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When Oysters Were Eggs: Dining Out in 1879

December 21, 2016

Some staple foods were in short supply in the early years of British Columbia history, but  you could count on finding liquor to suit your taste and fresh roasted coffee.

Some restaurant ads from 1879 indicate a plentiful supply of meats and oysters, any style, but, going by prices, a shortage of eggs.

At A. Tenase’s Coffee Saloon and Restaurant, patrons could have “Two kinds of Meat, with Vegetable Soup and Dessert” for-25 cents. but had to check their pockets when tempted by “Ham & Eggs” at 37 cents.

Any and all.restaurants had oysters on hand, served any style and at any hour.

Many eating places operated on demand, and you could always find a meal. Tenase, as well as Sam and Hannah Herring of the Palace Restaurant, advertised meals available 24 hours.

The classiest place to dine on the lower Mainland was Pons Arnaud’s Colonial Hotel.

Of the three Menus shown here one diner was run by A. Tenase, who we think could be Alex Tenase, a First Nations man, one by two Pennsylvania Dutch Americans, the Herrings, and one by the Chinese, Moy Ging.


1879-08-a-tenase-coffee-saloonCoffee Saloon
In rear of Macdonald’s Saloon,
Mackenzie Street
Meals At All Hours
Breakfast –
Mutton Chops, Beef Steak – 25 cts.
Ham and Eggs – 37 cts.
Dinner –
Two kinds of Meat, with Vegetable Soup and Dessert – 25 cts.
Supper –
Tea or Coffee with Chops or Steak – 25 cts
Cup of Tea or Coffee – 10 cts
1879-09-06-fresh-oysters-a-tenases-restaurantCup of Tea or Coffee with Pie, or Bread and. Butter – 15 cts.
Oysters in every known style.
Board, from $4 to $5 per week.
Terms Strictly Cash
A. Tenase, Proprietor.

Samuel and Hannah Herring


Palace Restaurant – The sketched oysters are rather unusual in a newspaper advertisement.

Palace Restaurant
Oyster Saloon!
Front St., Opposite Ferry Landing
Olympia and Mud Bay Oysters in Every Style
Open Day and Night
Private Rooms for Ladies
Every kind of Refreshments and liquors.
Board per week $5.00.
Single meals 50 cents
Restaurant conducted in the European Style
Culinary department under the Supervision of Mrs Herring.
SW Herring, Proprietor.

Moy Ging

1880-08-yuet-wah-bakery-restaurant-moy-ging-propThe Yuet Wah
Bakery, Restaurant and Oyster Saloon.
Armstrong ‘s Building, Front Street
Meals 25 cents
Board per week $4.00
Moy Ging, Proprietor.


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