The Blackstone (restaurant)
Submitted by liz on Wed, 2014-11-12 11:42
Note: The Newberry Library holds the personal papers of author John Drury.
THE BLACKSTONE, Michigan Avenue, at 7th Street
For over two decades the most exclusive and renowned hotel in downtown Chicago, the Blackstone, in its various dining rooms, offers a cuisine equal to that of the Savoy in London, the Ritz in Paris, or the Ritz in New York, both in excellence of preparation and variety. Here are all the principal dishes of Continental cookery, as well as those of domestic brand, prepared by a large staff of expert cooks and confectioners according to the recipes of some of the world's foremost chefs. If you are an epicure — and more so if you are not — you will receive the culinary thrill of your life in gazing over the Blackstone's catalogued a la cart menu, an impressive folio containing almost every dish eaten by civilized man. That great epicure, Lucullus, would turn in his catacomb were he to see this menu and the prices are higher than a cat's back.
Such gastronomical lavishness is in keeping with the traditions started by John B. Drake, first of the Drake family in Chicago, whose sons, Tracy Drake and John B. Drake II, built the Blackstone in 1910.
Not a little of the culinary fame of the Blackstone, however, is due to the specialites de la maison created by the late August Becker, chef here for over nine years. Nowhere, not even in Europe, can you get such delicious creations in foods — eggs Becker, omelette Becker, breast of chicken Becker, sweetbreads Becker, Virginia ham Becker, steak a la Blackstone, Blackstone mixed grill, Blackstone salad, the Blackstone sandwich, and the coupe Becker. These specialties may also be obtained at the Drake Hotel, operated by John B. Drake II and III and William Drake. And, since we are mentioning names in this paragraph, those of Frederick H. Muller, head of the purchasing department at the Blackstone, and Otto C. Staack, maitre d'hotel, should not be left out. Muller, a veteran in the service of the Drake family, is one of the foremost authorities on foodstuffs in Chicago, while Staack was private steward to the former Emperor Wilhelm in the early years of the century.
For dinner, of course, nearly everyone goes to the main dining room, done in the Louis XVI style and commanding an impressive view over Michigan Avenue and Chicago's Lake Front. It is a high-ceilinged hall, old ivory in tone and modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles. The service is of the highest perfection and you can get everything here from that popular Russian dish, Blenis Romanoff, to that great American entree, young turkey, from the green hills of Vermont. There is music during luncheon and dinner and the menu is a la carte. Visiting diplomats, captains of industry, opera stars, financiers, governors and senators and the first families of Chicago may be seen here almost any evening.
The Blackstone Club Grill, in the basement, is crowded during luncheon and especially before matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when women theatre-goers occupy most of the tables. It is decorated in the old English style, with walls of paneled walnut and walnut furniture, and an open charcoal and electric grill occupies one corner of the room. A table d'hote matinee luncheon is served here for $1.50 per cover. Four o'clock tea is the main offering in the Marble Room, located off the lobby.
Maitre d'hotel: Otto C. Staack