nb dining back in the day

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Vintage menus from vanished restaurants offer a taste of nostalgia. How many do you remember? By Kedric Francis | Photos By Jody Tiongco

Old menus are like little time machines, taking us back to a long lost past that some of us recall and others can only imagine. These are from the collection of Michael Cho, a well-known Newport Beach attorney for restaurants and clubs. Cho picked up a cool cache of menus after an exhibit at the Sherman Gardens Library in CdM, many of which belonged to Dan Marcheano, owner of the Arches. When Cho asked if they were for sale, Marcheano gave them to him. “That’s typical of Dan,” says Cho, who loves the lost culinary art the menus reveal. “Did everyone eat vichyssoise? It’s on almost every one!”

For us it’s the history of Newport Beach and O.C. that makes the menus so fascinating. Cho’s collection reflects a bygone era, including Berkshire’s on Lido Isle, The Stuft Shirt, Bob Burns (Fashion Island’s first restaurant, opened in 1967), the Marine Room at The Newporter Inn and the Arches in all its incarnations. Even the simplest menus, like Reuben’s with its four kinds of steak, lobster tail and fried chicken, trigger almost Proustian memories of meals past. Reuben’s was part of John McIntosh’s Far West restaurant group. Does anyone remember the Snack Shop? If you’ve been to a Coco’s or even a Ruby’s (especially the one in CdM) then you’re part of the McIntosh family legacy, and the history of dining in NB that’s still being written. ,

 

riviera moved to westminster in 1998 after 30 years at South Coast Plaza.

the Reuben’s on bayside drive in cdm was a beauty.

The reuben e. lee was a newport
beach landmark, and home to many
restaurants after the original closed.

The jamaica inn in cdm offered chateau margaux for $9… a bottle? the menu doesn’t specify!

the stuft shirt became cano’s and windows on the bay and now the
iconic building is home to a’maree’s.

The villa marina’s aquarium room offered lobster
thermidor—en coquille, of course—for $4.25!

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