Since I’m an incorrigible collector of restaurant ephemera of all kinds – menus, postcards, photos, business cards, Victorian trade cards, brochures, etc. – you can well imagine that I’ve adorned my kitchen walls with framed vintage menus. (Not too many, very tasteful!) I never tire of looking at them and guests always seem to find them interesting.
Searching out attractive and appealing menus to decorate with isn’t as easy as you might think. Personally I love “the hunt” but, hard as it is for me to realize, not everybody enjoys digging through musty boxes at flea markets or scrolling through pages and pages of e-Bay where you frequently find only the same mediocre items. Solution: Cool Culinaria’s offerings of digital prints of menus on premium paper ready to frame, or already framed if you prefer.
Cool Culinaria’s Charles Baum (formerly general manager and partner of The Rainbow Room and partner of Windows on the World) and writer/researcher/storyteller Barbara McMahon have done the hard work for you. I don’t allow advertisements on my blog and I hesitate to promote commercial enterprises or products, but I am convinced that Cool Culinaria is a quality operation.
For neatniks like me, it is also nice that CC’s menus are not folded, torn, or splattered with gravy as are so many old menus in the vintage paper marketplace.
I notice that since the business was launched, quite recently, new menus have been added regularly. Fans of all kinds of menus, ranging from drive-ins to swanky turn-of-the-century restaurants, will find something to like. Two of my favorites are a 1930s menu from the Blackhawk, decorated with dancers from the smart set (above), and, of course, drive-ins such as McDonnell’s.
Cool Culinaria also reprints diner signs (“We serve fresh eggs”), and imprints tee shirts, aprons, and throw pillows with restaurant logos and humorous phrases.