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From Rationing to Clove Cigarettes, Fascinating Vintage Menu Details

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Peruse restaurants' messages to patrons over the decades.

classics week logoThe Austin History Center boasts a serious wealth of restaurant menus in their archives. In honor of Classics Week, every day will feature a tour of some of their most interesting holdings. Today, a look at some of the great menu admonishments, notes, and other marginalia that reveal a great deal about the dining priorities of their moment.

Avalon Dinner Club's Disclaimer

The Avalon Supper Club took their labor shortage very public during World War Two.

The Pioneer Drive-In's Ceiling Prices

During World War II, in an attempt to contain inflation the government instituted official ceiling prices for all sorts of commodities, as well as restaurant fare. According to this summary of price ceilings in Oregon, the regulations were often broken, so it's possible there was some mistrust.

El Toro Embraces Margarine


The archive's menus are mostly undated, so it's impossible to know if the tortillas and margarine were another aspect of wartime rationing, or if they were just on-trend.

The Hitchin' Post's Salad Cart

Salad carts appear to  have been somewhat common. The Driskill proudly rolled out a "salad wagon" at around this same time. The Hitchin' Post was a steak and seafood restaurant on North Lamar, according to a historic book on Pemberton Heights. It is also now the name of a wedding planning company, which seems to sum up at least one aspect of how Austin has changed over the years.

A Pig Stand Acrostic

Pig Stand was a pioneering Texas chain (more about them soon). The acrostic creed spells out their name and includes calls for both "Purity of Food" and the phrase: "Ability... Use It."

The Driskill's Hot Weather Menu

This 50's era menu from The Driskill includes a whole section of "hot weather suggestions." Who doesn't crave stuffed avocados and cottage cheese in the summer?

Christie's Late Tiki Paradise

Christie's crops up frequently on local message boards as a much-missed restaurant. It was located where the Hyatt is now, right on the lake. More importantly, it had a Windjammer Room.

Chuy's Retro Smoking Ban

This early Chuy's menu asks diners to refrain from smoking "Cigars, Pipes, or those silly little clove cigarettes."

Many of these menus are from the Niles-Graham-Pease collection. Eater has attempted to track down copyright holders.

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