Menu Collection, Part Three: California

by Derrick Bostrom


It's strange how many folks are visiting Bostworld just to look at the menus. What began as little more than a personal promise to rescue a box of clutter from my attic has become nearly a quarter of all traffic to this site. Not bad for a rather anemic pile of what amounts to little more than the odd design element and some barely legible text describing ridiculously cheap, heart-attack-inducing meals and old-fashioned exotic adult beverages.

What's more, when my mother's side of the family caught wind of the tributes to my grandparents, they were extremely gratified. I wish them welcome, of course, and hope they are equally fond of collapsing buildings, old newspapers, cheesy pop music and the rest of the standard content on this site. (I'll get my father's side of the family soon enough, once I pull out his mother's postcard collection.)

This time out, we offer examples from the dining establishments of California. It's clear from the selection that my grandparents took advantage of the availability of fresh seafood when on the west coast. It appears they chose well, since all three of the grottos represented here are still in business. Also included here is very nice breakfast menu from an unnamed restaurant, which offers so much fresh fruit that it can only come from the Sunshine State.

By far the coolest artifact here is probably not from California at all. I lumped it in since it appears to have been printed in Los Angeles, but a closer inspection reveals it to be from right here in Arizona. It's a children's menu from the legendary Hiway House motel. Started in the mid-fifties by developer Del Webb, the chain serviced the burgeoning postwar traffic to California along US Route 66. During a recent trip to Albuquereque, I actually ran into the last remaining Hiway House in operation, and in my ensusing curiosity, I discovered not only a nice summary of the chain's history, but also a huge clearing house of info about Route 66 itself. (No, I'm not surprised -- what else is the Internet for?)