Dining in the posh Orleans Room at the Blackstone Hotel was an experience to remember for the former Nancy Farnsworth and John “Jack” Arthur Graf Jr. The occasion was a small dinner party — with a custom menu — to celebrate their impending marriage on Sept. 26, 1954.
Family friend Vera Lawrence of Lincoln had extended the invitation to the young couple and the bride-elect’s parents, Elva and James Farnsworth of Lincoln.
The meal was so fabulous, Nancy and Jack left with a menu autographed by Waiter #38, “Mother” and “Pappy,” Vera and an attorney friend. The future groom commented in his own handwriting, “Oh, so full,” and the bride-elect wrote, “Just as full.”
Their dinner, noted on the menu as well, included Shrimp and Lobster Louie, Chopped Chicken Livers with Anchovies, Smoked Salmon, Caesar Salad, Chateaubriand with Mushroom Sauce, Parisian Potatoes, Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Cherries Jubilee and Gaelic Coffee.
Nancy Graf’s wedding album doesn’t contain any photos from that splendid evening in the Orleans Room, famed for hosting U.S. presidents and celebrities. But the 89-year-old Omahan has given the menu TLC for 66 years. It’s soon to be loaned to the Omaha Public Library for digital archiving in an ongoing project to document Omaha’s culinary history.
Readers, what restaurant memories do you have? Tell us in 300 words or less, and your story could be part of a future installment on Omaha restaurant history. Email your memory to Betsie Freeman, email@example.com, by Nov. 23.