Peter Moruzzi takes you to America's finest mid-century restaurants—continental-style fine dining establishments, historic steakhouses, lounge restaurants, and Polynesian palaces—that persevere in U.S. cities large and small. Through exclusive new and vintage photography, Moruzzi celebrates culinary pioneers and multigeneration restaurateurs, uncovers authentic gems, and debunks the predicted demise of the white tablecloth restaurant. The book includes a comprehensive directory of more than 200 classic restaurants found in cities from all 50 states.
Classic restaurants range from "continental-style" fine dining, with their softly lit wood-paneled interiors, starched tablecloths, curved booths, tuxedoed captains, and tableside service, to historic establishments retaining original character, decor, ambiance, and traditional menus. The many restaurants featured in this book are archetypal examples found throughout America. All share an inviting time-machine quality.
Cultural historian Peter Moruzzi is passionate about the mid-twentieth century: its nightlife, classic dining, and architecture. He is the author of the illustrated histories Havana Before Castro: When Cuba Was a Tropical Playground and Palm Springs Holiday: A Vintage Tour from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea, both published by Gibbs Smith. Moruzzi resides in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles and in Palm Springs.
"A time capsule of midcentury restaurants, the kinds where every dish had two names: Oysters Rockefeller, Steak Diane, Cherries Jubilee, Bananas Foster." —New York Times Style Magazine."Explore what it was like to swagger one's way into swanky dining establishments in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, and New Orleans during the Mad Men era. Learn about the establishments, some still with us and many long gone, where shish kabobs and bananas foster were grandly presented in flames, Caesar salad was prepared tableside, prime rib was served from fancy carts, and dishes such as oysters Rockefeller and lobster thermidor were the norm." —Flavorwire
"A glossy, full-color, coast-to-coast tour of the restaurants your parents or grandparents went to on fancy occasions—many of which are still with us, at least for the time being." —LA Weekly
"Peter Moruzzi makes your mouth water with a lavishly illustrated trip to the finest historic eateries in America. Your job: eat at them before they disappear." —John Rabe,"Off Ramp" KPCC.org
"The early-to-mid 20th century saw an explosion of "Continental Fine Dining" restaurants—dark-paneled places with with white tablecloths, where the entrees were named after billionaires, and the desserts were served flaming. Author Peter Moruzzi toured most of America's remaining examples of these time-machine restos to write his new book Classic Dining: Discovering Mid-Century Restaurants." —Rico Gagliano, "The Dinner Party" American Public Media (NPR)
"Classic Dining: Discovering America's Finest Mid-Century Restaurants isn't just a history textbook, but also a living guidebook to the venerable old places that are still around today." —L.J. Williamson, LA Weekly