What better way to let customers know your restaurant honored the Christmas season than by advertising it on a matchbook? These long-gone Manhattan eateries apparently agreed.
If you worked in the vicinity of Lexington Avenue and 41st Street at any point from the 1930s through the 1960s, you may have spent your lunch hour at the no-frills-named President Cafeteria and Tavern.
“Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and open until 1a.m., the cafeteria advertised self-service hot meals ‘at reasonable prices’ in a relaxed, casual environment,” writes The Five O’Clock Teaspoon, a fascinating culinary history site.
“The self-proclaimed largest restaurant in the Grand Central Zone, The President was a reliable staple of the Murray Hill neighborhood and was a regular haunt of soon to be luminaries such as the writer Charles Reznikoff and the aspiring actress Susan Hayward.”
Rutley’s matchbook looks festive—but the restaurant sounds a little cut-rate. Opened in 1926, it closed in 1932, an apparent casualty of the Depression and Prohibition. Another Rutley’s, however, existed in the 1940s on Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street.