Menu of the Week: Atlantic City’s Marlborough-Blenheim, 1914

What was on the menu when one of the country’s most famous hotels hosted a lavish banquet?


Believe it or not, there was once a time when something called the Carriage Builders’ National Association existed.

You might not be familiar with the name Marlborough-Blenheim, but if you happened to find yourself in Atlantic City in the first several decades of the 20th century, you certainly would be. Also, if you’re a fan of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which returned for its newest season Sept. 8, you’ve certainly seen its lavish and ornate façade gracing both the opening credits and many other shots (it's doubled as The Ritz-Carlton, protagonist Nucky Thompson’s home and headquarters, on the show).

Opened in 1906, the hotel was the largest reinforced concrete building in the world, and immediately became an instantly recognizable landmark with its Moorish-inspired domes and chimneys. The huge hotel served as host to many conferences, festivals, and banquets, including the annual banquet for the Carriage Builders’ National Association. We were able to track down a menu for the dinner that was held there on Oct. 1, 1914 via the New York Public Library’s online archive.

The meal that evening started with fillet of sardines (a much classier dish back then than it is now), crabmeat cocktail, consommé, and radishes, olives, and celery. The fish course was Kennebec salmon with shrimp sauce and potatoes, followed by green pepper farcie, which were just peppers stuffed with ground beef and baked. Next came orange sorbet as a palate-cleanser, then roast chicken with chestnut dressing, peas, and potatoes Saratoga, what are we call potato chips today (it’s widely accepted that they were invented in Saratoga, N.Y.). Then came salad (it wasn’t uncommon for salad to be served after the main meal back then, as lettuce helps digestion), and finally a dessert of peach parfait with whipped cream and "fancy wafers." Quite a feast!

The Carriage Builders’ National Association is long gone, and unfortunately so is the Marlborough-Blenheim. It was demolished in the 1970s, and Bally’s Park Place now stands on that location. 

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