Marshall Field’s

State Street, between Randolph and Washington

Most widely known and elegant of the shopper’s tea rooms on State Street is the Narcissus Fountain Room,* on the seventh floor of the world-famed Marshall Field and Company department store.  In decoration, atmosphere, service, and foods, it is on par with any dining room of a first-class Michigan Avenue or Gold Coast hotel.  Chamber music is featured here between 3 P.M. and 5 P.M., and a special menu replete with sandwiches, salads, beverages, and desserts is offered the tired shopper.  Half an hour spent in such surroundings, and with the stimulation of a light and most carefully prepared snack, and you are refreshed and ready again for another round of shopping.  An excellent $1.00 table d’hote luncheon is also offered here and there is à la carte service at all hours.  The special afternoon tea luncheon is 50 cents.

Six tea and grill rooms occupy the entire seventh floor of this great Chicago mercantile establishment.  In the Walnut Grill, beautifully decorated in Circassian walnut, breakfast is offered, both club and à la carte, from 9 A.M. until 11 A.M.  Table d’hote luncheons are also featured here at $1.25 and $1.50 the plate.  Here, too, you may find the special afternoon tea luncheon, as in the Narcissus Fountain Room.  There is no music in the Walnut Grill.

The Colonial Tea Room and the Mission Grill are for the convenience of the shopper whose time is limited.  A menu is offered which can be quickly and attractively served.  Table d’hote luncheons are served in both rooms at 75 and 85 cents, and $1.00 the plate.  Oldest of the tea rooms is the Colonial Room, on the Wabash Avenue Side, and this is the only room in which smoking is not permitted.  The atmosphere is conservative and many feminine members of the pioneer first families of the city foregather here for luncheon or afternoon tea.  Prices are the same as in the other rooms.  The Wedgewood Room, decorated in the Adam period and replete with bric-a-brac of the famous potter’s design, is reserved for private parties or banquets.

The famed potato flour muffin, originated many years ago in the Marshall Field kitchens, may be obtained in all of the tea rooms and grills.  Nowhere else can you get a muffin like this; it is an epicurian thrill of the highest order.  Another original feature of the Marshall Field tea rooms is the child’s luncheon—a balanced menu for children under twelve, served on gaily decorated china in the Walnut, Narcissus and Crystal Rooms.**  There are combination plate luncheons (reduced portions) for 50, 65 and 75 cents.

For the Men’s Grill, you must go across Washington Street to the sixth floor of the Marshall Field’s Store for Men.  It is a beautiful and impressive room, with a Tiffany fountain at its center.  There are many circular, leather-upholstered booths, which afford pleasant nooks for business luncheon-conferences.  Luncheon may be had here from 75 cents to $1.50, or à la carte.  It is usually crowded at noon with prominent business executives, physicians, and other professional men from surrounding office buildings.

* I couldn’t be sure where on the seventh floor several of the restaurants were. The woman at the Visitor Information counter wasn’t sure. (“I’ve only been here 26 years,” she said, a quote that would sound sarcastic were it not from an employee of a store that proudly displays a plaque of workers who have been there 50 years or more.) Rather than guess at which restaurant is now the gourmet food court and which is a kiosk selling Frango mints, I just included photos of locations I could be sure of.

** Metromix alluded to the Crystal Palace in their review of the Frango Cafe, but I’m not sure if they were comparing it in location or in that they both were the spots for desserts of their respective eras.

What’s there now

A view that makes Chicagoans sad (i.e., the new, New York-based corporate owners)

The Walnut Grill

The Narcissus Fountain Room

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  1. […] (the Hollywood one, of course). Thanks for the info Restaurant-ing Through History! According to The Restaurant Project, in 1931–about the time of this postcard, 1933–luncheon cost […]

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