Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale was a Minneapolis institution: a pubby, oak-paneled supper club that did business at 701 Fourth Ave. S. from 1933 until 1982.
The Hennepin County Public Library has recently been reexamining the materials in its Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale Collection--nine boxes of Charlie's menus, advertisements, audiotapes of speeches given by the owners, and more. Check it out: Haute cuisine in 1933 was filet mignon with fresh mushrooms, served for just $1 a plate!
The place was named after the original proprietor, Charles Saunders. But the restaurant had a second, lesser-known partner, Charles Herlin, a bartender who died the year the restaurant opened and left behind a mystery.
In going through the archives, the library staff suggests that Herlin had a part in creating Minnesota's iconic Bootleg cocktail, as well as the exceedingly popular President, which Herlin claimed to make at a rate of 1,000 to 1,500 a day.
Many facts surrounding the President can't be nailed down, but we do have this: One version of the recipe. Mix it up for a taste of Minneapolis restaurant history.[jump]
Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale's President Cocktail, circa 1933 1 1/2 oz. gin 1 1/2 oz. lemon 1 1/2 oz. orange a dash of Grenadine Stir with ice
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