Neiman Marcus got into the restaurant business by accident. One of the department store's cofounders, Herbert Marcus, Sr., who was a notoriously picky eater, had a private dining room built in the Dallas flagship in the 1940s so he could avoid mediocre lunches in downtown restaurants. That room has spawned an enormously popular string of restaurants in Neiman Marcus stores around the country. Over the decades, signature Neiman Marcus dishes like the tangy basil-and-ricotta-spiked tomato soup and the gigantic, eggy popovers—served gratis with lunch—have won their own following. Now, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its restaurants, the 96-year-old company is publishing the Neiman Marcus Cookbook, with more than 150 recipes. The store's infamous chocolate chip cookies are in there too. As for the urban myth that a customer was once billed $250 for the cookie recipe, coauthors Kevin Garvin and John Harrisson attempt to lay the story to rest: "Honestly," they write, "no one at Neiman Marcus has ever, ever charged for this recipe."

—Ratha Tep