the seven large restaurants supplied by the Main kitchen of the
Bailey Catering Company there were numerous smaller and specialized
eateries preparing and serving food for expositon visitors and workers.
The more expensive establishments were located in such areas as
the Pergolas and the Electric tower. Ethnic foods could be found
throughout the Midway, and even the Indian Congress Restaurant boasted
a "First class meal and all kinds of refreshments." Exposition
visitors were not limited to dining on the grounds proper as many
Buffalo establishments promoted and advertized their restaurants
as viable alternatives to the often overpriced meals found on the
Pan-American grounds. This section exhibits some of the restaurants
and food choices available to Exposition-goers. In addition, the
Menus and Advertisements section allows viewers
to compare food prices at the exposition to the annual income/expenditures
of families of the period.
on the Midway
crude poem appeared in the Journal of American Industries 3,
no. 9 (February 1901) and was followed by a description of the Pabst
concession. Graced with colored lights and 150 x 10, the restaurant
cost over $30,000 to build and employed upwards of 100 people. Mueller
and his family were veterans of other fairs and he was assisted at Buffalo
by his three sons.
on the Midway -- Frtiz Mueller the Host
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
the sad tourist is tired out with sights,
When he is thirsty and needs rest, by rights
There's Pabst on the Midway, with Fritz in command;
Step over and see him and get the glad hand!
Eat, drink, and be merry. Forget every care.
Have a good time as long as you're there!
big exposition will tire out the best
And all will need a place they can sit down and rest
And sip a good beverage such as Pabst makes
And Mueller dispenses. Such a place takes!
Yes, Pabst on the Midway is just the right thing.
Here say me "Gesundheit." Pabst's praises we'll sing.
See the Pabst Restaurant Menu.
See also, Uncle Hank's experience at the
Advice on How to Get the Most From An Exposition Meal
the Everybody's Magazine special Pan-American issue, Mary
Bronson Hartt offered the following advice to the thrifty:
of dinner at the Pan-American is one of grave importance. If you
are careless of expense it is easy to be happy; you dine at
Alt Nürnberg, or up in
the Tower, or at the American
Inn. But if you want your money for something more lasting
than viands the case is complicated.
two fifty-cent dinners offered on the grounds: one at the restaurant
beside the Philippine Village, the
other in the Dairy Building. There
is even a thirty-five-cent dinner to be had beside the East Amherst
gate. For this I cannot vouch. In general the low-priced places
furnish as good service and as desirable a menu as would be expected
with Pan-American prices prevailing at the markets.
Nebraska Sod House
Nebraska Sod House
used to be an exception. It furnished, and still furnishes for that
matter, a meal of fricasseed chicken, coffee, and bread and butter
for thirty cents. And it was good. But unfortunately everybody knows
about the Sod House now, and unless you go at eleven o'clock in
the morning it is always full and closed. The Rice
Kitchen is another reasonable place, but too popular for
There is a
moderate-priced restaurant with entrance from the street in Fair
Japan. " Streets of Mexico"
serves both native tamales and chili con carne and American
food well cooked, at prices below that of the dearest places. Sandwiches
and such unstaying trifles can be had at lunch counters everywhere,
but they are not cheaper than more substantial dishes -- that is,
if you buy enough to sustain life.
of the Exposition get their most substantial meal at noon at one
of the cheaper places, and sup lightly at Alt
Nürnberg to the music of the fine band or up on the
colonnade of the Electric Tower with
the whole sunlit spectacle spread out before them."
Hartt, "How to See the Pan-American Exposition," Everybody's
Magazine, v. 5, no. 26 (October 1901): 488-491.
Note: Images did not appear in the original Hartt article and have
been compiled from various sources.
Kitchen of Bailey Catering Company,
Enormous In Every Way
Exposition's main kitchen was located in the northwest corner of the Pan-American
grounds, near the Midway. In the "Maps to the Essentials" section,
see Major Restaurants on the Exposition Grounds
to find the location of the Main Kitchen (section A-3) in relation to
the larger dining facilities. A more detailed map of the Softdrink
Vendors, Restaurants and Toilets Located on the Exposition Grounds
shows many of the smaller restaurants and refreshment stands.
The main kitchen's design is described in this Buffalo Courier
article of 7 March 1900:
work was begun this morning at the Pan-American grounds on the immense
kitchen upon which will devolve the task of preparing food for the
millions of people who will visit the Exposition next summer.
The plan is
to have the Kitchen apart from the restaurants which it will purvey
for, in order that the odors of the flower beds may have a chance
against the redolent tornadoes of cooking smells that are bound
to escape form the pie-foundry that is to be built with a capacity
of 50,000 pies of these pastries every day, and which will enthrone
Buffalo for one season at least, as Queen of the Pie Belt. It is
deemed wise, too, to have the roaring furnaces that will furnish
power in the manufacture of eatables apart from the Exposition buildings.
For these reasons
the Kitchen, the size of which entitles it to be pronounced with
a capital initial, is being built in the north side of the grounds
near the power house. . . When the north wind blows the aroma of
the baking Boston beans will be wafted through the Beautiful
Orient and Dreamland. At other
times they will regale firemen in the firehouse.
will be 200 hundred feet long, 150 deep and two stories high. It
will be devoted exclusively to cooking with the exception of rooms
in the second story, which will be set apart for the chef and scullions.
Kitchen is not designed as an exhibit, it will be open on all three
sides for inspection. To this end the lower story will consist largely
of windows, through which visitors may watch the odorous transformation
of strange substances into mince pie.
It has not
been decided yet how to get over the difficulty of serving hot meals
in the restaurants that top the kitchen when the institution will
be nearly a half mile away. The problem is one that involves rapid
transit. A system of overhead trolley lines similar in principle
to that used for transactions of cash in department stores has been
considered seriously. The plan provides for large baskets mounted
upon trolley wheels. One strong objection is the birds of the air,
who might levy toll upon the baskets en route. The gravity of the
danger will be realized when it is stated that the feathered population
of the grounds will be reinforced next summer with 500 more pigeons
direct from Venice."
of an Enquirer article of 28 March 1900 add some details:
The kitchen is a long, two-story affair lying behind large
square buildings which will screen it from ordinary sight. Visitors
will be welcome, however, large giant windows and convenient platforms
being provided of a view of operations within. It's size is 250 x
On the west
end is a large bakery, with two immense ovens, capable of baking
1,000 loaves of bread every hour. These ovens rotate and have swinging
shelves like the cars on the Ferris wheel. Cake, crackers, or cookies
may be baked instead of bread. North of the bakery is a laundry
for table linen, and east of that an ice cream room. Next is a store
room and then a wine room, which is supplemented across the walk
by a deep recess, fitted with a complete refrigerating plant for
beer and wine. On the south side are a butcher shop, a room for
vegetables and fish, one for butter and eggs, one for grocer's supplies,
a cold storage box and an immense receiving space, 50 x 75 for stores
View from Gates
there are eight lunch rooms in various convenient places. The most
popular will probably be those in the Pergolas,
each seating 600 persons. These will be open with a view to the
Esplanade to the north and to the south
over the triumphal bridge to the State
buildings. Another delightful dinning room will be in the Temple
There will be sandwiches, ice cream, and
cake and similar light refreshments.
The company is counting on an average of 50,000 meals a day from
the start. They can take care of 100,000 in a pinch. There are to
be 6,000 chairs. The big rush, however, will not come until after
the Fourth of July.
An exclusive restaurant was located in the
Room for Employees
the offices for officials, a large dining room for employees, of
which there will be about 1,000
the paymaster's room and
twenty-eight sleeping rooms for officials and cooks.
will supply the seven large restaurants. There are four in the main
buildings, two on the stadium side and two on the opposite side,
each capable of seating 750 persons. One in the northwest corner
will accommodate 700 and one in the Dairy
building 250. The most exclusive, both in price and quality,
as well as in location, will be the electric
tower, overlooking the great fountain and the main feature
of the Expo. The prices here will be about those charged at first
class cafes. "
Note: Images did not appear in the original Courier or Enquirer
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Waiters and Waitresses Wanted!
restaurants on the grounds of the Exposition, and in Buffalo, presented
good employment opportunities for waiters and waitresses. From as far
away as Chicago they came. Some came so early they arrived before employment
The Enquirer of 1 March 1901 described this problem:
estimated that something like 300 bartenders and waiters are in
Buffalo unable to find work. They have come here in an anticipation
of the Pan-American Exposition.
the country many are making their way toward the city -- they will
arrive in time to discover what a cold place a beautiful city with
a glorious exposition can be just in the heyday of its marvelous
summer until the visitor has the wherewithal to satisfy the lunch
counters or an acquaintance with the Director-General.
in seeking help are giving preference to home men. They will continue
to do so, and though there will be a demand for extra labor after
May 1st, the material to satisfy it will be way in excess of demand.
have issued warnings to the waiters and bartenders stating that
they will make a big mistake by getting here before May or June,
and that if they continue to arrive in the next three months, as
they have of late, hundreds of them will be walking the streets
hungry and homeless."
there was some effort to organize cooks and waiters, as reported
in the Enquirer of 12 March 1901:
The organization, it is said, contemplates demanding $100 a
month as a minimum for all good cooks or persons employed as
head cooks. The minimum salary for waiters is said to be fixed
at $2 a day. "
A Few Restaurant Menus and Advertisements
menu (click on the image) is that of the American
Inn, one of the hotels located in the immediate vicinity of the
Exposition grounds. The second is a menu of the luncheon held for President
William McKinley during his visit to the Pan-American. This luncheon was
held in the New York State Building on September 5, 1901, the day before
the president was shot in the Temple of Music.
adverstisement appeared in the Historical Biography and Libretto
of the Indian Congress, compiled by Frederick T. Cummins,
Move on to
Experiences of "Uncle Hank"
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