The Finest Dining at the Fair

6, October 2016
Photo of Luchow-Faust's main dining roomAn inside view of Lüchow-Faust's main dining room, 1904. Missouri History Museum.

Imagine you’ve been seated in a grand dining hall decorated like a Bavarian palace. As you peruse the nearly 200-item menu, you relax to the sounds of a 100-piece orchestra, nearly forgetting you’re one of 3,000 souls about to embark on a culinary journey through Germany and beyond.

Welcome to Lüchow-Faust, the grandiose restaurant housed within the Tyrolean Alps section of the Pike at the 1904 World’s Fair. The brainchild of New York restaurateur August Lüchow and St. Louis restaurateur Tony Faust, Lüchow-Faust was among the Fair’s most expensive dining options. The menu also changed daily, so the experience could be different from one day to the next—a smart move to keep Fairgoers faced with over 30 dining options coming back for more.

Scanned interior of menu from Luchow-Faust restaurantClick to view a larger version of this Lüchow-Faust menu from July 9, 1904. Missouri History Museum.

On July 9, 1904, guests hungry for traditional German fare could choose from ready dishes such as Hausgemachte bratwurst (75 cents), Rinderbrust en Casserole Lüchow ($1.50), and Deutscher Sauerbraten mit Kartoffelklössen (75 cents) to a Spanish omelette (75 cents), roast lamb (60 cents), and chicken croquettes with peas (85 cents). Dessert options ranged from good-for-you fruits—including stewed prunes for 25 cents—to indulgences such as the Haselnuss torte (30 cents) and Frischer kirschenkuchen (25 cents).

If you’re a fan of classic German food, why not try your hand at some of the dishes served at Lüchow-Faust? Although we don’t have the chefs’ recipes, within our Library on Skinker Boulevard we do have a 116-year-old publication, Twentieth Century Cook Book and Practical Housekeeping, that includes recipes for traditional German dishes.

Have a side of beef? Try sauerbraten:

Scan of a sauerbraten recipe from 1900Recipe from Twentieth Century Cook Book and Practical Housekeeping, published in 1900. Missouri History Museum.

Sauerkraut lover? To make your own, you’ll need the right supplies—and a not-so-sensitive nose:

Scan of a sauerkraut recipe from 1900Recipe from Twentieth Century Cook Book and Practical Housekeeping, published in 1900. Missouri History Museum.

Want to go more authentic and up for a bit of detective work? Here’s a page out of a private German recipe book from 1857. It’s written in old German script, so we haven’t been able to translate it yet, but there are bound to be gems locked away within these pages.

Scan of a handwritten German recipe book from 1857Click to view a larger version of this handwritten German recipe book from 1857. Missouri History Museum.

Happy German dining to all!

—Jen Tebbe, Editor

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