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Cool Culinaria: The Lost Art of Vintage Menu Design

[Photos: Cool Culinaria]

Here's Cool Culinaria, a new curated collection of vintage food and beverage art from around the world. Focusing largely on menus — "from the grand designs of haute cuisine restaurants in 19th century Paris to the brilliant graphics and exciting illustrations of America's dining establishments in the '30s and onwards" — the site sells high quality prints as well as t-shirts that say things like "Tender Steaks and Chops" or "Minimum Check 10 Cents." The collection aspires to be "a glimpse into the aspirations and pleasures of bygone eras."

The collection was founded by former GM of of The Rainbow Room/partner in Windows on the World Charles Baum as well as Scottish-born journalist Barbara McMahon. Baum tells Eater, "Most of these haven't been seen by the general public since the night they were used tableside." He adds that beyond "the originality and quality of the artwork and design, the colorful language, and the 'Oh boy how times have changed' pricing," often the menus are "unafraid of being provocative and humorous which adds a significant layer of amusement to many of these menus."

For example? One menu reads, "Sloppy Joe – Pour it on the floor if you don't like it." Another that boasts the disclaimer, "The Management is not responsible for hats, coats, cigar butts, false teeth, or how you feel after you leave." Ah, the simpler days of restaurant management.

The collection currently has many American menus as well as examples from London, France, and Argentina. Cool Culinaria promises there are many additional locations are on the way. Also in the works? A section dedicated wholly to cocktails.

· Cool Culinaria [Official Site]
· All Food Art Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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