May 24, 2022

Yummy! The New York Public is Digitizing Their Collection of Historic NYC Restaurant Menus

From an Article by Jeremy Olshan, New York Post:

While most New Yorkers keep just a few dozen restaurant menus in a kitchen drawer, the library has more than 40,000 in its stacks, listing eats ranging from the 1843 fare at the Astor House to the 2010 offerings at Chipotle.

“It’s a record of what people actually ate,” said Rebecca Federman, the culinary collection’s librarian. “It began in 1900 and is now part of our rare-books division because it is such a unique, ephemeral collection.”

But since these menus, like most of the rare books, are not available for takeout, the library is working to digitize the collection and this spring will enlist volunteers’ help in transcribing each dish on the scanned pages so that the database can be indexed.

“With the public’s help, we’ll be able to generate an amazing, searchable database, where you can visualize neighborhood restaurants and prices of dishes over time,” said Ben Vershbow, the project’s digital producer.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: The Los Angeles Public Library Offers an Online Searchable Database of Digitized Historic Menus From In and Around LA.
Access the Database

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.