Menu from Dinah’s Shack, Palo Alto, 1960

Sadly, there was no actual Dinah, as far as I can tell.

• • •

I won this old menu in an auction lot, and didn’t even realize it until I got home. I conducted a bit of research on Dinah’s while I was scanning these images, and I found an excellent article about the restaurant’s history. Suffice it to say, the imagery on this menu is dated (to put it kindly), but Dinah’s witnessed many social changes during its six decade run in Palo Alto. To wit, the restaurant itself became the target of an NAACP protest in 1968.

Dinah’s ultimately closed in 1989, due to seismic building code violations. I suppose the Loma Prieta earthquake prompted quite a few seismic inspections throughout the Bay Area, although I’m not sure if the restaurant closed before or after the quake. Regardless, any restaurant that old is bound to be missed, no matter what.

There’s an inscription on the inside of this menu, which is normally kind of a bummer from a collector’s standpoint. However, if this menu hadn’t been preserved as a personal momento, it probably wouldn’t exist today. Who knows if there are other menus from Dinah’s out there? In many cases, I like finding old, personal notes, because they can be fascinating. This note features a bit of charm, and an inside joke. I wonder how they ended up.

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Back page wine list.

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Inscription: Thanks for a wonderful evening babe. I had lots of fun and I hope you did too. I hope we have a lot more of them. Always love you! – Jim – P.S. Stop shaking the table!

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