Galatoire's in the 1930's

By Patricia B. Mitchell.


As part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) the New Orleans division of the Federal Writer's Project of Louisiana published the 1938 New Orleans City Guide. This book is an excellent “time capsule” of life in the city of the 1930's, telling where to dine; where to sleep (the Monteleone Hotel on Royal St. had 600 rooms and 540 radios); and where to have a fun night on the town, whether at “bars, ‘Harlem’ clubs, or honky-tonks.” The history of New Orleans is also well covered.

Galatoire's was a popular restaurant of that day, as it has been since 1905. The guide book offers menu suggestions such as the Dinkelspiel salad. This was evidently a signature dish of Galatoire's, and is also mentioned in The Bachelor in New Orleans, written in 1942 by Robert Kinney. During Galatoire's 2005 anniversary year the salad was reintroduced. (A customer needed to ask for it because it was not on the regular menu.) Since the levee break at the end of August 2005, and Galatoire's subsequent re-opening on New Years Day, 2006, customers can once again order beloved Galatoire's foods. Inquire about the Dinkelspiel.

From the WPA 1938 article:

Galatoire's, 209 Bourbon St.; proprietors, Gabriel, Léon, and Justin Galatoire. Hours: 8 A.M to 10:30 P.M.; merchants' lunch, 11 A.M. to 2 P.M., 60¢; table d'hôte dinner, 5 to 8 P.M., $1; with small bottle of wine, $1.25. Reservations should be made for dinner parties; private dining rooms available.

Galatoire's excels in its Marguery sauce, served usually with filet de truite. The crab meat here is all hand-picked, and all the crab dishes are delicious, particularly crab meat au gratin. Dinkelspiel salad is a meal in itself, its base being crab meat, surrounded by many tempting hors d'oeuvres.