Prior to Amtrak, flowers on your dining room table was SOP. Chicago & North Western's Dakota 400, Rochester 400, and Twin Cities 400 Dining Car service established a service precedent that lives large in my memory.
I take it you quite liked the Dakota 400?
How did you ever guess? I rode all 3 trains several times in the '50's and early '60's with my family.
Once, due to a late PRR train's arrival in Chicago, we missed the Dakota 400, was placed on the Twin Cities 400 and connected and transferred to our train at Wyeville.
I don't recall the reason, but once on either the Rochester 400 or the Dakota 400, we were seated, as coach passengers, in the Parlor Car. As a teen-ager, that made quite an impression on me.
C&NW's Dining Service was top notch. Attractive menu covers, a nice selection of food, excellent service: there was a Dining Car Steward who handled the "business end" of the diner, seating guests, settling bills and the Dining Car Waiters--don't remember how many, but their service was excellent and friendly.
I even rode that route to Rapid City and return once on a train that I recall was named as The Rochester and Black Hills Special. No diner, but a cafe/lounge car as well as a Pullman sleeper. (We were in coach, however.)