Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dining at J.L. Hudson's

I've eaten in some of Hudson's suburban mall restaurants when they still existed, but regrettably never in any of the flagship store's dining rooms or tea rooms.

In Hudson's early years, their restaurant was located on the 7th floor and was known as The Café.  In 1928 the 13th floor became home to three formal dining rooms - The Georgian Dining Room, The Early American Dining Room [reserved for non-smokers], and the Pine Room [which later became the Beef Emporium - a popular business men's luncheon spot]. 

Below is a 1929 Georgian Room lunch menu.   Tea was .20 cents for a single serving and .30 cents for two.  Among the selections were English Breakfast, Darjeeling and Orange Pekoe blends.

The Georgian Room

Davis Hillmer Collection, Courtesy of Detroit Historical Museum

A 1953 Restaurant Menu  

In 1958 the Georgian and Early American Rooms were combined to create the Riverview Dining Room with the ability to seat 450 guests

The Mezzanine Tea Room and Basement Tea Room opened in 1928.   In 1947 the Basement Tea Room transitioned to cafeteria-style dining.

In 1962, the elegant Mezzanine Tea Room converted to a buffet named Picadilly Circus.  The days of leisure lunches at tables covered with fresh linen cloths set with silver and fragile china became history.  July 1946 menu below.

Attempts to find archived photos of the Mezzanine Tea Room were unsuccessful, although a photo exists of the Mezzanine Soda Fountain which also opened in 1928 and was adjacent to the Mezzanine Tea Room.  

I purchased my first dishes with a J.L. Hudson back stamp in the summer of 2011.  The dealer said they were used in the tea room, but it's unverified.

The four silver-like pieces in the top row  below are made by International Silver Co. and are "silver soldered" [a metal alloy used for joining metal surfaces].  They are heavy and durable and bare marks of much use.  All pieces are back stamped J.L. Hudson Co. and were used in their dining establishments.  The bowl was used for ice cream, the cream pitchers are 1 1/2 oz. and 3 oz.   The tea pot wandered off to Texas before I purchased it and brought it back to Michigan [via E-bay]!   All of the flatware has the name Hudson's engraved on the handles either in front or on the back.  The earlier pieces are silver plate and the later pieces are stainless steel. 

The dishes below have the identical back stamp pictured above.  They're Royal Bayreuth, made in Germany, US Zone.   To date I've found the dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, berry bowl and cup and saucer.  The search continues! ;-)  These are said to have been used in Hudson's dining facilities too.

Tomorrow's post will continue on Hudson's eateries.


  1. Love seeing the dishes from J.L. Hudson's. What a nice coverage of their eateries.

  2. Love their china! I wonder if Hudson's became Dayton Hudson, which later became/joined with Target? Thanks for these fun posts.

  3. Oh my, how I enjoyed seeing your menus and the wonderful silver and china from "your" store! Lovely!

  4. I have found a 1941 menu from the J.L. Hudson's Dining Room. Didn't realize each day a new menu was printed. Sardine Sandwich for 40 cents...not sure it would have been my choice. lol

    Don Fabbri

  5. I have what I believe to be a complete set of the dishes in the last photo from Germany US zone. My mom got them as a wedding present and I inherited them from her. They are in wonderful condition. Like new.

  6. Is there any way to know the value of the tea pot alone? My husband purchased one at a yard sale for $1 and we were curious as to the value.


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