Here’s what appears at first glance to be a Union Pacific menu that may never have been used aboard a train, or even by the railroad. Inside, it says it is for the twenty-fifth anniversary lunch for Associated Food Stores, a retail coop that currently distributes foods to about 500 stores, including some four dozen stores that it owns outright. According to the menu, in 1965 Associated was located at 1812 South Empire Road in Salt Lake City; today it is headquartered just one block away from this address.
So what is Associated’s association with the Union Pacific? The menu cover provides a hint. Being a Utah business, Associated and many of its member stores were no doubt owned by Mormons. While the Union Pacific is not owned by the Mormon Church, no doubt many church members own stock in the company. But it is likely that there was no direct business or religious connection between UP and Associated; instead, Associated may have simply wanted a nice picture of the Mormon Temple on its menu cover, and so somehow borrowed some menu blanks from the railroad.
Being hand typed, the menu inside doesn’t look as if it were printed by the railroad, though it does offer a table d’hôte meal of either brook trout or “charcoaled tenderloin” (the UP would have said “charcoal broiled sirloin”). Other than the fact that we’ve seen this cover before on a UP menu, there is absolutely nothing on the menu that mentions the Union Pacific or any other railroad.