Groundbreaking


SOURCE: Groundbreaking Brochure, Century Grill

Century Grill is an alumnus of the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. Architects are Wuest and Bailey
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Excerpts from transcript of remarks made by officials of the Century Grill and the World's Fair at groundbreaking ceremonies for the Century Grill, New York World's Fair, Friday, May 17, 1963.

DR. ROBERTO DE MENDOZA [Deputy Chief of Protocol]: Mr. Holden, Mr. Constable, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. This most pleasant occasion bring us together to break the ground from which will rise the Century Grill International Exhibit. The first speaker is a graduate of Brown University, a Commander in the Naval Reserve, who has had great experience in the varied fields of aviation, publishing and industry. He was deputy coordinator for the United States Exhibit at the Brussels Fair and U. S. Deputy Commissioner to the Seattle Fair. He is now applying his great knowledge and experience toward promoting the success of the Transportation Area of our Fair. It is my privilege to introduce Mr. Francis D. Miller, director of the Transportation section of the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation.

MR. FRANCIS D. MILLER: Dr. De Mendoza, Mr. Holden, distinguished guests. I'm delighted to participate in this ceremony today to commemorate the very first restaurant groundbreaking in the entire Fair. I think it is most appropriate that this distinction should go, as it does, to Mr. Holden, who has had more activity in World's Fairs than I care to remember. He has operated restaurants, very successfully, in virtually every World's Fair since the Chicago Century of Progress Fair in 1933. In fact, in 1939 right here in the New York World's Fair, in this Transportation Section, he ran the Aviation Grill which I well remember.

We've all worked very closely with him on his plans and we are very confident that this restaurant will have the same attraction for the public that all his previous endeavors have had. The Fair, of course, will have a great variety of restaurants. They will be designed to fit the needs and the desires and the tastes of all the visitors who come here from every state in the Union and from virtually every country in the world. However, this restaurant is unique in that it will permit the public to sample the delicacies of most of these nations. Thus it typifies the spirit and the goal of this Fair which, after all, is to help all of us to learn more about the way in which our friends abroad and in this country live, eat and dwell together.

In closing, I'd like to convey the congratulations of the New York World's Fair Corporation and the Port of New York Authority's Board of Commissioners to Mr. Holden and Mr. Ratner, and also my very best wishes to them for their continued success.

Assisting the construction worker in the groundbreaking at the Century Grill are: (left to right) Mr. Joseph R. Holden and Mr. Morrie Ratner of Century Grill, Mr. Stuart Constable, vice president of Operations at the Fair, and Mr. Francis D. Miller, director of the Transportation Section of the Fair.
Breaking Ground

DR. DE MENDOZA: Thank you, Mr. Miller. The next speaker, Mr. Holden, knows this Fair site in Flushing Meadow very well. His participation at this Fair will be like a second homecoming for he participated in the 1939 New York Fair with enormous success. He is a great expert on food; for many years he held the post of food supervisor and food services manager with the Army-Navy-Air Force Exchange Systems. His Century Grill International promises to be a delight to everyone. Mr. Holden.

MR. JOSEPH R. HOLDEN: Thank you, Dr. De Mendoza. Mr. Constable, Mr. Witt, gentlemen of the Port of New York Authority, Mr. Ratner, my partner, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen. We are gathered here today to break ground for the Century Grill International, a restaurant featuring hamburgers and frankfurters with spices and ingredients specially prepared by Louis Millani of Los Angeles. I have been told that we have the honor of being the first restaurant to break ground in this Fair.

First I would like to thank you for the cooperation we have received from the officials of the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation, and the officials of the Port of New York Authority, especially Mr. Cornelius Lynch. It is my firm belief that the 1964-1965 Fair will be by far the greatest fair that history has ever known. My heartiest thanks go to Mr. Robert Moses, president of the Fair, who could not be here for this momentous occasion, for his timeless efforts and cooperation in planning this Fair. Once again, my thanks to all of you for attending this groundbreaking ceremony.

DR. DE MENDOZA: Thank you, Mr. Holden. Our next speaker has dedicated a great part of his career to the service of the public in the City of New York. The development and beauty of the parks of the city -- as well as the development of the city itself, are to a great extent due to his efforts. He was Acting Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission, from 1950 through 1960, and has been consultant to vital organization including the Jones Beach State Park Authority and the New York State Power Authority. In 1960 he brought his organizing ability, his wide experience and boundless energy to our Fair, the greatest Fair in the history of man. It gives me great pleasure to present Mr. Stuart Constable, vice president in charge of Operations of the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation.

Century Grill's "Hamburger International" was featured at the groundbreaking ceremonies. Mr. Holden, Mr. Ratner, Mr. Constable and Mr. Miller are shown here holding an oversized sample of one of Century Grill's tasty menu offerings.
Century Grill fare

MR. STUART CONSTABLE: Dr. De Mendoza, Mr. Holden, Mr. Ratner. I'm delighted to be here today at this groundbreaking for the first restaurant at the Fair, because I love to eat. I'm sure this restaurant will be the most popular spot in the Transportation Area. Mr. Holden's reputation as a purveyor of food is well known. We are delighted to have him here, and I welcome Mr. Holden and Mr. Ratner and their restaurant to the Fair. It is my great pleasure now to present to them the World's Fair medallions. Mr. Holden, Mr. Ratner, we are sure that you will have great success here, and you will trap everybody on the waiting line at the Ford Motors Exhibit and that every last one of them will eat something which you prepare at this restaurant.