What Red Lobster's Menu Looked Like In The 1970s

Red Lobster has been serving up lobster and other seafood delights across the continental United States since 1968, but their menu hasn't always included the now-iconic Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Endless Shrimp offerings. While of course lobster was always on the menu, the Red Lobster menu looked staggeringly different than what we are used to. 

In the subreddit Vintage Ads, one user uploaded a scanned copy of a Red Lobster menu from the 1970's, which includes lots of menu items we wouldn't see today, but maybe most shocking are the prices. A rock lobster tail is offered for just $6.99, New York strip steak for $4.99, and an entrèe of steak and crab-stuffed shrimp was only $5.19. While these prices first appear to be surprisingly low by modern standards, it's important to factor in inflation. According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, $1 in 1973 is equivalent to $6.83 50 years later. That means these menu items would actually clock in at $47.76, $34.09, and $35.09 today, so Red Lobster was never a cheap night out by any means. 

The food offerings looked very, very different

Some things have always been there for us, like surf and turf, though then it went by a different name on the menu, simply "Steak &...." But other items on the '70s menu have fallen by the wayside in more recent iterations. We were tickled to see the very retro offering of shrimp and crab "Louie," which was served on a bed of lettuce with Louie (or Louis) dressing, which likely consisted of some combination of mayo, herbs, lemon, and possibly horseradish, relish, and Worcestershire sauce. The children's section also includes a fried oyster and flounder option, foods that are scarcely offered to little ones today. 

The menu did include the much-loved popcorn shrimp, which Red Lobster invented in 1974, and is still enjoyed to this day. Also of note is what is absent from the menu. Wondering where the Cheddar Bay Biscuits are? Those didn't make their debut until about 20 years later in 1992. The current Red Lobster menu still offers plenty of these menu items, though they likely have different names — after all, "cold broiled shrimp" doesn't have much of a ring to it, and have been slightly altered to suit modern tastes (you might see a little less Louie dressing and cocktail sauce today).