Keep Dallas Observer Free

Dining at the Adolphus in 1937 Pretty Much Would Have Kicked Ass

We're doing some construction around here, which has prompted some early spring cleaning. It's funny the things you find when you rummage around old desk drawers and file cabinets. Like this dinner menu from the Hotel Adolphus, drafted for the Dallas Southern Clinical Society, whatever that was. Had you attended the luncheon, some 75 years ago, you could have eaten like a king for a couple of bucks.

When's the last time you saw shirred eggs, or Jello with whipped cream, or hot mince pie on a fancy hotel menu? And I wonder when the last time mock turtle soup was served in a Dallas dining room?

I've been championing more offal on Dallas menus, but look how much organ meat chef Hugo Gottwald offered his guests. Cold ox tongue, calf's sweetbread and broiled calf's liver are all on the menu. Perhaps offal has come full circle in Dallas.

Paging was not permitted in the Adolphus' Century room, but you could notify the head waiter if you were expecting a phone call. I'm sure cell phones would have been prohibited as well -- if they had been invented.

If I were to dine at the Adolphus circa 1937, I'd be a glutton. It's too hard to avoid with prices like this. I'd start with goose liver canapes, and then sup on a rich lamb stew. I'd wash them down with two small bottles of Burgundy and then snack on fresh fruit. I'd have a slice of pie with cheese and ice cream and then I'd finish with coffee. The whole meal would have cost $2.04 with tax, and then I would have left an extravagant $1 tip.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Check out these scans if you want to get a better view of the menu. What would you order?

Picture eating while listening to Will Osborn and His Orchestra. They were playing at the Hotel.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.