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 20, 2015
Stars and Stripes (pork and beans nickname)

"Stars and stripes” is 19th century American restaurant slang for the very common dish of “pork and beans.” “Hears his neighbor’s order for pork and beans transformed into ‘stars and stripes’” was cited in the Scribner’s Monthly article titled “The American Restaurant” in 1873. The “stars and stripes” term for pork and beans was rarely used after 1910.

“West Broadway” is another 19th century slang term for pork and beans that was popularly used in New York City.


30 December 1873, National Republican (Washington, DC), “The American Restaurant” (Scribner’s Monthly), pg. 1, col. 6:
When in a second-rate restaurant a guest asks for fishballs and hears his order repeated to the cook by the colored waiter as “sleeve-buttons for one!” and hears his neighbor’s order for pork and beans transformed into “stars and stripes,” he begins to wonder, indeed, whether “civilization” is not “a failure,” and whether “the Caucasian” is not “played out.”

23 February 1874, The Daily Inter-Ocean (Chicago, IL), pg. 4, col. 6:
We can beat that in Chicago, for, at a certain fashionable lunch room, the ancient and honorable name of “pork and beans” is translated into “stars and stripes;” and the poetical chef regales the ears of his customers with “Sam Handwiches for two.”

7 March 1874, Pomeroy’s Democrat (New York, NY), “Eating House Slang.” pg. 2:
“Then there’s pork and beans which am ‘Stars and Stripes,’ ‘West Broadway,’ or ‘One Day Ahead.’”

Chronicling America
11 October 1886, Springfield (OH) Globe-Republic, “Restaurant Lingo,” pg. 2, col. 7:
West Broadway’ means pork and beans and ‘have her brown an’ extra brown’ signifies that the beans are to be well warmed over.
(...)
Order ‘stars and stripes’ and you’ll get pork and beans.
(...)
-- New York Commercial Advertiser.

19 November 1886, Wheeling (WV) Daily Register, “Lingo of a Cheap Restaurant,” pg. 3, col. 2:
Pork and beans are sometimes called for as “stars and stripes,” but the more common formula in Chicago is “mut. up one.”
(...)
--Chicago Herald.

Brooklyn Newsstand
3 July 1887, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Restaurant Calls,” pg. 13, col. 1:
“Stars and stripes are pork and beans. This term also applies to bacon.

Chronicling America
31 August 1887, The True Norther (Paw Paw, MI), “Restaurant Calls,” pg. 3, col. 5:
“Stars and stripes are pork and beans. This term also applies to bacon.

19 April 1888, Pittsburg (TX) Gazette, “Jargon of a Chop House,” pg. 4, col. 3:
That “Stars and Stripes” meant pork and beans.
(...)
-- New York Herald.

Chronicling America
5 December 1888, The Evening World (New York, NY), “Cheap Restaurant Slang” (from the Omaha Herald), pg. 2, col. 5:
The delicacy of frogs legs is known by the name of ‘song and dance men without a body,’ and that evidence of Boston culture, pork and beans, calls for the patriotic synonym, ‘stars and stripes.’

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
27 July 1891, The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), pg. 3, col. 3:
PRETTY GiRLS IN CAMP.
They Enjoy Eating “the Stars and Stripes.”
IN OTHER WORDS, PORK AND BEANS.

3 November 1891, The Evening Repository (Canton, OH), pg. 5, col. 3:
RESTAURANT WAITERS’ SLANG.
(...)
Stars and stripes means a plate of pork and beans.

Google Books
The Thorough Good Cook:
A Series of Chats on the Culinary Art, and Nine Hundred Recipes

By George Augustus Sala
New York, NY: Brentano’s
1896
Pg. 9:
At a restaurant a truly patriotic American—and what American is not patriotic?—never calls for pork and beans: he orders “Stars and Stripes.”

22 March 1898, Cleveland (OH) Leader, “Random Comment,” pg. 4, col. 5:
New York’s best-tipped waiter is one who looks exactly like Brother Jonathan made famous by cartoonists. It is quite a picture when he comes on with an order of stars and stripes, which in the waiter’svernacular is pork and beans.

7 May 1900, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, “Conundrum Supper,” pg. 7:
The “stars and stripes,” resolved in to the unpoetical “pork and beans.”

3 July 1905, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), “To Be a Great Frolic,” pg. 2, col. 1:
He tackled “bread scouce,” “soup and bully,” “salt horse,” (ship’s corned beef,) “plum duff,” “long tail sweetening,” (molasses,) and “stars and stripes.” (pork and beans).

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Thursday, August 20, 2015 • Permalink