“Diamond Jim’s” given name was James Buchanan Brady, and though a successfulfinancier, he was most known for his love of the items which gave him his name, and hisastounding appetite. It was not unusual for Brady to eat enough food for ten people at a sitting. Atypical Brady breakfast would be: eggs, pancakes, pork chops, cornbread, fried potatoes, hominy,muffins, and a beefsteak. For refreshment, a gallon of orange juice—or “golden nectar”, as hecalled his favorite drink. Lunch might be two lobsters, deviled crabs, clams, oysters and beef,with a few pies for dessert. The usual evening meal began with an appetizer of two or threedozen oysters, six crabs, and a few servings of green turtle soup, followed by a main course of two whole ducks, six or seven lobsters, a sirloin steak, two servings of terrapin and a host of vegetables. For dessert, the gourmand enjoyed pastries and a two pound box of candy.Lillian Russell, his longtime amour–though the actual details of their relationship(romantic or platonic?) are murky–”airy, fairy, Lillian, the American Beauty”–after whomAmerica’s favorite rose was named–whose hourglass (while corseted) figure with its ample hipsand very full bosom weighed 200 pounds; she was the Belle Epoque ideal. She was knownequally for her legendary beauty, her voice and stage presence, and her appetite, as it was saidshe ate more than Diamond Jim! Whatever the case was, restaurateurs and maitre d’hotels sighedin ecstasy alike when the two descended upon a lobster palace after a performance, with Rector’s being the ideal place.Rector’s, though making its debut in New York City after the restaurants of Bustanobyand Martin, was the premiere lobster palace. Though sharing fame with such entities asShanley’s and Murray’s Roman Gardens, etc in terms of opulence and grandeur, somethingabout Rector’s placed it ahead of the crowd. It didn’t help either that
went to Rector’s.