A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 26, 2015
Slaughter in the Pan (beefsteak)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Chronicling America
5 March 1887, Lancaster (PA) Daily Intelligencer, pg. 3, col.
Specimens of Slang.
From the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
Men who write books about slangmight find material in some restaurants. In Kansas City there is an abundance of it. Only in one place in St. Louis—on Morgan street—can you hear downright slang in the giving of orders, and curious it is. If you tell the waiter you want an oyster stew, he shouts out to the kitchen, “Jesse James!” A beefsteak becomes “slaughter in the pan;” plain, black coffee is “coffee in the dark;” potatoes unpeeled are “Murphy with his coat on;” two fried eggs on one side are transformed into “sunny side up;” buckwheat cakes are spoken of in gambler fashion as “stack of reds with copper on top,” and butter cakes as “stack of whites.”

Brooklyn Newsstand
3 July 1887, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Restaurant Calls,” pg. 13, col. 1:
“One slaughter on the pan,” is a porter house steak.

2 October 1887, Daily State Register (Springfield, IL), pg. 3, col. 6:
Force of Habit.
Foreign Count (at breakfast on wedding tour)—Ish de menu satisfactory, my lofer?
Bride (sweetly)—Thank you, Alberto, it is all that I could wish. But, if you please, you may ask the waiter to bring me a cup of coffee and a small steak.
Foreign Count (absent mindedly, in stentorian voice)—Slaughter in the pan! Draw one!—Chicago Tribune.

3 March 1889, The Leader and Herald (Cleveland, OH), “The Theaters,” pg. 11, col. 4:
Herbert Kelsey, the aesthetic leading man of the New York Lyceum Company, rarely goes tp a resort or a restaurant. The other evening he was out late, and, feeling hungry, stepped into a Sixth avenue eating house and called for a steak, baked potates, and two eggs, fried only on one side. The waiter, knowing his customer, sang out: “Slaughter in the pan, two Murphies wid der coats on, and two white wings with the sunny side up.” Mr. Kelsey lost his appetite and was taken home in a hansom.—Philadelphia Telegraph.

11 March 1894, New-York (NY) Daily Tribune, pg. 16, col. 4:
“CHICAGO AND BOSTON.”
SOME QUEER TECHNICAL TERMS.
“Chicago and Boston! Draw one!” yelled the waiter in a Bowery restaurant, and the farmer from Delaware COunty, who had wandered into the place and had ordered pork and beans and coffee, opened his eyes wide with astonishment.
(...)
The waiter had struck an attitude of majestic repose for a minute in front of a table where two men sat, and then he had shouted: “Slaughter in the pan! Make it two! Let the murphies come with their jackets on!”

The men had wanted rare beefsteaks, with boiled potatoes, and in that restaurant the customers have to take the skins off potatoes which are boiled.

Chronicling America
5 December 1896, Topeka (KS) State Journal, pg. 6, col. 4:
EPIGRAMMATIC SLANG.
Phrases That Are Common In Cheap New York Restaurants.
[Special Correspondence.]
(...)
A fried beefsteak with onions is designated by this rather startling formula: “Slaughter in the pan. Shipwreck it.”
(...)
E. W. POTTER.

Posted by Barry Popik
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 • Permalink