Silk Hat, Seattle 1960s
The imagination and whimsicality of vintage menu art is perfectly displayed in this charming illustration featuring a ‘veritable fairyland of good eating.’
We’ve never heard of the saying ‘hamburgers grow on trees’ but apparently, they do on this menu.
Several trees are also acting as waiters to serve ‘midnite ham n eggs ‘and other main dishes.
There are signposts in this enchanted forest to mouth-watering desserts such as wild blueberry and cherry pies.
Every character in this meticulously drawn illustration is wearing a silk hat – after the name of restaurant. The elves are wearing ‘toppers,’ as are the animals. Even the little birds carrying garlands of flowers for Little Miss Silk Hat are wearing hats and you can also spot a little bee with a hat.
In 1916 the water levels of Lake Washington, near Seattle, were lowered, thus creating more beach area in districts such as Kenmore. The result was an economic boom with new eateries, nightclubs and speakeasies opening near the beach and the main highway to the area called Bothell Way.
The Silk Hat was one of those and this fine illustration is Byron MacPherson, who was well-known as an illustrator of maps, some serious, but many light-hearted such as this delightful depiction of Seattle.
The proprietor of The Silk Hat was Louie Ridean – his name is posted on one of the trees, but we don’t yet know much else about him, apart from the fact that he had very good taste in vintage menu art! If anyone does know more about this restaurant, please let us know.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.