[Souvenir Menu] Janssen, Aug. Hof-bräu Haus Speisekarte. New York, January, 1908. First edition, 16 pages, 13 inches x 7 ¾ inches. Heavy paper covers, decorated with color-lithography in the style of Imperial Germany, complete with a surviving red silk ribbon with a faux wax seal still attached, the colorful decorated pages of the menu were printed on heavy laid paper. August Janssen’s famous restaurant was located on Broadway and 30th Street in New York City opposite Daly’s Theatre. Janssen’s Hof-bräu Haus opened in June 1898 and grew in the intervening years into a showplace of South German interior decoration and cuisine, as well as a famous landmark visited by Germans travelling in America.
Each room in the Hof-bräu Haus was named, as one entered the Ladies’ Entrance on the Broadway side, s/he entered the Rothenburg ob der Tauber, with paintings by Thomas and Egli. The electric lights were mounted in Leuchterweibchen, carved by Edward Stottner, keeper of the Tucher Haus in Nürnberg. From the Rothenburg one entered the Fasszimmer, where an alcove accommodated the Müncher Künstler Ensemble, which played there every evening. Going up three steps, one entered Wallenstein’s Lager, a large room on the Thirtieth Street Side.
The condition of this remarkable visual record of the interior of this famous New York restaurant is remarkably good, as it has only a few minor chips to the cover, with one minor archival tape repair, given the wise choice of paper used for the printing in 1908. This record is one of not only dishes served and the prices charged for them in 1908 but also of the artist’s renderings of the interior and the location of the building at an important New York City intersection. Sold with the original Hof-bräu Haus envelope in which this souvenir menu has been kept since 1908.