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Lanier Hotel: 1921

New York, July 5, 1921. "Lanier Hotel restaurant." Fried kidney only 20 cents. Note sleeping mousers. 5x7 glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.

New York, July 5, 1921. "Lanier Hotel restaurant." Fried kidney only 20 cents. Note sleeping mousers. 5x7 glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.


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You can smell this picture.

It's July. In New York. Everybody's a grimy sweaty Joe No-Lunch-Bucket dressed in layers of wool. The joint smells of liver and onions and knockwurst and kraut and whatever fried kidney smells like. And the wall fans are OFF.

This section closed

Don't seat anyone in section two. Staff Meeting.


I'm curious about the three non-illuminated globe light fixtures. The cylindrical porcelain part of the apparatus reminds me of old arc lights. Might these be arc lights (or some sort of gas light) that was abandoned in place when supplanted by those new-fangled incandescent bulbs?

Re: Car Face

Fanhead's perfect description of that waiter's eyebrows was the funniest thing I've heard in ages; thank you for the health-giving laughter. It also brought to my attention the one very happy diner (sitting near the waiter holding the dirty dishes). He has a "Broadway musical" smile and seems like a cockeyed optimist who is making the best out of a bad situation.

Liver of choice

Liver is inexpensive and, if cooked well, very good. Liver and onions was on every menu of most restaurants, good and bad. Liver is also good for you. Lots of iron, which was important to people who generally ate very few green vegetables and when salted meats formed a substantial part of the diet.

We may balk at eating in a place like this but for the poor working man, many who lived in shared room where they had to sleep in shifts and had no way to cook a meal, it would have been the height of luxury.

Before he became the Drummer for R.E.M.

Bill Berry slung Hash at a Dive Restaurant.

Thanks, Marchbanks!

I hadn't looked at the full-sized photo of the outside of that fine establishment. Now that I've scanned the menu, I couldn't find pizza, nachos buffalo wings or calamari, so I am taking my business elsewhere.

Order up

@Jim Page, don't strain yerself trying to make out the bill of fare. Just look at the previous picture, and there's the whole thing painted quite legibly on the window of Fuerst Brothers Restaurant.

This may put to bed

the old "five second rule" yikes !

Car Face

For some reason the young waiter's forehead reminds me of the back of a '59 Chevy. Those are interesting eyebrows.

Barista's not back there.

She must be on a break. So I guess you boys will have to go pour your own pumpkin latte.


I remember a bunch of diners, taverns and dives from when I was a kid that had those wire-backed chairs. They aren't as uncomfortable as they looks becaise the back will "give" a bit and the seat was generally wood, so it wasn't too bad.

Big Bowl

the big bowl may have been sauerkraut or cole slaw, essential foods at...budget eateries of the time.

Big bowl

I don't have a real answer for what's in the big condiment bowls, but I thought I'd list the available evidence: there's a serving utensil in each one; the contents are dark, and either chunky or, if liquid, viscous enough for slops to adhere to the inner surface. Ketsup?

Cuisine Helpers

I'd guess that the pairs of saucers hold prepared horseradish and hellfire mustard sauce, both popular and sometimes essential condiments in cheaper eateries for those meat dishes that should have been shown the back door earlier in the week.


Are there any Shorpy food historians who might lend insight on the array of condiments set out on the unoccupied tables? I'm guessing the bottles are oil and vinegar. Are the small bowls salt and pepper? Whatever was in the center bowl appears hardly touched by the men dining on the other side of the room.

Not so bad

Yes, this is a picture of despairing people in a grimy environment and surely not the restaurant of choice for these poor souls, but I have had kidney stew and British steak and kidney pie, and if they are properly prepared, they are edible, even without the fava beans and a nice Chianti. When one is hungry and broke, something to eat is better than nothing to eat. People eat liver, heart, tongue, gizzards, brains, headcheese, many animal parts that might not be our favorites, but are still sustenance for those who have nothing or simply like this stuff. In the southwestern states, cowboys eat lamb testicles which the menu calls "lamb fries" which are battered and deep fried and some patrons do not even know what they are ordering. Some also call them "mountain oysters."

Grim Fare

I find this a grim eatery as well. The apron on the waiter was the deal killer for me. Although that one fellow on table two on the left seems pleased with his meal, he is a bit too pleased; perhaps manic is a better description.

I spent some time trying to read the bills of fare on either side of the room, but, as much as I love the font, it isn't easy to read. I saw salt port and pork chops offered, and some meals that included eggs, but that's about it.

No, thanks

There are many photos on Shorpy that make me eager to spend some time walking around in them. What with the unhinged-looking patrons and staff, the filthy aprons, the chairs that look as uncomfortable as they are ugly, and the sawdust on the floor, this is definitely NOT one of those photos.

Sleeping Mousetraps

I just jumped when I saw the two sleeping cats. Too funny.

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