Union Pacific 1963 Coffee Shop Menu

This was on my 2016 list of missing menus, so I’m glad I was able to find it. The interior menu has a code in the lower right that says, “DEN SC 17-18 1E-2W 5-63.” I’m not sure what that all means, but I presume 5-63 means it was printed in May, 1963 and 17-18 may refer to the Portland Rose, which in 1964 went between Portland and Cheyenne, where it was split up and combined with other trains going to Chicago and St. Louis.

Click image to download a 1.2-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu has a stiff card stapled on the upper left corner offering a “Special Steak Dinner” for $3.75 (about $30 in today’s money). I decided not to risk damaging the item by removing it. Underneath the card is “Fountain Menu” offering ice cream for 35 cents and an ice cream cone for 15 cents (must have been a small cone).

Below the fountain menu is a bar menu. The opposite page has both a table d’hôte and an a la carte menu. The table d’hôte menu offers salmon, chopped steak, roast lamb, or cold ham and turkey, all served with potatoes, vegetable, salad, dessert, and beverage for $2.35 each (about $19 today). Imagine when salmon was so abundant that it was equal to chopped steak or cold ham and turkey! The a la carte menu has nine sandwiches, four salads, and various other items.

It is slightly amazing that nearly all of Union Pacific’s priced dinner menus, going at least as far back as 1935, have a special section highlighting a “special steak dinner,” usually charcoal-broiled sirloin. New passengers might have thought they were getting a treat (albeit an expensive one), but regular passengers must have realized that the steak dinner was on every menu and thus not really that special.

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