An Ode to the Places We Eat

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Edith Romaine

An Ode to the Places We Eat

The hours we spend in our dining room,
Are filled with memories.
Good times and bad times.
Words exchanged express love and affection.
But disappointment, too!
It is my favorite room in our house!

The décor at home is by choice,
Our dining room has but three walls.
There is a lavender accent paint on one
And a painting of a lady dressed in purple.

The hours we spend in restaurants
Are filled with memories, too.
Usually early morning ones,
When we talk about our plans for the day.

With eggs: fried, poached, or scrambled,
Our plates are adorned with hashbrowns
Or grits, and a rasher or patty of bacon
Or wurst.

But we never look at the warmth of the room.
There is very little.
Are there tables or booths?
Does the tableware match.

Are the napkins cloth or paper,
Are there saucers under the cups?
Do you pay the server;
Or at the register?

Who is pleased more to eat in a restaurant;
Your spouse;
Or you?

*   *   *

Have you ever mailed a restaurant postcard to a friend? I suppose someone has, but there are so few with stamps, postmarks, and messages. I have no idea why I collect them. Of the examples below, they are fun to look at and the captions make for a good laugh, but not one single box can be checked!

Masonic Home
Burlington, New Jersey
We’re waiting to serve YOU!

The Gaslight
Providence, Rhode Island
In the heart of downtown Providence.
Plan your next dinner party or bowling banquet at the Gaslight

Manor House
Moorestown, New Jersey
Where cooking is an art and eating is a pleasure.
We serve fresh vegetables from our own farm in Marlton, NJ

Moravian Inn
  1511 Moravian St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Famous Home Cooking at moderate prices.
We cater to dinner parties.
(Located across the street from the backdoor of the Union League of Philadelphia.)

Cadillac Railroad
Lake City, Michigan
This car is a former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad dining car built by the Budd Company.

William Stone House
New York City, New York
But a few minutes from the heart of the city. Modern, attractive, air-conditioned.

Carpentersville, Illinois
Smorgasbord Lunch. Banquets, meeting rooms, weddings. Reservations, phone Hazel.

Crescent Beach
Rochester, New York
Cocktails, delicious foods for banquets and parties.
Open from March to November – right on beautiful Lake Ontario.


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Hotel and restaurant dining rooms, what an interesting topic. I have a couple of postcards showing them, but I hadn’t thought of it as a collecting category before. I was surprised to see how few had tablecloths on the tables, I had always imagined that tablecloths would be used back then. Perhaps they were less common in the USA than on England or New Zealand. Thank you for sharing some of your collection with us.

Have you or any of your readers read the book titled “Cocktails across America – A Postcard view of Cocktail Culture in the 1930s’40s and 50s”. It is well worth looking into. A hardcover book with over 200 photos of linen postcards featuring Hotels, bars and other venues describing the Cocktail Culture of that era.

Postcard History published an article by Anne Peck-Davis, who co-wrote Cocktails Across America, on April 23, 2020. It’s a great book and the article is just as good.

I love restaurant postcards. Many of the European ones do show people at the tables.

Maybe the restaurants are empty for [almost] the same reason that real estate agents advise neutral colors and unpopulated photos — they want people to imagine themselves in the room.

A cynic would say that perhaps one reason why photos so infrequently feature the restaurant “in action” would be to avoid featuring a married man dining with a woman not his wife, or a waitress eventually fired for habitual tardiness.

The dining rooms should be pictured empty so viewers can evaluate the dining environment without obstruction by people. The more interesting ones prompt thoughts of whether or not the viewer would have liked to have eaten there. That is my outlook. The best of them, often European real photos, even inspire one to imagine what the food and experience would have been like.

They certainly are great representation of their time. The decorations are so colorful. Very beautiful collection. Thank you for sharing!

Some very pretty places. To show customers one might need to get OK from each. What a hassle that would be ! Nice to put the poem.

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