Antoine's Restaurant 1840 French Quarter New Orleans
Did you know? The menu-collecting world unofficially credits Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City with being the first to introduce printed menus, circa 1834. As more food items and choices began to appear in restaurants, the old ways such as printing the menu on a chalkboard or having the waiter recite it to you became impractical. The first menus were simple and plain but restaurants soon realized the advantage in making their menus flashy and artistic in an effort to appeal to their customers. Eating outside the home in restaurants was still considered an unnecessary and extravagant luxury. But beginning in the 1920’s, large numbers of Americans began to leave rural areas and resettle in cities where jobs were more plentiful. This, combined with the proliferation of automobiles, led to more and more people dining out in restaurants, diners, cafeterias, etc. Restaurants began to grow in size and number and were quick to recognize the power of the menu as an effective in-house suggestive selling tool. Menus followed trends in art and design in an effort to capture patron’s interest and cash. Beginning in the 1930’s, more and more Americans began to vacation and restaurant menus soon became a favorite item - cheap and readily available - to collect as fond remembrances of happy times. Menu collecting is a hobby that anyone can take up as it is generally inexpensive and simple. Many collectors adopt themes to their collections which they remain true to such as menus from specific countries and cities, cruise ship menus, seafood restaurant menus, airline menus and even kids only menus! There is no end to the categorical options. Many restaurants will gladly provide you with a souvenir menu just for the asking. Collector’s Tip: The more you spend on appetizers, dinner, dessert and drinks (not to mention the server’s tip), the easier it is to procure a menu. Like most collectibles, condition is very important as well as rarity in determining the ultimate value of vintage menus. Check out the unique and eye-catching menus available at djrexchange.com.
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