Seventieth-Anniversary Empire Builder Menu

Decorated with the original Empire Builder font, this menu is designed to warm the hearts of Great Northern rail fans. The front cover painting by Craig Thorpe illustrates the Great Northern heavyweight and dome-laden streamlined Empire Builders plus Amtrak’s own train. The back cover has a Winold Reiss Empire Builder menu as well as photos of dining car interiors on GN’s and Amtrak’s trains. The inside covers have more information about the history of the train.

Click image to download a 5.2-MB PDF of this menu.

Eight pages of menus are tied inside with a gold-tasseled string, and many of the items have Great Northern or Northwest names such as the “Western Star lunch” and the “Puget Sound Catch-of-the-Day” dinner. Behind the catchy names, however, the food is only a slight upgrade from the bad old days of the 1980s.


Seventieth-Anniversary Empire Builder Menu — 1 Comment

  1. I rode the Empire Builder in 1999. I’m pretty sure I still have one of these menus. It was still a great ride across the continent. The food…wellk the food was relatively expensive (although not as expensive as it would become), and, except for breakfast, a lot of the food was coming out of microwaves. Almost all the vegetables were frozen and microwaved. The potatoes were frozen and microwaved. Both desserts were frozen and thawed. The meet, at least, was freshly cooked, and the fish was uniformly good. The main problem on an almost four day trip was how repetitive the menus became. I don’t think the breakfast menu ever changed, the lunch menu had one item that may change from day to day, and Dinner had a beef and chicken item that changed every other day, although even the different items were generally just yesterday’s menus prepared differently,

    Having ridden my first train as a four year old in 1950, going to the diner and seeing what was on the menu was one of the things that we looked forward to in what might otherwise be a boring or monotonous trip. Amtrak did improve both quality and selection of food in the 2000’s, but the mystique of the diner had pretty much vanished.

    Regards, Jim

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