Here's another thought - picture frames. Our menu boards are giant picture frames that have been fitted with non-glare glass and just a plain black matte board inside. The menu is written on the glass with those wet-erase liquid chalk markers. Since the base is glass the marker wipes right off with a little water. BUT since the base is black the contrast is really good and colors are really vivid.
If you wanted something with more personality you could use a more ornate frame and more interesting matte board. We went with basic black.
Benefits: You can put the glass on a grid board when you first do the menu so things are nice and straight. The other real upside here is cost... a big frame is maybe 50 bucks at the craft store, the glare-resistant glass another $50-$75, 5 bucks in matte board... compare that with a large blackboard.
Downside - there is just a little sheen to it, which can somewhat impeded readability if the lights are aimed wrong.
There is a pic that shows these a little bit on my page.
Here is our menu that I made from recycled windows. Just painted the glass with chalk paint (about 4 coats) and used chalk paint pens.
And here are some shelves I made - also from old windows with plexiglass added on top:
I use a plasma screen with a custom menu I design....looks awesome and different and easy to change and add screens for specials...designed a few for some other businesses, as well!
We simply painted the wall with chalkboard paint and did our menus right on the wall. It took a few hours to completely redo the menu, but we didn't have any artwork or such like Heather.
Later we framed the whole thing by staining and nailing some trim around the perimeter.
I always try to spell check everything first. But it's really embarrassing when you misspell "macchiato."