Thirty five restaurants fed the 1904 St. Louis Exposition fairgoers,
the establishments varied from high-class restaurants (some that
served 15-courses), lunchrooms, fast-food pagodas and eateries, to
moderate lunchrooms. There were many concession stands as well.
Some of the restaurants were four-star posh venues, while other
incorporated themes and side-shows. There were also seemingly
countless snack venders (at least 80), throughout the Fair.
So what did restaurants serve over a hundred years ago? How much
did Fair food cost?
With a huge diversity of eateries, foods were diverse and varied
from the sophisticated to the seemly simple and to the point.
At Beaud's, a restaurant in the Palace of Manufactures, a typical mid-fare luncheon dinner menu included:
Baked Chicken Pie (a Wednesday special), for 55 cents, Baked Whitefish in a butter sauce for 35 cents, Roast Rib or Premium Beef was 45 cents to name a small section of entrees. A Waldorf Salad was 50 cents, cole slaw was 15 cents, lobster salad was 45 cents, most drinks a huge selection of: lemonade, phosphates, ice cream sodas, special drinks and waters were generally a dime. Sundaes cost 15 cents.
Voney's Quick Meal Restaurant sold sit-down fare as well as allowed patrons to take out lunches in pails that doubled as a souvenir.
At Luchow-Faust World’s Fair Restaurant on The Pike's Tyrolean Alps (the restaurant was a joint venture of Faust and August Luchow of New York City), one could order from a selection of: 24 entrees, 27 vegetables, numerous fruits and compotes and 11 Bavarian desserts, items such as:
Green turtle soup, Fillet of Sea Bass Meunière and Saddle of Spring Lamb Jardinière. They also had: caviar for 75 cents, filet mignon for just over a dollar and bottles of 1893 vintage champagne for 6 dollars. Most Bavarian pastries and cakes between 25 and 30 cents.
A few yards away from the huge Observational Wheel, Barbecue No. 1 (one of 5 stands), sold hot roast beef sandwiches for a dime, while plate lunches were 20 cents. The concession advertised that nothing was more than 20 cents. The other barbecue stands were located: near the Japanese Tea Garden, in the Philippine Village, at New York to North Pole, the Palace of Liberal Arts and Main State building.
The Louisiana and Texas Rice Kitchen included an inexpensive menu but added the stipulation that orders under 25 cents would not be served. The menu included: Baked Red Snapper with Rice dressing for 50 cents. There was even rice breads (rice muffin- 15 cents), rice lemon pie (a dime), and even rice ice cream (15 cents (20 cents with cake)), was on the menu.
Mrs. McCready's American Inn refused to sell liquor and was a moderately-high priced restaurant. A tenderloin steak with mushrooms would cost the patron 1.10 dollars.
Faust's Tyrolean Alps Restaurant could seat 2,500 people, as well as another 2,500 outside and was one of the more expensive eateries. The 200 foot x 400 main dining room included a hundred piece orchestra. The restaurant also had side dining areas and rooms for private parties. 75 Cooks and 400 waiters were employed. The menu boasted 194 items, including roast mallard duck and hominy for 2 dollars, Double Sirloin Steak Bearnaise for 3.75 dollars, and Schnitzel for a dollar. The menu also included: a caviar sandwich (40 cents), and 12 ice cream desserts. The fare was a mixture of American and traditional German.
The upscale International Restaurant, could serve 2200 guests at a time; as they ate fine continental fare, patrons could listen to a European Orchestra.
The Italian Cafe could also seat 2,500 people.
The beautiful Cascade Restaurants (East and West), could each seat 1,200 patrons.
The only hotel within the fairgrounds- E. M. Statler’s the Inside Inn, had a restaurant which could seat up to 2,500.
The Irish Village Restaurant could seat 2,000.
The Administration Building Restaurant seated 2,000.
Susan Tyson Rorer, an author of 54 cookbooks and booklets (who penned “The World’s Fair Cookbook),” operated `The Model' Restaurant, that could seat 1,200 people.
The Faustaff Inn, with a gorgeous view of the Observation Wheel, could seat 1,500 and cost 20,000 dollars to build.
With quite a few nations participating at the Fair, food options were plenty; it was said some 36,000 people could be seated and dine at once at the Fair. Among the cuisines offered were Mexican, Philippine, Japanese, Egyptian and Indian. The restaurant at the American Inn served “real home cooking” in a family atmosphere.
The German Wine Restaurant was one of the highest priced venues and thus its 2.00 dollar lunches turned many a head away at the Fair. The restaurant's loses bankrupted its parent company in Berlin.
But at the Fair, as one could do at let's say at Epcot in Walt Disney World, a person or group could breakfast in Paris, take a mid-morning snack in the Italy, lunch in the Philippines and dine in Japan.
One restaurant was built in conjunction with a farm, diners could pick out the live bird they wanted to eat for their fried chicken dinner.
The Bird Cage Restaurant across from the flight cage in Forest Park; patrons could dine al fresco and watch the aviary.
The Anthracite Coal Mine Restaurant, a heavily themed venue showcased waiters, dressed as
coal miners; they took their customers down to their tables in a simulated coal mine. The walls and floors were made out of coal. Tables were lit by miner's lamps and a mine fan kept fresh air flowing in the dining room. The meal was mainly Dutch in fare.
For the fairgoers with little money, The Palaces of Agriculture and Horticultural buildings offered free food samplings throughout the day, with the exception of noontime to 2 p.m., when they would have been competing with restaurants. Many state booths and companies had free samples for passersbys to taste.
The Minnesota State Building gave out free snacks of baked beans, pickles and bread and butter for lunch each day.
Some of of the restaurants that were at the St. Louis World's Fair:
* ABC Beers Indian Congress Restaurant (Cummin's Wild West Show)
* Administration Restaurant.
* Alexandria Restaurant, at the Cairo Exhibit on the Pike.
* American Inn, Model Street.
* Anthracite Coal Mine Restaurant.
* Arizona Restaurant.
* Barbecue Pavilions (5 stands and a supply station).
* Beaud's Restaurant, Palace of Manufactures.
* Behnke & Willmann Restaurant, near Parade Entrance.
* Bird Cage Restaurant.
* Blanke's Cafe (next to Cummin's Indian Congress)
* Blatz Pavilion Cafe.
* Bohemian Cafe.
* British India Restaurant, in Mysterious Asia.
* Bureau Plant Industry Restaurant.
* Burgalo Restaurant.
* Cafe Luzon (Philippine Restaurant).
* Cafe Michel (Philippine Restaurant).
* Chop Suey Restaurant, in Chinese Village.
* Crystal Cafe.
* Cummin's Indian Congress.
* Dixie Kitchen.
* East Pavilion Cafe (Model Restaurant).
* Edelweiss Restaurant, near Old. St. Louis.
* Electric Kitchen Cafe, in Palace of Electricity.
* Falstaff Inn Restaurant.
* Fleischmann Restaurant, near Old St. Louis.
* German Pavilion.
* German Wine Restaurant.
* Grand Cascade Restaurant, West pavilion.
* Hale's Restaurant, in Hale's Fire Fighting Exhibition.
* Home Restaurant, near Palace of Agriculture.
* House of Hoo Hoo Restaurant, in House of Hoo Hoo building.
* Incubator Cafe, at the Incubator Exhibit on the Pike.
* Inside Inn.
* International Cafe, on the Pike.
* Irish Village Restaurant, in the Irish Village on the Pike.
* Japanese Restaurant, in Fair Japan.
* Liberal Arts, east side building.
* Louisiana and Texas Rice Kitchen
* Louisiana Cafe.
* Mexican Restaurant.
* Michigan Restaurant.
* Minnesota Restaurant.
* Mrs. Rorer's Cafe.
* Nebraska Restaurant.
* New England Kitchen.
* Nipa Barracks Cafe, in Philippine Exhibit.
* Nurenburg Restaurant.
* Oklahoma Restaurant.
* Old St. Louis Restaurant, in Old St. Louis.
* Oregon, new State Building.
* Palais de Costume, in Palais de Costume.
* Palm Cottage Resturant, opposite the Boer War Exhibit on the Pike.
* Parisian Restaurant, in Paris.
* Parliament House, in Irish Industrial Exhibit.
* Poultry Farm Restaurant.
* Ranch Club.
* Roast Beef Sandwich Cafe, in Paris.
* Scenic Railway Restaurant, in Scenic Railway Concession on the Pike.
* Siberian Restaurant, in Great Siberian Railway on the Pike.
* South Dakota Restaurant, State Building.
* Spanish Restaurant in Streets of Seville.
* Swedish Restaurant.
* Temple Inn Restaurant.
* Thompson's Palm Garden.
* Tower Restaurant, at the base of the DeForest Tower.
* Tyrolean Alps Restaurant, in Tyrolean Alps Concession on the Pike.
* University, near Administration Building.
* Voney's Quick Meal Restaurant, near Press Building.
* West Pavilion Cafe (Model Resturant).
* Wild West Refreshment Parlor.
* Zoological Paradise Restaurant, in Hagenbeck's.