The 18th Century – Boulanger’s Restaurant

The word restaurant is derived from the French word restaurer (to restore). Since the 16th century, the word restorative had been used to describe rich and highly flavored soups or sews capable of restoring lost strength.  Restoratives, like all other cooked foods offered and purchased outside the home, were made by guild members.  Each guild had a monopoly on preparing certain food items.

The French claim that the first modern restaurant opened one day in 1765 when Monsieur Boulanger hung a sign advertising the sale of his special restorative, a dish of sheep feet in white sauce.

Prior to this, food served at inns and taverns came from ‘off-premises’ by the appropriate guild.

The French Revolution had an effect on the industry.  Along with the aristocracy, guilds and their monopolies were generally abolished…and many of the aristocrat’s chefs either left the county or opened restaurants catering to the growing urbanized middle class.

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