The Oyster Loaf, San Francisco, 1940s
The imagination and talent of menu illustrators often blows us away and The Oyster Loaf is a perfect example of this. Created by the celebrated artist and author Andrew Loomis*, it shows a voluptuous, brunette mermaid riding a lobster side-saddle in this 1940s menu. The oyster loaf – a thick chunk of crusty bread hollowed out and stuffed with breaded and fried oysters – is an important part of San Francisco's dining history. The story goes that in the early years of the city's history, judges, senators and aristocrats would go out drinking at unsavory bars and then buy oyster loaves as peace offerings before heading home to their wives waiting in mansions in Nob Hill. The Oyster Loaf restaurant kept up the tradition, offering take-out loaves to diners.
A 7-Eleven store now occupies the approximate space where the Oyster Loaf originally stood.
*The illustrator Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) is revered among artists - including comics superstar Alex Ross - for his mastery of figure drawing and clean, Realist style. According to many his hugely influential series of art instruction books have never been bettered.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.
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