Shore Dinner

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Oct 19 13:11:45 UTC 2000

   OED and Mariani both cited the 1890s for "shore dinner."  I know you wags.
 None of this, "Yep, that's shore dinner."
   From THE RESTAURANT MAN, June 1929, pg. 21, col. 1:

_Villepigue Inn_
   THE shore dinner is an Atlantic Coast institution (DARE?--ed.) which
thrives chiefly at this time of year.  It may be found in various places
along the coast, but its natural habitat is Sheepshead Bay, nearConey
Island,where it wassaid to have been originated about forty years ago by the
late James Villepigue.  Sheepshead Bay is fairly dotted with restaurants
serving shore dinners, but the most famous is Villepigue Inn, now operated by
the widow of the founder.
   (Col. 3--ed.)
   A good shore dinner always includes steamed clams, broiled lobster and
crab meat.
   (Pg. 54, col. 3--ed.)
   "Big Jim" Villepigue began hiscatering careerearly in his life as a
concessionaire at MadisonSquareGarden during the horse shows andat the
SheepsheadBay race track.  He was a gigantic figure, weighing nearly 350
pounds--suggesting "Big Jim"--and a genial soul who felt equally at home
among the social leaders andsporting celebrities.  He hobnobbed with both.
Those were the dayswhen dining was an art and Mr. Villepigue spent much
thought in devising newways of beguiling the appetite.  He hit upon a
combination which he called a shore dinner, consisting of lettuce and tomato
salad, clam chowder and lobsters, varying this menu at times with either
chicken or deviled crab.  This, together with dessert, cost $1.50, a high
figure in those days.
   He looked about for a little restaurant where he could feature that
menuandfound his opportunity by pruchasing Tappan's,and itwas here that his
wife started her restaurant career and assisted her husband in gaining his
world wide reputation.  He sold his concessions to Harry Stevens, now famous
as the "hot go king of America," with concessions in most of the major league
ball parks and race tracks extending from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to Tia
Juana in Mexico.

(For those wondering about Harry Stevens, THE RESTAURANT MAN did a profile of
him this year--the article was in the Tamony file--with the TAD origin

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