meat Mountain" piled with various kinds of animal flesh for $10. Here's what's between the buns: Read the rest
Unfortunately, PETA is not able to turn noted cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer's childhood home in Bath, Ohio into a vegan restaurant. The plan was to call the restaurant "Eat for Life: Home Cooking" but zoning laws stood in their way.
"It was also suggested that we consider converting it into a vegan bed and breakfast, but we're not optimistic that many people would want to make the trip to spend a night in the house.," PETA Media Director Moira Colley said.
Of course, the whole idea could easily have just been a PETA publicity stunt. In any case, the home is still up for sale. (WKYC, thanks Gil Kaufman!) Read the rest
Back in the aerospace heyday of the 1960s-1980s, the Proud Bird restaurant was the steakhouse of choice for Los Angeles industry workers, who gathered to drink strong martinis and talk shop.
But the Proud Bird (founded in 1958 by a B-17 WWII pilot) will fly no more, thanks to a one-two punch of a gigantic lease hike and declining patronage.
Mid-Century culture fanatic Todd Lappin has a beautiful Flickr set of the storied dining establishment (which is where I swiped the photo above), and the LA Times has an article about the Proud Bird's impending closure, save an 11th hour miracle.
Proud Bird, aerospace watering hole, about to run dry Read the rest
Balthazar is my favorite restaurant in New York City. Sometimes when I visit, I eat both lunch and dinner at the SoHo brasserie. It's good that I don't live in NYC because I'd be washing dishes there to work off my addiction to their steak frites. Apparently, one in 10 people order the steak frites. I learned this from Willy Staley's fascinating New York Times Magazine article this week, "22 Hours in Balthazar":
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Following a spectacular public meltdown
staged by a couple running a Scottsdale restaurant, reporters from the Phoenix Business-Journal
decided to see what all the fuss was about. They were not disappointed
. Read the rest
Pete Wells' review of Guy Fieri's new restaurant
is worth reading even if you would never dream of eating out in Manhattan or, indeed, have never eaten food at all. [New York Times] Read the rest
Last week, I posted about the The Gustavademecum for the Island of Manhattan, a delightfully geeky, DIY-made, mid-20th century dining guide produced by a physical chemist for the benefit of traveling scientists and engineers.
One of the key features of the guide was an elaborate series of symbols and letters that provided a lot of information about various restaurants in a small amount of space—and which look like some kind of crazy alchemical shorthand. In the original post, I included a page from the guide, so you can look at that to see the symbols in action.
Hugh Merwin, who wrote the story on The Gustavademecum for Saveur, also scanned a page from the guide's key, which didn't appear in the original story. You can see some of it above, and visit his personal website to see the full key. Read the rest
This is a page from Gustavademecum for the Island of Manhattan: A Check-List of the Best-Recommended or Most Interesting Eating-Places, Arranged in Approximate Order of Increasing Latitude and Longitude — Prepared for the convenience of mathematicians, experimental scientists, engineers, and explorers. Which is possibly the best name for a dining guide ever.
Physical chemist Robert Browning Sosman passed this pocket-sized guidebook out at conferences and updated it regularly between 1941 and 1962.
The key feature: Sosman's ... somewhat unique ... observations about the restaurants he visited. And the fact that much of that information was encoded in a sort of proprietary shorthand, cribbed from scientific symbols. The result looks something like a cross between restaurant listings and an alchemist's workbook.
In each of the guide's at least 15 editions, Sosman reviewed 300 restaurants, relaying facts like cuisine and cost, as well as esoteric observations like tableside lighting (measured in lumens) and waiters' estimated IQs. All of it was written in a mashup of mathematical figures, glyphs, Greek, and astrological symbols. A sigma meant there was samba dancing. A lowercase "m" suggested that Madison Avenue types frequented the restaurant
Sadly, the Saveur.com story that this comes from doesn't include a cheat sheet guide to deciphering Sosman's shorthand. A major disappointment. Perhaps one of you can add to the information here?
See more photos of Sosman's dining guide at Saveur Read the rest