This is a rare find from Boston, a Bill of Fare dated around 1874.
The establishment was run by Isaiah Dunn, who is listed in the Boston Directories as renting rooms and running an eating house at 13 Montgomery Place.
Eating houses, often based in cellars and either licensed or unlicensed, were rough places that served cheap and plentiful food for workers, many of them immigrants, who rented rooms and had no cooking facilities.
Ten courses for 25 cents is a good deal!
And there is a special price of 25 cents for ladies, who presumably didn’t eat as much as men.
On the menu - roast meats, baked fish, three kinds of pies and puddings with a special food offering of stews and chowders on Fridays.
We were intrigued by the meal-times written out as A.M for the morning and P.M for the evening. We discovered that the twelve-hour clock was in common use in this era.
Boston in the 19th century was a thriving city filled with taverns, saloons, cafes and eating houses. Due to the cost of advertising, the best local sales tools were hand bills printed on brown paper.
Mr Dunn and his helpers would have posted many of these Bills of Fare around the neighbourhood, hoping to attract customers.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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