U.S., Amtrak History: 1972 Dinner Menu Offered Shrimp Appetizer, Roast Rib-Eye of Beef, and Baked Florida Grapefruit, Plus Cold Duck

By J. Bruce Richardson, Corridor Rail Development Corporation; December 28, 2020

At the tender age of just over six months, Amtrak was still offering dinner menus reflecting the menus of the private railroad passenger train operators it replaced. The January 1972 Amtrak dinner menu, from a time when all passengers were cheerfully welcomed into the dining car:

May We Suggest A Cocktail?

Cocktails, Beer, and Cordials are available with your Meal at a Nominal Cost. Please ask for our Cocktail List.

Whets and Broths

• Chilled Popular Juices; 25 cents
• Melon – Season’s Best; 50 cents
• Fresh Fruit Cocktail with Refreshing Sherbet; 90 cents
• Pink Tender Shrimp with Zesty Cocktail Sauce; $1.70
• Bismarck Herring in Cream with Sliced Apple; $1.10
• French Onion Soup Marsaille; 35 cents
• Soup of the Day; 35 cents
• Consomme (Hot or Jellied); 35 cents

Special Sandwiches

• Sliced Turkey; $1.20
• Grilled Cheese; 85 cents
• Ham and Swiss Cheese; $1.00
• Amtrak Special Club; $1.60
• Sliced Roast Beef; $1.10
• Lettuce and Tomato; 90 cents

All Sandwiches Garnished with Potato Chips and Pickles

Beef at its Best

Roast Rib-Eye of Beef, Served with Natural Juices
Baked Potato or Whipped Potatoes or French Fried Potatoes
Amtrak Salad, Bread, butter
Choice of Beverage

Daily Parade of Entrees

• Baked Half Spring Chicken with Country Gravy; $2.20
• Ham Omelete – Currant Jelly; $2.45
• Braised Smoked Pork Loin with Sauerkraut; $2.70
• Braised Swiss Steak with Garden Vegetables; $2.50
• Braised Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Caps; $5.75
• Seafood Newburg with Rice Pilaf; $4.80

Baked Potato or Whipped Potatoes or French Fried Potatoes
Vegetable of the Day
Served with Our Amtrak Mixed Green Salad with your Choice of French or Thousand Island Dressing or Vinegar and Oil
Bran Muffin or Hot Dinner Rolls or Assorted Bread

Selected Domestic Wines and Champagne are available for your Dining Enjoyment.
White Wine … Red Wine … Rose Wine … Cold Duck … or Champagne, $2.00 (Half Bottle)

Dessert Specials – Sweets and Fruits

• Strawberry Shortcake; 85 cents
• Apple Pie and Cheddar Cheese; 65 cents
• Peach Melba; 85 cents
• Lemon Sherbet; 35 cents
• Baked Florida Grapefruit; 50 cents
• Selected Cheese with Saltines; 90 cents


Coffee, Sanka, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Buttermilk or Milk; 35 cents

With notes at the bottom of the menu: “When You Travel – Ride Amtrak,” “Your comments and suggestions about our dining service will be greatly appreciated. Address: Manager, Catering Services, National Railroad Passenger Corporation, 995 L’Enfant Plaza, North, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024,” “It has been our pleasure to prepare this repast for your enjoyment.”

Different railroads had different ways of spelling “omelette,” but just about every menu had an omelette choice, be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Omelettes seemed to have been an important part of the American diet, but they have now mostly disappeared from menus. Why? This may have been a result of the former “war on eggs” waged over the last 30 years when we first were told eggs were bad for our health (cholesterol), then we were told again that, after further careful study, eggs were good for us. While many of us never stopped eating eggs, certainly the food service industry changed its ways, and chefs and menu planners simply omitted omelettes from their offerings. Here’s hope the prevalence omelettes makes a comeback.

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