How Abe Lincoln and avocados made Delmonico’s a legend

How Abe Lincoln and avocados made Delmonico’s a legend




There have been a lot of tales handed down about Delmonico’s Restaurant in lower Manhattan over its 182 years. But among the many tales about this historic consuming establishment are further delusion than reality.

One occasion: It’s broadly credited because the city’s oldest still-open eatery, serving diners since 1837. Not exactly. That honor goes to Fraunces Tavern, moreover in lower Manhattan, which debuted in 1762 to serve meals and ale to colonists.

To get a model of Delmonico’s historic previous, The Post spoke to Joanne O’Connor, a 65-year-old Kips Bay resident who labored at Delmonico’s from 1982-90 and has taken it upon herself to become the restaurant’s archivist, putting on rotating month-to-month reveals throughout the lobby.

Here’s what we found.

TRUE OR FALSE? Delmonico’s has been at its current 56 Beaver St. location as a result of the restaurant opened in 1827.
FALSE. It’s acceptable that the Delmonico’s patriarchs — Swiss brothers John (Giovanni) and Peter (Pietro) Delmonico, along with nephew Lorenzo — started their empire in 1827. But on the time, it was merely a pastry cafe (which moreover purchased Havana cigars) at shut by 23 William St. The current location, at Beaver and William streets, opened in 1837, when the New York Sun wrote that it was a place “not merely to dine at, but to talk about, to take foreigners to, places to be proud of, which make the city attractive the world over.”

TRUE OR FALSE? Abraham Lincoln ate proper right here.
TRUE. The 16th president normally stayed — and dined — at a 14th Street Delmonico’s when he visited the city to meet alongside together with his secretary of the Navy, Gen. John A. Dix, and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher. “Potatoes gratin was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite dish,” says O’Connor. In 1865, after Lincoln was assassinated, his funeral procession handed by the current Delmonico’s location, which was shrouded in mourning.
Diamond Jim Brady — a Gilded Age businessman and frequent patron of Delmonico’s — routinely gorged himself on the restaurant’s lunch hour, scarfing down oysters, clams, lobsters, crabs and orange juice.
FALSE. Although Diamond Jim was well-known for his gluttony, that wasn’t the case at Delmonico’s, in response to creator Lately Thomas’ 1967 e-book “Delmonico’s: A Century of Splendor.” Server Oscar Tschirky, who waited on Brady many events there, under no circumstances seen him eat higher than an appetizer of 12 oysters, an entree of filet mignon and a inexperienced vegetable, plus a slice of apple pie or watermelon — irrespective of was in season — for dessert. “If he was a great eater, he must have done his stuffing elsewhere,” in response to Tschirky’s account.

TRUE OR FALSE? Women couldn’t enter Delmonico’s till accompanied by a man.
TRUE. That was the protection until April 20, 1868, when Delmonico’s hosted a girls’s-only luncheon held by the membership Sorosis — a expert girls’s group. The group obtained its private consuming room and a prix-fixe menu priced at $1 per explicit particular person. Not solely did Sorosis use Delmonico’s as a meeting place for years after, nevertheless this meal set a precedent for the establishment of women’s expert golf tools all through the nation.

TRUE OR FALSE? Delmonico’s is answerable for bringing avocados to New York City.
TRUE. You can actually thank Delmonico’s for what’s become a favorite topping for overpriced toast. In 1895, journalist Richard Harding Davis traveled to South America and ate his first one in Caracas. “So intrigued was he with their buttery, musky flavor that he brought a basketful back to New York,” in response to Thomas’ e-book. He then took them to Delmonico’s, the place a chef tasted one and cherished it. From that point, avocados — “then called the ‘alligator pear,’ ” says O’Connor — have been repeatedly shipped to the consuming locations.




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