RetroRecipes: Ayres Tea Room chicken salad and chicken velvet soup (2024)

RetroRecipes: Ayres Tea Room chicken salad and chicken velvet soup (1)

With the ding of a bell, elevator doors opened to the eighth floor of the downtown L.S. Ayres & Co department store. There it was - the Tea Room. The efficient hostess, always smartly dressed, would lead guests through the ocean liner of a restaurant to their well-appointed table. It was a place to linger anddine in style. Thoseafternoons of of simple luxuries became fond memories for many Hoosiers.

The first Tea Room operated on the fifth floor from1905 to 1929 as a spot for weary female shoppers. The larger tearoom opened in 1929 and closed in 1990. Until the late 1960s women were required to wear hats and gloves and were influenced by glamorous models outfitted in furs and the latest fashions in what was known as “That Ayres Look.”

RetroRecipes: Ayres Tea Room chicken salad and chicken velvet soup (2)

Waitresses incrisp uniforms were constantly on the move, serving lunch, bridal and baby shower parties and family celebrations. Menu favoriteswere the chicken salad, chicken velvet soup, chicken pot pie and pecan ice cream balls with warm chocolate fudge. What to do with sticky fingers? Dip them in finger bowls with rose petals of course.

More shopping:William H. Block

Hoosier Bargain Days:Luring shoppers back to downtown Indianapolis

RetroRecipes: Ayres Tea Room chicken salad and chicken velvet soup (3)

The Tea Room was not just a place where ladies lunched, but a good spot for businessmen’s lunches as well. Children had aspecial menu that featured a hobo lunch wrapped in a bandana, clown ice cream and the show-stopping Snow Princess Dessert. Toys in a treasure chest,wrapped in white tissue with red ribbons (for girls) and blue ribbons (for boys) were a treat for children who minded their manners. Or perhaps children were well behaved because they could feel the rumble of the Santa Claus Express in the next room at Christmas.

When the Ayres Tea Room closed, the Indiana State Museum recreated a smaller version of the much-beloved restaurant, which is available for private dining. The Tea Room opens each year for holiday dining until Jan. 7 and features many L.S. Ayres inspired recipes.

L.S. Ayres Tea Room Recipes and Recollections published by the Indiana State Museum is also available. Recipes published here were from previously published Indianapolis Star stories and from Recipes and Recollections.

1 poundchicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Durkee's famous sauce (mustard mayo mix)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Sash hot pepper sauce
⅛ tsp chicken-base paste (or granule bouillon may be substituted)
Dash lemon juice

The chicken salad was piled into a scooped-out fresh pineapple and garnished with pecans and surrounded with fresh fruit. It was also accompanied by pumpkin bread with cream cheese tea sandwiches.

RetroRecipes: Ayres Tea Room chicken salad and chicken velvet soup (4)

¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
1 cup warm milk
1 pint hot chicken stock
1 cup warm cream 1 quart chicken stock
1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken
¼ tablespoon salt Dash of pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan and blend in flour. Add warm milk, pint of chicken stock and warm cream, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil; turn down to let simmer.
Add remaining chicken stock and cooked chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil again and then serve.

RetroRecipes: Ayres Tea Room chicken salad and chicken velvet soup (5)

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons margarine

Divided Ice water, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon powdered chicken base
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 cups cooked and boned chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks

For the dough: Combine 1 cup flour and salt and sugar; cut in 4 tablespoons of chilled margarine; then add just enough ice water to make the dough come together. Wrap dough in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out half of the dough to about ¼-inch thickness and the size of a casserole dish. Line dish and sides with dough, bringing dough up to edges. Roll out remaining dough to size to cover dish; reserve.
For the filling: Melt remaining margarine in a saucepan, add 4 tablespoons flour and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. Blend in chicken base. Add water at once and mix well.
Bring mixture to a simmer, add chicken and, when heated through, pour into dough-lined casserole. Top with reserved dough; press edges to seal. Prick top in several places to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until dough is lightly browned.

12 ouncessugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups bread flour
¼ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoons nutmeg
¼ teaspoons allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
Handful of pecans
Handful of raisins
12 ounces pumpkin (not mix)
1 8-ouncepackage cream cheese

Blend together sugar, salt, baking soda, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Mix oil and eggs; add pecans, raisins and pumpkin. Grease 2 4-ounce loaf pans; place dough equally in pans. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 70-90 minutes. Cool on racks for 30 minutes. Whip cream cheese until spreadable. Split loaves lengthwise; fill with cream cheese and cut into finger-size servings.

Call IndyStar photo coordinator Dawn Mitchell at (317) 444-6497. Follow her on Twitter:@dawn_mitchell61.

RetroRecipes: Ayres Tea Room chicken salad and chicken velvet soup (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Last Updated:

Views: 6044

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Birthday: 1992-08-21

Address: Apt. 237 662 Haag Mills, East Verenaport, MO 57071-5493

Phone: +331850833384

Job: District Real-Estate Architect

Hobby: Skateboarding, Taxidermy, Air sports, Painting, Knife making, Letterboxing, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Saturnina Altenwerth DVM, I am a witty, perfect, combative, beautiful, determined, fancy, determined person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.