Food tours are all the rage, from street food tours to ethnic and neighborhood food tours – but the latest one doesn’t involve any eating.
Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx will introduce a food-related walking tour of noteworthy New York City’s food figures later this month.
Herman Ossian Armour, a member of the meatpacking family whose name is linked to hot dogs, rests at the same cemetery as mustard man Charles Gulden. Woodlawn is also home to Pepperidge Farm’s founder Margaret Rudkin and condensed milk inventor Gail Borden.
Only one of Woodlawn’s food figures has proven much of draw across the decades: Jeremiah P. Thomas, a pioneering bartender who published a seminal guide on mixed drinks in 1862 and worked at a saloon located below Barnum’s American Museum. Bartenders from all over still trek to his grave and make cocktails there in tribute to their hero.
“That’s one of the most fun parts about working here,” Ms. Olsen said. “The bartenders will show up one day, and they’re going to make a drink for Jerry Thomas.” She added: “Think of the best drink you ever had. Don’t you want to remember that person?”
The cemetery started exploring its gastronomic past after a volunteer working on a cemetery-wide biography project discovered the grave of Herbert Kinsley, the author of “One Hundred Recipes for the Chafing Dish.” Another Woodlawn grave belongs to Charles Ranhofer, a French chef who worked at Delmonico’s and penned an encyclopedic cookbook called “The Epicurean.”
One of the most opulent mausoleums belongs to brewer George Ehret, a domed structure built in 1900 that can hold 56 individuals. Mr. Ehret’s Hell Gate Brewery, founded in 1866, was a big success in its day.
Placido Mori, owner of Mori’s restaurant on Bleecker Street at the turn of the 19th century, rests beneath tombstone decorated with a seated female figure. The designer of the memorial, Raymond Hood, had been a tenant of Mr. Mori’s and redesigned his eatery, according to Ms. Olsen.
Also included in the tour are August Lüchow, an immigrant whose eponymous restaurant on East 14th Street was known for its German fare and beer, and high-society caterer Louis Sherry.
For Woodlawn’s 150th anniversary, the 400-acre cemetery plans to launch an online database with short biographies written by volunteer historians on all 310,000 people interred there — including the food luminaries who are part of the new tour.
The cemetery’s first food-related walking tour will be held April 15, with tickets priced between $10 and $15. Click here for tickets and more info. [Wall St Journal]