By Meredith Brody
In its October issue, currently on newsstands, Gourmet profiles some venerable US "restaurants that have been going strong since before Gourmet debuted in 1941," and billboarded on the cover as "21 Legendary American Restaurants You Should Visit." (It smacks a little of those One Million Places You Should-See-Before-You're-Dead And-If-You-Don't-You're-A-Loser-Who-Has-Wasted-Their-Entire-Life lists.)
Only one famous San Francisco spot makes the list, Tadich Grill, which opened in 1849, and is the oldest place on the list by some 50 years. (Tadich, in keeping with its age, doesn't have any young whippersnapper nonsense like a website.) We might have added Sam's Grill (born in 1867), as we did in a piece about dining in the past in present tense, that ran in the Weekly five years ago.
Both places have moved numerous times over the years, as have others on the list. One, the El Rancho Vegas all-you-can-eat buffet, no longer exists (the El Rancho burned to the ground in 1960), which seems to contradict the article's avowed purpose. But the article offers a mini-list within the list of five other Vegas all-you-can-eat buffets, at a considerably higher price, of course, than the El Rancho's One Dollar Chuckwagon Midnight Buffet.
Of the 21, I've eaten at half-a-dozen: the "21" Club in NYC, Boston's Locke-Ober (alas, in a period of decline, before Lydia Shire took over and shined it up), Musso & Frank Grill in LA (about a million times), Lawry's The Prime Rib, also LA, NYC's Oyster Bar, and, of course, Tadich Grill. I've peeked inside both Galatoire's in New Orleans and Joe's Stone Crab in Miami, but declined to join the lines in both places and ate - very well, thank you -- elsewhere.
Gourmet, which like other Conde Nasties does not believe in giving away the store for free, doesn't publish the article, even in list form, on its website, but does offer additional photographs of some of its legends.
Here's our cheat sheet, complete with birthdates:
Giardina's, Greenwood, Mississippi, 1936
Manago Hotel, Captain Cook, Hawaii, 1917
Bright Star, Bessemer, Alabama, 1907
Gaido's Seafood Restaurant, Galveston, Texas, 1911
The "21" Club, New York City, New York, 1929
Sammy's Ye Old Cider Mill, Mendham, New Jersey, 1933
Galatoire's, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1905
The Student Prince, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1935
Joe. T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant, Forth Worth, Texas, 1935
El Charro Café, Tucson, Arizona, 1922
Locke-Ober, Boston, Massachusetts, 1901
Joe's Stone Crab, Miami Beach, Florida, 1913
Hyeholde Restaurant, Corapolis, Pennsylvania, 1938
Gene & Georgetti, Chicago, Illinois, 1941
Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood, California, 1919
The Lexington, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1935
Lawry's The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills, California, 1938
Maneki, Seattle, Washington, 1904
The Oyster Bar, New York City, New York, 1913
Tadich Grill, San Francisco, California, 1849
El Rancho Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1941