Vintage matchbook ads for ethnic restaurants

You can discern a bit about the city’s culinary history based on the ads bars and  restaurants used to print on the free matchbooks they once offered.

Patrissey’s opened in 1906 and served Neapolitan standards. The old-school eatery snagged a new name, Nolita’s, in 2000. Which didn’t last, of course.

“Sometime around 1920, enterprising Mr. Lum took a five-minute walk north from Chinatown and opened this Canal Street Institution—three-story, white-tiled—with clothier Moe Levy as angel,” writes Knife and Fork in New York, a 1948 guide.

Lum Fong is gone, but another Chinese restaurant has taken its place.

“Distinctive European Atmosphere” raves the copy on this matchbook about the Russian Tea Room. Knife and Fork in New York wasn’t too impressed:

“Menu offerings include Russian hors d’oeuvres, beef a la Strogonoff, chicken cutlet a la Kiev, and French and American stand-by dishes.”

The place is currently still open, with the same garish decor it’s been known for for decades.

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