10 Classic Menus From Historic L.A. Restaurants

The menu collection at the Los Angeles Public Library is, to my mind, one of its greatest assets. It was recently announced that a local man's voluminous personal collection of menus and programs from years past is being donated to the library -- I know that I am joined by my fellow food nerds in excitement about this.

And in celebration, I picked out a few of my favorite menus from the current collection. These bits of ephemera from the Cocoanut Grove, Taix, the Brown Derby, Spago and Yamashiro have fun cover art, and they're great insight into the food culture of the past. The Yamashiro menu is especially strange to today's eyes: the original line-up of dishes had almost nothing to do with the decor.

Cocoanut Grove menu, 1960. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Cocoanut Grove menu, 1960. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Taix menu, 1960s. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Taix menu, 1960s. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Brown Derby menu, 1940. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Brown Derby menu, 1940. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Spago menu, 1983. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Spago menu, 1983. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Yamashiro menu, 1960. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Yamashiro menu, 1960. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection
Yamashiro menu, 1960. Image courtesy LAPL Menu Collection

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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