The following reader commentary, published in the Minneapolis Star on Feb. 13, 1968, is perhaps my favorite restaurant-related Letter to the Editor of all time.
The subject? A liquor license application for the 12th-floor restaurants at Dayton's in downtown Minneapolis – the Oak Grill (pictured, above, in a 2007 Star Tribune file photo) and the Skyroom -- and the ire it created among the members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Ironically, it's Dayton's, the city's No. 1 department store, that's following Donaldson's, the perennial also-ran, in the chardonnay-at-lunch trend.
The letter was written by Vera Cole of St. Louis Park, secretary of the union’s 5th District.
"We the women of the 5th District of the WCTU numbering 700 members strong protest the granting of the license allowing the serving of alcoholic beverages in Dayton’s Sky Room and Oak Room [sic]. Our organization is banded together for the protection of the home, and the triumph of Christ’s golden rule in custom and law. A liquor establishment is bad enough by itself, but Dayton’s is a family store where entire families go to shop, and must have this influence set before them. Donaldson’s has set the precedent; now Dayton’s, and if other stores follow, what is left for the many fine families who do not care to subject their young people to such an atmosphere?"
Can you imagine what Ms. Cole would have made of Sunday retail liquor sales?