Delmonico’s is celebrating 150 years as the first U.S. restaurant to serve women independently

Written by
Alyson Penn

Ladies, we've come a long way. Even though we're still marching for our rights in 2018, it's been 150 years since women in the United States have been granted the ubiquitous pleasure of eating alone sans men. And Delmonico's, one of New York's oldest and most famous restaurants, spearheaded the then-radical departure in 1868 by hosting the first women's-only luncheon for the Sorosis Club, the country's first professional women's organization. Until that meal, women had to be escorted by men to dine in public restaurants. 

An invitation-only luncheon will kick off a week-long celebration at the restaurant on April 20, the anniversary of the original lunch. While the chef has yet to be announced, she (that part is confirmed) will riff off plates from the 1868 meal, like asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and potatoes fried in dough. A special menu series will be open to the public during lunch hours from April 23–27.

Sure, this might have been one small step for NYC women, but one giant leap for womankind.

Check out some vintage photos from Delmonico’s below.

An archived ladies lunch menu from 1899:

Photograph: Courtesy NY Public Library

A subsequent ladies lunch in 1902: 

Photograph: Courtesy Bryon Company and Museum of the City of NewYork

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