We’ve seen this cover before on a 1954 lunch menu. The two menus have many similarities, but also some significant differences.
Although some prices went up slightly between 1949 and 1954, most of the a la carte sides of the two menus are identical. However, the older menu has four premium entrées not found on the newer one: sirloin steak, lamb chops, corned beef hash, and veal cutlets.
The table d’hôte sides are more complicated. Both menus offer the chef’s salad bowl and several other entrées as a part of the “luncheon suggestions.” The newer menu actually has one more entrée than the 1949 one: shrimp, tenderloin, omelet, and club sandwich in 1954 vs. halibut, corned beef, and club sandwich in 1949. But not only are the prices significantly higher in 1954, the newer menu offers juice or soup as an extra-cost option rather than include them in the price of the meal.
Inflation between 1949 and 1954 was about 15 percent, but–when the price of the juice or soup is included–the meal prices went up by 20 to 40 percent. Yet most of the a la carte prices didn’t go up at all and those that did increased by only a small amount.