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Severine G. Leoffler: The Man Who Fed 1919 D.C. with His Iconic Liberty Lunches

Step back in time with this captivating 1919 photo of Leoffler's Liberty Lunch stand in Washington, D.C., where just 20 cents could buy government workers a box lunch filled with surprises. Discover the story of Severine G. Leoffler's entrepreneurial spirit in the early days of street food.
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Dive into 1919 Washington, D.C., where Leoffler’s Liberty Lunch captures your attention among the street vendors outside the Treasury Annex. For just 20 cents, they offer a meal that comes with a quirky promise of bananas. This image, snapped in time by the National Photo Company, transports us to an era where street food intertwines with daily hustle, reminding us of the timeless appeal of quick, affordable eats.

A 1919 black and white photo of Leoffler's Liberty Lunch stand, where vendors sell boxed lunches and bananas to government workers on the streets of Washington, D.C.
Leoffler’s Liberty Lunch, 1919: Where 20 cents bought D.C.’s busy government workers a hearty meal and a slice of comfort, reminding us that the best things in life come in simple packages.

Severine G. Leoffler, the entrepreneur behind the counter, revolutionized the midday meal with his “Liberty Lunch” boxes. These packages, filled with an assortment of sandwiches and a sweet surprise, rescued war-time workers from the lunch rush chaos. With every box opened, anticipation met with comfort food—a chicken sandwich today, perhaps a slice of nostalgic gingerbread tomorrow. Before food delivery apps, Leoffler’s fleet of trucks and dedicated team of 130 were the day’s heroes, delivering 10,000 smiles in the form of lunch boxes across the city.

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