Amtrak 1978 Menu

Here is a full menu–with breakfast, lunch, and dinner–typical of diners on Amtrak long-distance trains in the late 1970s. Several pages say “No. 5/6” in tiny letters, suggesting this particular menu was used on the San Francisco Zephyr.

Click image to download a 4.4-MB PDF of this 12-page menu.

The lunch menu offers fried chicken, Salisbury steak, or filet of sole, served “a la carte” with potato, vegetable, and rolls or as a “luncheon” with all of the above plus salad and a beverage for 65 cents more (about $2.50 in today’s money). There was also a steak sandwich, hamburger, cheeseburger, chef’s salad, or chili, plus a variety of desserts and other items. The most expensive meal was the Salisbury steak luncheon for $4.75, about $18 today.

The dinner menu gave a choice of chicken cacciatore, prime rib, or trout saut├ęd in almond butter. Again, the “a la carte” meals came with potato, vegetable, and rolls, while the full dinner also came with an appetizer (fruit, juice, or soup), salad, dessert, and beverage for $1 more (about $3.75 today). There was also hamburger, cheeseburger, a “steak diet plate,” hot turkey sandwich, tuna salad sandwich, and fresh fruit plate. The most expensive meal was the prime rib dinner for $6.95, or about $26.50 today.

Breakfasts included French toast, pancakes, and the usual combinations of eggs and meat. There was also hot and cold cereals, pastries, and “a good morning cocktail, Bloody Mary or Screwdriver.” I guess that’s one way to get your morning tomato or orange juice.

The menu is undated, but one page advertises a “Kellogg’s Kiddie Ride” program that is “effective through January 31, 1979.” So I probably collected this menu when I was riding trains in late 1978. As a matter of fact, I met my future wife aboard the San Francisco Zephyr a few days before the end of the year in 1978, so this is probably a souvenir of that romantic trip.


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