Tonight, author Stephen Fried reprises his April appearance in Santa Fe with a lecture and book signing on the colorful restaurateur Fred Harvey. Stop by

La Fonda at 6pm

for a

free (yes, free!) lecture, book signing and wine reception.

Details after the jump.

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The last time

(who, full disclosure, was one of my grad school professors) came to Santa Fe, $95 bought Fred Harvey aficionados a lecture ticket and a gourmet, Harvey-style dinner at La Fonda. (Read SFR's coverage

, plus an interview with Fried

.) This time, according to the folks at Collected Works (who are co-sponsoring

), the lecture is gratis.

In case you're not a Harvey fan already, check out Fried's

for a description. Fried's biography,

Appetite for America

, tells the story of how Harvey ushered in a new era of western expansion, using a unique combination of business acumen, fastidiousness and brand-making to create a string of restaurants (staffed, of course, with charming

"Harvey Girls"

) along the Santa Fe Railroad.

Harvey opened restaurants in Las Vegas, Winslow and Albuquerque—and founded the iconic La Fonda here in Santa Fe, all part of the United States' first real chain restaurant, way before Big Macs and Coke. Tonight, expect details on how he did it—and how all that changed Santa Fe (and, indeed, the US) forever.

Thursday, Sept. 2

6pm:

Lecture, book signing and wine reception at La Fonda (La Terraza Room)

free

Photo credit: Jim Graham/Graham Studios Inc., courtesy of www.stephenfried.com