Lucca, Los Angeles & San Francisco, 1930s
The colorful cover of this vintage wine list was created for Lucca, a restaurant with operations in both San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s.
The restaurants were said to be consistently crowded because of the delicious food “prepared by artists of wide reputation.” Dinners cost from $1.35 and up.
Lucca was also famous for how it served wines. California vintages – and a few choice wines imported from Italy –were decanted into handsome, colored pitchers. When empty, customers could take the flask home as a souvenir of their night out.
Lucca was founded by the Rovere brothers – Ettore, Bert and Mario. Presumably, they named their business after their hometown Lucca, a beautiful city in the region of Tuscany that is still surrounded by well-preserved 16th and century ramparts.
Ettore, along with a business partner Innocente Pedroli, had earlier established, in 1924, The Paris Inn Club in Los Angeles, which had singing waiters and artists who would draw sketches of customers at table. Silent film stars Charlie Chaplin and Clara Bow were regular guests.
The pair also established the Adam and Eve Bar on East Market Street.
Lucca was adept at marketing. This was a souvenir wine list that was mailed to customers and helped advertise the chain’s in-house liquor department, where customers could take home bottles or cases of wine. Lucca also published a pamphlet with its most popular recipes such as risotto or tuna a la Bolognese.
World War II had a marked effect on business since both establishments closed in the late 1940s.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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