View Full Version : "Dusties" Available in Luchow's Restaurant in NYC, 1950's

06-04-2012, 13:13
When looking for information on schooners and Lums (on the thread dealing originally with the origin of the term sliders for small burgers, etc.), I found this reproduction of a 1950's menu of Luchow's, the renowned German-style restaurant that operated in New York from 1882 until about 1985.


The menu is reproduced just under the resolution for easy reading, but in the section dealing with bourbon and rye, you can clearly see that there is a date next to three brands at least: Old Gran-dad, Mount Vernon and Old Overholt. The dates clearly seem to be from the 1930's, around 1933, 1934 unless I've misread them due to the low resolution. The menu is definitely from the 1950's because the story to which it is annexed states that Luchow's only installed air-conditioning after 1952. And on the border of this menu it states clearly, Air Conditioned.

Why was Luchow's advertising vintage whiskeys from the early 30's 20 years later? One answer may be, they thought they were better than what was made after WW II. Another answer may be, when this menu was printed - at the earliest this would have been again 1952 - there wasn't any post- WW II straight whiskey under these brand names available. This seems unlikely to me, since distilling must have started up in '45-'46 again (i.e., for beverage use), but if these brands got 6-7 years aging or so perhaps there wasn't any available when the menus were printed or it was hard to find.

I'd like to think Luchow's management just liked the pre-war stuff.

Can anyone read the dates next to these three brands better than I? I tried to magnify the text but wasn't successful.


06-04-2012, 13:21
I have another theory: the menu is older than 1952 and the term Air Conditioned was typed or printed on to the older menu. The font type (not just the size) of "Air Conditioned" is different than the wording next to it stating: Private Dining Rooms For Special Dinners.

Maybe the menu was made up in the late 40's, when quite conceivably there was no Gran-dad, Mount Vernon or Old Overholt around except what was made before WW II.

Did anyone who liked good whiskey in the 50's know or care that they were drinking stuff made in all likelihood by hands who had worked in the pre-Prohibition whiskey business...?


11-15-2012, 13:25
I think your theory about the menu being older than 1952 is correct, and they just wanted to have vintage menus. Not sure if this is correct, but it is a hunch. Do you know for sure?

11-15-2012, 13:48
I don't know, it is possible the menus, whose design seems prewar, were continually reprinted to update the offerings and prices but keeping the old design or template which the printer probably kept for them, and perhaps as you say to keep this vintage look, they just stamped Air Conditioning on it in a rough and ready way after 1952.

It's an interesting menu, attesting to a different time.. I don't know why someone doesn't recreate Luchow's in New York, people would love it.