16 April 2009

Where to Eat in New York, Circa 1934

"Suggestions About Restaurants In New York City"

Here is a list of New York restaurant suggestions from a guide published in 1934. I have published like this before, but I just love this stuff, so here's another one. Also, this is a much earlier line-up than I've posted before:

Restaurants Specializing in American Foods

ALEXANDRA, 8 E. 49th St., serves a champagne cocktail with dinner; price $1.10 to $1.50.

BARBOUR RESTAURANT, 1 W. 52d St. Southern home cooking. Dinner 75 cents to $1.25.

BILLY THE OYSTERMAN, 7 E. 20th St. and 10 W. 47th St. internationally famous for sea food, steaks, chops.

CAVANAGH'S, 258 W. 23d St., famous for over 50 years for its Irish stew, steaks, chops. Don't miss it; it's real `old New York'! Dinner from $1.75.

FRAUNCES' TAVERN, 101 Broad St., where Washington took leave of his officers, in December, 1783.

JACK DEMPSEY'S, Eighth Ave. at 50th St., opposite Madison Square Garden. Superlative foods, simple or fancy; but you can get fancy foods many places, and only in a few can you get simple foods such as are served here. Roast beef such as one seldom meets; steaks, chops, fish, etc.

JACK LYON'S CHOP HOUSE, 102 W. 50th St., just west of Sixth Ave., is in the tradition made famous by old New York restaurants like Jack's and Shanley's. A la carte only. Excellent bar.

LOBSTER, fish and chop house, 145 W. 45th St. `Shore dinner,' every day, $1.50. Other dinners $1.10 to $1.50.

LONGCHAMPS RESTAURANTS are numerous, excellent, very many of the favorites, not only with visitors but with New York residents, are in hotels. Among these are:

THE TRIANON ROOM of the Hotel Ambassador (Park Ave. at 51st St.) Lunch from $1.50, dinner about $3.

BOWMAN ROOM at the Biltmore, Madison at 43d St. Similar prices.

THE GLASS HAT at the Belmont Plaza, Lexington at 49th St. Entertainment, dancing. Dinner from $1.25.

PALM ROOM at the Commodore, Lexington at 42d St. Dinner from $2.

CASINO-ON-THE-PARK, Essex House, 160 Central Park South. Dinner from $1.75. Also the Omar Room.

HAMPSHIRE HOUSE, 50 Central Park South. Distinguished food and service. Dinner from $2.50.

HAWAIIAN ROOM, Lexington Hotel, Lexington Ave. at 48th St. Dinner from $1.75.

TERRACE ROOM, Hotel New Yorker, Eighth Ave. at 34th St. Floor show. Dinner from $2.

COCOANUT GROVE, Park Central Hotel, Seventh Ave. at 55th St. Dinner from $1.25.

QUEEN ELIZABETH ROOM, Park Lane Hotel, 299 Park Ave. Dinner from $2.50.

MANHATTAN ROOM, Hotel Pennsylvania, Seventh Ave. at 33d St. Dinner from $2.

PERSIAN ROOM at the Plaza, Fifth Ave. at 59th St. Very smart. Dinner from $3.50 to $4. Famous music.

THE RITZ, always, of course! Madison at 46th St. Dancing in the Crystal Gardens.

THE TAPESTRY ROOM at the Ritz Tower, Park Ave. at 57th St., is a small, intimate, charming place to lunch or dine. Dinner $2.50 to $3.

ROOSEVELT GRILL, Madison at 45th St. Dinner from $2.50. Dancing.

RESTAURANT DE LA PAIX, Hotel St. Moritz, 50 Central Park South. Dinner $2.

IRIDIUM ROOM and MAISONETTE RUSSE, Hotel St. Regis, Fifth Ave. at 55th St. High-class entertainment. Dinner $3.50 to $4.

SCHRAFFT'S have 38 restaurants in the metropolitan area. Fine corned beef hash, chicken pie, sandwiches, salads, cakes, etc. Moderate prices.

SUSAN PALMER, 4 W. 49th St. Good `home-y' cooking — very popular — Dinner $1 to $1.50. Frequented by theatre and radio folk.

MANNY WOLF, Third Ave. at 49th St. is an old-fashioned New York restaurant with a devoted clientele. It used to be far downtown. Excellent food and drink, friendly service.

MARY ELIZABETH'S, LTD., for many years at the corner of 36th St. and Fifth Ave., is now at 6 E. 37th St. Delicious food such as is served in the best American homes.

YE OLDE CHOP HOUSE, 118 Cedar St. (2d block north of Wall St.), almost exactly as it was in 1800. Game, terrapin, turtle soup, steaks and chops grilled on open charcoal fire. A. la carte only.

THE BRASS RAIL, 745 Seventh Ave. (south of 50th St.), is big, bustling, and caters to a typical Broadway crowd; but the food is excellent and not expensive. Fine roast beef, noted Welsh rarebit. Convenient to Radio City and to many theatres.

BILLY'S, 1020 First Ave., serves lamb chops, hamburgers, and a few other things, in a gas-lit place reminiscent of other days.

SWEET'S, 2 Fulton St. (Fulton Fish Market), on the 2d floor of the oldest hotel in New York. Old-times-y. Excellent fish.

OYSTER BAY RESTAURANT, 674 Eighth Ave. Oldest sea-food and chop house in New York.

French Restaurants

These are legion in New York; among the best are:

MONTE CARLO, 49 E. 54th St. Dinner, supper, dancing, entertainment. Superb French food, ultra-smart clientele (evening dress imperative), very expensive, but you get your money's worth. Gene Cavallero, formerly of the Colony, is there, associated with Felix Ferry, formerly of Monte Carlo, Paris, London.

EL MOROCCO, 154 E. 54th St., also has dinner, supper, dancing, is `dressy,' 'smart,' has fine food.

ROBERT, 33 W. 55th St. Try the terrapin.

CHAMBORD, Third Ave. between 49th and 50th Sts., east side of street. Delicious food, notable wines, clientele of persons who `really know.' Glass partition between restaurant and kitchen, so you can watch preparation of food. Dinner $2 to $3.50.

COLONY RESTAURANT, 667 Madison Ave. Smart, expensive, excellent.

VOISIN, 375 Park Ave. (in basement); superlative French food, fine service, smart clientele. Try duck with orange.

CAFE LOUIS XIV, 15 W. 49th St. (Rockefeller Center). Very, very good, and not expensive. Entertainment; charming `setting.'

CAFE SAINT DENIS, 11 E. 53d St. Onion soup, crepes Suzette, etc. Dinner from $1.25.

CHARLES A LA POMME SOUFFLE, 157 E. 55th St. Superb wines, excellent food. Fairly expensive.

CRILLON, 277 Park Ave. French, and also Viennese. Fine cooking, choice wines. Dinners from $2.

HENRI, 40 W. 46th St. Delicious food. Dinner from $1.50 to $2.25.

GASTON A LA BONNE SOUPE, 44 W. 55th St. Good. Dinner $1.

HOTEL LAFAYETTE, 9th St. and University Place. Celebrated these many years for delicious French food. Dinner $2 to $2.25.

LARUE, 45 E. 58th St. Finest French food, all a la carte. Dancing, tip-top entertainment.

LA SALLE Du Bois, 30 E. 60th St. Excellent dinner from $1.50.

LE MoNT D'OR, 255 E. 48th St., serves what some consider the best $1 table d'hôte dinner among French restaurants in New York.

MAISON DE WINTER, 36 W. 48th St. Excellent food, genial atmosphere, luncheon from 65 cents, dinner from 85 cents.

JANET OF FRANCE, 237 West 52d St., is famous for onion soup. Interesting clientele. Dinner $1 to $1.50.

BONAT, 330 W. 31st St. serves a good bourgeois French dinner, with lots of local color, for 75 cents.

PASSY, 28 E. 63d St. Quiet, luxurious, expensive, elegant. CANARI D'OR, 132 E. 61st St. Small, distinguished, every-thing cooked to order. Dinner from $1.75 up.

CAFE CONTINENTAL, 10 E. 52d St. Dinner (with soft music) $2.50.

COQ ROUGE, 65 E. 56th St. Orchestra, entertainment; dinner from $2.50.

PENTHOUSE CLUB, 30 Central Park South, sky-high with splendid view north over Central Park. Dancing; entertainment. Dinner from $2.

MON PARIS, 142 E. 53d St. Dancing, entertainment. Dinner from $2.50.

THEODORE'S, 4 E. 56th St. Smart; good food. Dinner from $1.75. '

MARGUERY, 270 Park Ave. Excellent food, fine clientele. Dinner $2.75.

Italian Restaurants

MONETA, 32 Mulberry St. Very expensive, very, very good. ARMANDO's, 54 E. 55th St. Orchestra. Dinner from $2. Fine for luncheon.

MARIO's, 58 E. 53d St. Dinner from $1.50. Excellent. BARBETTA's, 321 W: 46th St. A la carte only: good cellar. GUFFANTI, 274 Seventh Ave. Excellent Italian table d'hôte, in a place known to thousands, during nearly 50 years. MOTHER BERTOLOTTI'S, 147 W. 4th St. In `the Village.'

Dinner $1 to $1.50.

PETER'S BACK YARD, 64 W. 10th St. In `the Village,' and long famous. Dinner $1 to $1.75.

ZUCCA'S ITALIAN GARDENS, 118 W. 49th St. Excellent table d'hôte dinner $1.50 to $2.50.

LUIGINO, 115 W. 48th St. Good Italian food and wine, interesting Italian clientele.

CARUSO RESTAURANTS, numerous in New York, serve good Italian meals at moderate prices. There's one at 17 E. 59th St. One at 130 W. 42d St. Another at 125 W. 45th St. One at 40 W. 33d St. One at 228 W. 34th St. And so on.

FIRENZE, 6 W. 46th St. 'Setting' is an Italian street scene — in papier mache! Dinner $1 to $1.50.

German Restaurants

LUCHOW, 10 E. 14th St., is one of the best-known, long-established restaurants in New York. Food that's hard to beat. Good old German atmosphere. Dinner $1.50.

GERMAN-AMERICAN RATHSKELLER, 190 Third Ave. (at 17th St.). Famous and frequented by famous people for more than 50 years. O. Henry loved it. Music and song. Imported beer. Good food. Moderate prices.

HANS JAEGER'S, Lexington Ave. at 85th St. Excellent beer, wine, food, and music. Dinner $1 to $1.50.

Hungarian Restaurants

ZIMMERMAN'S BUDAPEST, 117 W. 48th St. Dinner from $1. Little HUNGARY, 257 E. Houston St.

TOKAY, 806 Seventh Ave. Gypsy Orchestra. Dinner from $1.


MIYAKO, 340 W. 58th St. Famous for its sukiyaki. Dinner $1 to $1.75.

Russian N

CASINO RUSSE, 157 W. 56th St. The Russia of other days.


KEEN'S CHOP HOUSE, 72 W. 36th St. One of New York's landmarks, visited by celebrities from every corner of the globe. There they smoke their 'churchwarden' pipes, which are kept as long as they live and broken when they die. Many old play-bills, including the one Lincoln was holding when he was assassinated. Real 'Old English' atmosphere. Good food and drink. Dinner $1.25 to $2.50.


HAPSBURG HOUSE, 313 E. 55th St. A little old New York house 'done over' in the manner of old Vienna as Schubert

knew it. At the door to greet you, a dear little old man the image of Emperor Franz Joseph. Austrian food. Dinner $2. TESSIE's OLD VIENNA, 133 E. 54th. Dinner from $1.35.


STOCKHOLM, 27 W. 51st St., in a famous mansion of the `gay nineties.' Perfect Swedish food and drink. Dinner $1.50. GRIPSHOLM, 324 E. 57th St. Dinner $1.50.

QUEEN MARY, 40 E. 58th St. Especially on Sunday night. Popular with the younger crowd. Dinner $1.25 to $2. SWEDISH RESTAURANT, 22 W. 56th St. Dinner $1 to $1.25.

Now, a number of places — widely different — that are hard to classify.

THE RAINBOW ROOM and the RAINBOW GRILL, high up (65th floor) near the top of the R.C.A. building in Rockefeller Center, and as near the top of nearly every visitor's list of places he must see if possible. Distinguished entertainment, delicious food. Dinner in the Rainbow Room $3.50. Superb views. Grill is informal. Dinner $2.

THE STORK CLUB, 3 E. 53d St., is another place most visitors want to be able to tell about when they get back home. Fashionable, gay. Dinner from $2.50; lunch from $1.50.

TWENTY-ONE WEST 52D ST. has been much publicized. You may want to go there in search of what the chatter-boys call `cafe society.'

ALGONQUIN HOTEL, 59 W. 44th St. Much written about; frequented by well-known writers, actors.

CHILD'S RESTAURANTS are nearly everywhere in New York. Many visitors want to try at least one. Their `Spanish Garden' at 12 E. 59th St., with gay music for dancing, may be the one you'll find most intriguing.

INTERNATIONAL CASINO, Broadway at 44th St. has been called `a Hollywood dream in theatre restaurants.' Elaborate musical revue at 7.30 and 11.30 P.M. Minimum charge $2.50 — Saturdays $3.50.

CHEZ FIREHOUSE, 141 E. 55th St. been a great success with those who delight in the novel. Best time is the midnight floor show.

THE VILLAGE BARN, 52 W. 8th St., offers square dances, country games, and other old-fashioned fun, along with good old-fashioned food — like fried chicken. Sometimes gets a bit rowdy.

VITAL INTERESTS, 56 E. 56th St., is for people who watch their diet, like fruit salads, vegetable plate, etc. But other things are served also. Inexpensive. No liquor.

FIRESIDE INN, 411 W. 24th St. Cape Cod come to town. Provincetown proprietors. Dinner from 75 cents.

CASA MARANA, Seventh Ave. at 50th St. Billy Rose's theatre restaurant. Shows at 8 and 11.45. Dinner from $2.

EL CHICO, 80 Grove St., in `the Village.' Authentically Spanish. Three shows nightly. Dinner from $1.50.

EL Rio, 128 E. 58th St. Brazilian atmosphere. Revues at 9.30, 12.30, 2.30. Dinner from $2.25.

HORN AND HARDART'S AUTOMAT RESTAURANTS, of which there are 45 in Greater New York, feed 300,000 New Yorkers daily

Which ones are still around? Not many. "21," Keen's, and, as buildings, Fraunces Tavern and the Algonquin.


The Concierge said...

Barbetta is still around also

Joe non Papa said...

Hi Lost-
Have you ever checked out the "WPA Guide to New York City"? It was republished a few years back and still generally available. It was written in 1939, mainly for visitors to the World's Fair. It contains a few restaurants in it's neighborhood listings. Interesting reading.

Carol Gardens said...

La Bonne Soupe is still on 55th. I'm pretty sure that's the one listed, with a slight name change.

My family used to go to Sweet's down near the Seaport. Rickety stairs, old waiters, and no mall there yet!

I also remember the Automats and Schrafts quite well.

I wish I could go to the one with the "interesting clientele."

Carol Gardens said...

Also, the Rainbow Room (now in flux) and the Roosevelt Hotel (with other restaurants, but the building is still there.)

Frances Tavern is still a restaurant (and a museum), btw. Has anyone been there?

I wish I could go to the Village Barn for a square dance.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Right on Barbetta and Le Bonne Soupe. I didn't include Rainbow Room, Carol, because it's shut down right now and I don't have much hopes for its returning to functioning glory.

Jeff said...

A little urban archeology: Hans Jaeger on 85th st. Became Jarger House for many hyears, and was frequent host to my family's gatherings. It was an old, woody, gemutlichkeit joint. It was replaced by "The Spaghetti Factory" a cutesy, corporation run nverture that dodn't last long. they stipped all the aged wood panneling down to the bare brick. Meqanwhile, Jeager House moved out to Queens whnere it has morphed into Anna's Restaurant that werves a peculiar mix of Mexican food and the ol' german faves.

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous !
Never having been in New York myself, I still am highly interested in places the world over, as they once were.
This effect of being able to breathe into the necks of people living the reminds me of Montaigne's travelogue from 1581.

pwlsax said...

18 years in the metro and being a buff of the 30s allows me to tell you a few things...

Zimmerman's Budapest had a sister establishment, Zimmerman's Hungaria, at 163 West 46th. This was a favorite of my great-grandmother's in the 40s. The Gypsy music was played by Gene Kardos, who in the early 30s had led one of the first swing bands.

Didn't know Longchamps had so many hotel franchises. They also ran freestanding restaurants all over Manhattan.

Mary Elizabeth's on 5th at 37th was known for its game tables - not blackjack or roulette, but chess, checkers and cards. It was apparently a kind of coffeehouse and meeting place.

The Village Barn had foxtrot music as well as square dancing. Anthony Trini's band was resident in 1934 and recorded for RCA.

A sister location, the Village Nut Club at 99 7th Av S., was one of the first comedy clubs in the early 30s, with the goofy Jack White as m.c. and jazz by Joe Haymes' great orchestra.

Caruso's hadn't yet been nudged aside in the spaghetti stakes by Toffenetti's, who were still a Chicago chain. It came to NYC in 1940, after a popular concession at the World's Fair.