Vintage matchbooks of defunct city restaurants

Now this is what I call an old New York eatery: Ye Olde Chop House began its run in 1800 on Cedar Street before moving to the Trinity Building on Lower Broadway next door to Trinity Church.

The matchbook could be as old as the 1960s or 1970s, when New York addresses still used single-digit ZIP codes.

Apparently the food was quite good, the atmosphere old school. In 1946, when the chop house was still on Cedar Street, the New York Times called out the “mutton chops as thick as your fist” and “split chickens and lamb kidneys with bacon.”

The Times also noted the host, Harry Kramer. “Happily, Mr. Kramer is antiquarian and, except for introducing air-conditioning, has done little in the way of modernization. The original bar, worn almost white with shrubbing, still stands; the floors are the same old pine boards covered with sawdust and upstairs there are two fireplaces with carved mantles that were constructed when the house was built.”

Does anyone remember Asti? This West Village restaurant was famous for 75 years for its opera-singing waiters and theater-world customers.

Shuttered in 1999, Asti now only lives on in vintage ads, like this matchbook cover from 1975. Look at the old two-letter phone exchanges: AL for Algonquin, according to this guide, and CH for Chelsea or Chickering.

In June 1972, New York announced that the Upper East Side restaurant Camelot not only had “sumptuous buffet brunches on Saturdays and Sundays ($5.50 for all you can eat and all the Bloody Marys, champagne and rose you can drink), but now there’s a sumptuous buffet dinner every Monday night for $6.95.”

Looks like a Dallas BBQ is in this space now.

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8 Responses to “Vintage matchbooks of defunct city restaurants”

  1. Mark Says:

    The single (and double) digit codes came into being during WWII and moved on to five-digit codes in 1963 so the matchbook for Ye Olde Chop House is likely from those years.

    • Richard Says:

      Right… but what were they called? It wasn’t ZIP code. Zone?

      • Mark Says:

        Yep…the one and two digit numbers were called ZONES…..became Zip CODES in 1963. BTW, the ZIP stood for “Zone Improvement Plan”.

  2. Greg Says:

    Ye Old Chop House actually made it to May 1985 before closing. What a shame.

  3. mcrmom614 Says:

    I was lucky enough to attend a work Christmas party at Asti’s in the late 1980s, before I realized it had been featured in the Tom Hanks movie “Big”. What a great place. I too have a matchbook collection, and Asti’s is in there somewhere.

  4. Kenny Says:

    Lox Around the Clock, Quatorze, Harglos, Tennessee Mountain etc matchbooks at

  5. Michele marcus Says:

    My dad and his partners owned The Camelot. It made me feel like a princess. So swanky! My sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner was held there. I remember the brunches! Experienced one myself!

  6. meesalikeu Says:

    i never went in asti, but walked by it all the time. when asti closed it became the strip house. its still there doing well. losing ye olde chop house is a real, bonafide shame. i havent noticed, but per google it looks like there is only a subway under there now.

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