When was the restaurant “invented” in Europe?

When was the restaurant “invented” in Europe?


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First of all, let me clarify that I am not talking about inns which were located on the roads between major cities; I am talking about real restaurants inside the cities. I gave this some thought and I think that restaurants couldn't be more than a few hundred years old. This is because restaurants had to have come after the rise of the middle class. Before then, the poor wouldn't have enough money, and the rich probably had their own chefs.

I know that now it is different, but a few hundred years ago the primary reason why people would go to restaurants would have probably been if they just came from work and they had no food in the house (even if there was a middle class, they probably wouldn't go just to have fun, since they were still poorer (on average) than the middle class today). This would imply that they are single, since the wife would usually stay at home and cook. Since virtually all the people in the past were either married or lived with their family, I believe that the "invention" of restaurants was also synchronized with a rise in the amount of single people, which is fairly recent history. Am I right, and if not what is the correct timeline here? Thanks.


Of course, taverns existed in Ancient Rome and possibly in Ancient Greece as well. The very word "tavern" comes from Latin taberna.

And you of course mistaken about middle class: it always existed in European cities at least starting from prehistoric age.


Sure, places to eat out were known already in antiquity. But like the very word 'restaurant', the concept and specific meaning was unknown back then.

The word is French in origin as is the concept of an enclosed space, with multiple dishes to choose from, and the option of being seated at separate tables where somewhat classy food is available, and served at that table. Earlier 'inns' or 'pubs' featured larger seating arrangements, focused on drinks, served mostly only one food item, mainly soup and of quite often dubious quality; not necessarily poisonous but 'simple'.

This beginning can be dated to shortly before the French revolution. Either 1765, according to legend, or 1766, according to documented evidence.

The 'restaurant' is said to have been named after the owner of a soup kitchen in Paris called Boulanger. In 1765, against the resistance of the Guild of Chefs, he was said to have obtained permission to offer other small dishes in addition to soups, including mutton feet in sauce. In 1795 he also allegedly left the biblical verse in Latin above the door of his restaurant: "Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos" / "Come here to me, all you who are troublesome and laden; I will refresh you" (Matth. 11,28). (French Wikipedia has the motto as "Venite ad me, omnes qui stomacho laboratis, et ego restaurabo vos". This motto made his locality famous, and his inn was (allegedly) addressed as a restaurant, from the Latin restaurabo - I want to refresh you. From then on he called himself "Restaurateur". This story has to be legendary, since social developments usually do not originate solely from one individual.

In fact, we have no sources at all to prove the existence of a restaurateur Boulanger, nor are there any court files on the alleged legal dispute. It seems to be an invented anecdote. But various contemporary sources before 1800 mention Mathurin Roze de Chantoiseau as the first restaurateur in Paris to open his restaurant in 1766.

The fact that Roze de Chantoiseau was in fact the first Parisian restaurateur is indirectly proven by Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reynière, who in 1804 speaks of a certain "Champ d'oiseau" as the founder of the restaurants, which was obviously a hearing defect.

Alternatively it is said "that Boulanger's establishment featured a sign that read, 'Boulanger débite des restaurants divins,' roughly translated as, 'Boulanger sells restoratives fit for the gods.'"

The first restaurant ever was called a “public dining room” and originated in France. Throughout history France has played a key role in the development of restaurants. The first restaurant ever that actually consisted of patrons sitting at a table and being served individual portions, which they selected from menus, was founded in 1782 by a man named Beauvilliers. It was called the Grand Taverne de Londres. However, this was not the beginning of the restaurant concept. The first restaurant proprietor is believed to have been one A. Boulanger, a soup vendor, who opened his business in Paris in 1765. He sold soups at his all-night tavern on the Rue Bailleul. He called these soups restorantes (restoratives), which is the origin of the word restaurant. Boulanger believed that soup was the cure to all sorts of illnesses. However, he was not content to let his culinary repertoire rest with only a soup kitchen. By law at the time, only hotels could serve “food” (soup did not fit into this category). In 1767, he challenged the traiteurs' monopoly and created a soup that consisted of sheep's feet in a white sauce. The traiteurs guild filed a lawsuit against Boulanger, and the case went before the French Parliament. Boulanger won the suit and soon opened his restaurant, Le Champ d'Oiseau.
In 1782, the Grand Tavern de Londres, a true restaurant, opened on the Rue de Richelieu; three years later, Aux Trois Fre'res Provenc ̧aux opened near the Palais-Royal. The French Revolution in 1794 literally caused heads to roll-so much so that the chefs to the former nobility suddenly had no work. Some stayed in France to open restaurants and some went to other parts of Europe; many crossed the Atlantic to America, especially to New Orleans.
- John R. Walker: "The Restaurant. From Concept to Operation", Wiley: Hoboken, 62011.

The funny things about this is that after the revolution the restaurant in Paris is named after London and serving bottled wine, like it was fashionable in England, but advertising the atmosphere as 'dining like in Versailles'. Indeed the kitchen staff of the mostly fled or killed aristocracy largely went self-employed and spurred the development of higher end eating styles. This soon meant also deviating from service à la française to service à la russe as being typically French.

Rebecca L. Spang: "The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture", Harvard University Press: Cambridge, London, 2000,

Peter Scholliers: " Food, Drink and Identity: Cooking, Eating and Drinking in Europe Since the Middle Ages", Berg: Oxford, New York, 2001.

Gunther Hirschfelder: "Europäische Esskultur: Eine Geschichte der Ernährung von der Steinzeit bis heute.", Campus: Frankfurt, 2005.

In 1675 there were few food shops or cafés and no restaurants on the streets of Paris. Taverns and inns served those wishing to eat and drink in public, while markets offered food that was prepared and cooked in the household. Many types of foods and food products were only accessible to the very wealthy. By contrast, in 1760 Paris had hundreds of food shops, offering an increasingly diverse clientele an expanding range of luxury food products, frequently manufactured in the city's many specialist workshops.[… ]
Spang characterizes one new space for consumption, the restaurant, as a site where privacy and individual choice were made possible, features that she presents as central attributes in the formation of the modern self. The café too permitted the exercise of individual choice over consumption, but differed from the restaurant in the theatricalized, public nature of its space.
- EC Spary: "Eating the Enlightnment", University of Chicago Press: Chicago, London, 2012.

Throughout much of recorded history, eating away from home and in a public place has been experienced as a burden rather than a pleasure. The emergence of restaurant going as an enjoyable, leisure time activity and of restaurants as spaces clearly distinct from cafés, taverns, inns, or brothels is a comparatively recent development. In the West, restaurant culture is no more than 250 years old (and, in many localities, it is much younger). In southeastern China, restaurants were already part of urban culture in the thirteenth century; Marco Polo was astonished by the lavish eating establishments he found in Hangzhou, where regional cuisines such as Szechwan and Honan were readily available. Yet if some cultures have a centuries-long history of public, commercial, gastronomy, many others do not. In many parts of the world, businesses clearly identifiable as restaurants have developed only in the past fifty years. They are the products of post-1945 developments in travel and trade, such as the emergence of global tourism and the spread of multinational corporations.
- Rebecca L. Spang: "Restaurant" in: Solomon H. Katz & William Woys Weaver (Eds): "Encyclopedia of Food and Culture", Charles Scribner's Sons: New York, 2003.

A nice illustration for earlier establishments and their arrangements might be found here:

Whereas Antoine Beauvilliers

was a pioneering restaurateur who opened the first prominent grand restaurant in Paris. Moreover, he wrote L'Art du Cuisinier. [The] restaurant [was] called the La Grande Taverne de Londres under in the Palais-Royal, Paris, in 1786.6 The restaurant was intended for a wealthy and aristocratic clientele; it had tables made of mahogany, crystal chandeliers, and tablecloths of fine linen, an extensive wine cellar, and elegantly-dressed waiters.

Culinary Curiosities: The origins of restaurants
History of Restaurants - Timeline created by carterem - In History


The History of Restaurants, Part 2

After the French Revolution at the end of the 18th Century, displaced chefs from aristocratic households paved the way for the modern restaurant dining experiences we enjoy today. Creating à la carte menus featuring gourmet food, the chefs focused on fine dining experiences by cooking private dinners for people.


'It's the Legacy of Slavery': Here's the Troubling History Behind Tipping Practices in the U.S.

T hese days, the expectation at U.S. restaurants that diners will tip their servers is a key part of the culinary economy: tips subsidize a server or bartender’s salary at the vast majority of the nearly 650,000 restaurants in the country.

But tipping wasn’t always part of the U.S. dining landscape &mdash and scholars who have studied its origins point out that its oft-debated role in the modern economy isn’t the only thing potentially troubling about tips.

In the earliest days of the practice, its spread was linked to the racial oppression of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period.

The idea of giving someone money for their work isn’t one that really needs an origin story, but modern American tipping &mdash the practice of the customer giving a gratuity on top of the money that the employee gets from his or her employer &mdash does have a beginning. (As for the word itself, many are familiar with the tale that “To Insure Promptness” was a phrase written on dishes for coins at shops, thus creating the acronym of “tip,” but that’s just a myth.) Some accounts credit European travelers with bringing the custom to the U.S. others credit American travelers with bringing tipping back from Europe. The truth? Wealthy Americans in the 1850s and 1860s discovered the tradition, which had originated in medieval times as a master-serf custom wherein a servant would receive extra money for having performed superbly well, on vacations in Europe. Wanting to seem aristocratic, these individuals began tipping in the United States upon their return.

At first, most diners were largely against it, deeming it both inherently condescending and classist. How could poor Americans be expected to pay for their food, and add a “tip” on top? In fact, there was so much anti-tipping traction that, in the 1860s, the attitude spread to Europe. That’s one reason why there is no tipping expected at most European restaurants today, according to Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and president of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and the director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley, who advocates for the equalization of wages for tipped and non-tipped workers.

“But in the States, that movement was squashed, and we went to the exact opposite direction,” Jayaraman tells TIME, “because of slavery.”

After the Constitution was amended in the wake of the Civil War, slavery was ended as an institution but those who were freed from bondage were still limited in their choices. Many who did not end up sharecropping worked in menial positions, such as servants, waiters, barbers and railroad porters. These were pretty much the only occupations available to them. For restaurant workers and railroad porters, there was a catch: many employers would not actually pay these workers, under the condition that guests would offer a small tip instead.

“These industries demanded the right to basically continue slavery with a wage and tip,” Jayaraman says.

Despite tipping’s growing prominence, many remained unhappy about the custom in the years following Reconstruction. Six states temporarily abolished the practice in 1915. In 1918, Georgia’s legislature deemed tips as “commercial bribes,” or tips for the purpose of influencing service, illegal. Iowa’s initial 1915 decision said that those who accepted a gratuity of any kind &mdash not those who gave the money themselves &mdash could be fined or imprisoned.

Even with that pushback, the practice grew in popularity in many Southern states. By 1926, all of these laws had been repealed or deemed unconstitutional by the respective state’s Supreme Court, according to Kerry Segrave’s Tipping: An American Social History of Gratitudes.

Restaurateurs soon realized that they stood to benefit from the opportunity to subsidize a worker’s pay with guests’ extra money, says Douglass Miller, a lecturer at the Hotel School of the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. So, even as the racial dynamics of the United States evolved, the practice spread throughout the country &mdash including in the North &mdash and stuck.


European Monasteries

In the Middle Ages, European monasteries and abbeys first opened their doors to offer hospitality to travelers. Over time, business people took over the management of many of these inns. During the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution heralded the opening of hotels in Europe’s major cities. The owners of many of these hotels aimed to attract wealthy travelers by building intricate and ornate buildings. Throughout the 20th century, hotels sprang up across Europe in mountain and resort regions. The European hospitality industry is a growing industry and encourages its managers to develop an international approach to hotel and restaurant management.

Based in the United Kingdom, Holly Cameron has been writing law-related articles since 1997. Her writing has appeared in the "Journal of Business Law." Cameron is a qualified lawyer with a Master of Laws in European law from the University of Strathclyde.


A Brief History of Chicken Tikka Masala

A sumptuous culinary wonder, foodies have long considered chicken tikka masala — with its roasted chunks of succulent chicken doused in a creamy orange curry sauce — a testament to the UK’s status as a multicultural epicentre. But where did Britain’s unofficial national dish begin?

See, the funny part is that the topic, like many great things, is entirely debatable and a subject of grave contention for many. Some vaguely state it’s a British take on a curry, while a considerable handful are convinced its roots are firmly grounded in India. Then there are others married to the fact that it was conceived in Glasgow, Scotland.

Fans of acclaimed food critic Rahul Verma will see truth in his testimony and statement that the dish originated in Punjab during 1971: ‘It’s basically a Punjabi dish not more than 40-50 years old and must be an accidental discovery which has had periodical improvisations’.

Perhaps the most convincing claim comes from the great Ali Ahmed Aslam of Glasgow’s inimitable Shish Mahal, an authentic Scottish curry house with a cult following. The story goes that this man is indeed the true creator of chicken tikka masala.

It all started in the 1970s when a grumbling customer lamented about his chicken being dry. Once whisked back to the kitchen, Mr Ali — who thanks to divine intervention had a stomach ulcer and was on a liquid-based diet — insisted that the dry curry be embellished with a touch of his tomato soup and a sprinkling of spices. Needless to say, the customer went from disgruntled to overjoyed, so much so that he kept returning time after time with his mates just to taste this beauty of a dish once more.

And so, a star was born at the Shish Mahal. This star then grew into a galaxy of resplendent constellations in its status as a beloved British dish. The year 2009 was a memorable one for Glaswegians and all at the Shish Mahal as backed by the city council, Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar put forth an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons requesting that Parliament legally recognize Glasgow as the home of chicken tikka masala. In other words, he wanted Glasgow bestowed with protected geographical status surrounding its dish by the European Union. Despite a gallant effort, Sarwar’s motion did not make it to debate.

On the other side of the chicken tikka masala spectrum, you have ethnic food historians Colleen and Peter Grove, who remain adamant that the dish ‘was most certainly invented in Britain, probably by a Bangladeshi chef’. After delving deep into the depths of the numerous claims of origins, these foodies point the finger towards Mrs Balbir Singh’s coveted Shahi Chicken Masala recipe, which happened to be published in 1961 in Indian Cookery. The plot thickens.

So, next time you indulge in this legendary dish, take the time to truly taste it. The facts put Glasgow in good standing for the title of the chicken tikka masala capital. Then again, like many great things, the answer may never reveal itself.


The Stand by Me tree

Hidden in the abundant greenery of Berlin’s Tiergarten is a romantic surprise. Just off the main walking trail are two trees with the opening lyrics to Ben E King’s Stand By Me carved onto their trunks. The song’s opening lyrics have been lovingly carved onto the first tree beside the Großer Weg pathway, close to its intersection with Großer Sternallee the song’s chorus, meanwhile, can be found on a nearby trunk located off a small pathway leading off Großer Sternallee. It’s still a mystery who decided to engrave the sentimental tribute, and when.


During the French Revolution, independent chefs began establishing eating houses where customers could come in whenever they were hungry and choose food selections from a menu. This had not been possible in France until the time of the revolution because the guild system severely limited the offerings that any artisan could prepare, making it difficult for a single cook to serve something as simple as a meat pie, which used both the skills of the meat cook and the pastry cook. Restaurants were named for a simple restorative broth that was popular in the earliest modern eating establishments.

The American restaurant business started off emulating the French restaurant business, seeing it as the epitome of taste and class. But American restaurants always focused on ingredients that were in abundance in the United States, such as the oysters of the Northeast. As was fitting for a nation of immigrants, American food quickly began to diversify, with Chinese, Italian, Greek and other immigrants offering and adapting their food for a mainstream clientele. In the latter half of the twentieth century, the United States led the way in the consolidation of industrialization of restaurant and food service offerings with fast food chains and family dining franchises.


The Invention of the Restaurant

Why are there restaurants? Why would anybody consider eating to be an enjoyable leisure activity or even a serious pastime? To find the answer to these questions, we must accompany Rebecca Spang back to France in the eighteenth century, when a restaurant was not a place to eat but a thing to eat: a quasi-medicinal bouillon that formed an essential element of pre-revolutionary France&rsquos nouvelle cuisine. This is a book about the French Revolution in taste and of the table&mdasha book about how Parisians invented the modern culture of food, thereby changing their own social life and that of the world.

During the 1760s and 1770s, those who were sensitive and supposedly suffering made public show of their delicacy by going to the new establishments known as &ldquorestaurateurs&rsquo rooms&rdquo and there sipping their bouillons. By the 1790s, though, the table was variously seen as a place of decadent corruption or democratic solidarity. The Revolution&rsquos tables were sites for extending frugal, politically correct hospitality, and a delicate appetite was a sign of counter-revolutionary tendencies. The restaurants that had begun as purveyors of health food became symbols of aristocratic greed. In the early nineteenth century, however, the new genre of gastronomic literature worked within the strictures of the Napoleonic police state to transform the notion of restaurants and to confer star status upon oysters and champagne. Thus, the stage was set for the arrival of British and American tourists keen on discovering the mysteries of Frenchness in the capital&rsquos restaurants. From restoratives to Restoration, Spang establishes the restaurant at the very intersection of public and private in French culture&mdashthe first public place where people went to be private.


Our ruling: True

Based on our research, the claim that tipping became popularized by restaurant owners who didn't want to pay Black workers after the passage of the 15th Amendment is generally TRUE, though more context is helpful.

Tipping in America began before the Civil War. But afterward, it is true that employers in the restaurant industry, railroads and more used the practice of tipping as a way to keep some wages low. Formerly enslaved Black people worked in many of these jobs.

Additionally, five Southern states actively banned tipping. Those bans, though, were more concerned with discouraging white people from tipping than they were concerned with not encouraging a tip-based business model exploitative of cheap Black labor that others had adopted.


The Huguenots in America

Huguenot settlers immigrated to the American colonies directly from France and indirectly from the Protestant countries of Europe, including the Netherlands, England, Germany, and Switzerland.

Although the Huguenots settled along almost the entire eastern coast of North America, they showed a preference for what are now the states of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina. Just as France suffered a notable loss though the emigration of these intelligent, capable people, so the American colonies gained. The colonists became farmers, laborers, ministers, soldiers, sailors, and people who engaged in government. The Huguenots supplied the colonies with excellent physicians and expert artisans and craftsmen. For example, Irénée du Pont brought his expertise for making gunpowder learned from the eminent Lavoisier and Apollo Rivoire, a goldsmith, was the father of Paul Revere, master silversmith and renowned patriot. George Washington, himself, was the grandson of a Huguenot on his mother’s side. The Huguenots adapted themselves readily to the New World. Their descendants increased rapidly and spread quickly. Today, people of Huguenot origin are found in all parts of our country.

George Washington (1732–1799)



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