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 June 06, 2015
“We serve soup to nuts” (restaurant joke)

“From soup to nuts” is an old expression meaning everything, from beginning (soup) to end (nuts). “Nuts,” however, is also slang for “crazy,” prompting this 1935 joke:

Customer in restaurant: “Do you serve everything from soup to nuts?”
Waiter: “Yes, we serve soup to nuts like you.”


There are several variations of the joke. “This is just like having dinner in an insane asylum. That’s where they serve soup to nuts” was cited in 1960.


Google Books
June 1935, Boys’ Life, ‘Think and Grin,” pg. 36, col. 3:
CUSTOMER IN RESTAURANT: Do you serve everything from soup to nuts?
WAITER: Yes, we serve soup to nuts.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
6 June 1935, Washington County Post (North White Creek,NY), “Tattle Tales,” pg. 6, col. 4:
Customer in restaurant: “Do you serve everything from soup to nuts?”
Waiter: “Yes, we serve soup to nuts like you.”

15 December 1935, Illinois State Journal (Springfield, IL), pg. 12, col. 1:
Customer: “Do you serve everything from soup to nuts?”
Waiter: “Yes, we serve soup to nuts.”
-- Richard Owen, Girard.

Google Books
Toastmaster’s Treasury:
A Complete Guide for the Toastmaster, Master of Ceremonies, and Program Chairman

By Edward L. Friedman
New York, NY: Harper & Row
1960
Pg. 67:
Insane Asylum— This is just like having dinner in an insane asylum. That’s where they serve soup to nuts.

Google Books
Jokes, Puns, and rRddles
By David Allen Clark
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1968
Pg. 185:
Mr. Mutton: Where do you usually dine?
Mr. Glutton : Oh, I always eat in restaurants where they serve soup to nuts.

7 December 1969, Boston (MA) Sunday Advertiser, pg. 86, col. 5:
Graffiti by Leary
Lots of readers were so tickled by one the other day you see the panel cartoon displayed all over town. It said: AT ALICE’S RESTAURANT THEY SERVE COUP TO NUTS.

3 February 1970, Evansville (IN) Courier, “Scram-lets,” pg. 16, col. 4:
A screwball: He always eats in restaurants where they serve SOUP to NUTS.

Google Books
The Giant Book of Insults:
Incorporating 2000 Insults for All Occasions and 2000 More Insults

By Louis A. Safian
Secaucus, N.J: Citadel Press
1967
Pg. 175:
He always eats in restaurants where they serve soup to nuts.

Google Books
696 Silly School Jokes & Riddles
By Joseph Rosenbloom
New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
2003
Pg. 65:
My school cafeteria is a place where they serve soup to nuts.

Twitter
Oakwood Cafe
‏@OAKWOODCAFE
A regular customer asked for a bowl of #Borscht and said she was feeling a little crazy.  No problem because we serve soup to nuts. #jokes
6:53 PM - 13 Nov 2012

Twitter
FひckDaWrld™
‏@Eddiecambria_
Did you hear about the kitchen in the mental institution ? They serve soup to nuts
5:26 PM - 10 Mar 2013

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Saturday, June 06, 2015 • Permalink