Here is an example of a menu found in the LAPL collection that doesn't reveal a huge amount about L.A. Searching for references of the restaurant in question doesn't bring many results. And yet the menu itself, the format and wording and feel of it, is so fantastic I felt I had no choice but to feature it.
The menu in the collection is perhaps not a menu at all, but a postcard that features descriptions of some of what can be had at Eaton's Chicken House in Beverly Hills, with a colorful, beautiful picture of a chicken and the fabulous phrase, “Glorifying the American Chicken.” The cost of partaking in this glory? $0.90.
Not just a regular postcard, this is a wooden postcard, filled out and mailed in a neat, faded cursive to a Mr. Carlos P. Ryan in San Fransisco, postmarked April 2, 1931. The writing and sender are hard to make out, though it says something about how Mr. Ryan might like to see where the sender was eating on their trip to L.A.
Of Eaton's, not much is known, except that it was part of a chain of restaurants with a steak house on Wilshire and a location in Long Beach. In a 1948 book by Roland L. Hill titled I Recommend: Good Places to Go, Eat, Play and Shop said of Eaton's Chicken House:
There are several Eaton's Chicken houses in California and they are excellent places to eat. Fried chicken is featured with good country gravy, mashed potatoes, hot biscuits, apple butter and the best salad I think I ever ate. All is served from the pans right at your table. Their motto “You Know When You Have Eaten at Eaton's” is really true. I like Eaton's terribly much. Reasonable. Their Santa Anita Rancho is another lovely place. One on Ventura Blvd., close to Universal City, is another good spot and one that is frequented by the stars very often.
Eaton's wooden postcards are available for purchase from various internet vendors. From what I can tell, the restaurant shuttered in the 60's because of unpaid taxes. And so now that Eaton's is gone, who will take up the mantle and glorify the American chicken?
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.