Friday, July 24, 2015

Eating in & dining out: Dalmatian-run grill rooms of the 1940s

Currently on the second floor of the Central Library we have a display titled Eating in & dining out. Subjects covered include: celebrity chefs, coffee lounges, cookery books, dinner parties, grill rooms, takeaways and yuppie dining. It’s great fun so pop up and reminisce if you’re nearby.

The 1940s were boom times for Auckland’s Dalmatian-run grill room restaurants, especially after US soldiers, sailors and nurses arrived in June 1942 - there were six grill rooms on Victoria Street West alone (Clarich, Jelich, Kosovitch, Lipanovich, Makovina and Urlich) and a further 20 in the central city. The Americans came for R and R after fighting in the Pacific, for medical attention, and for training. For the next two years about 50,000 American servicemen and women were in the country at any one time. They were often paid twice as much as local wages, and had three out of every four days free.