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Boulanger

(18th century)


It is frequently said that the first restaurant, by that name, was opened in in 1765 by Parisian soup maker M. Boulanger. His was the first establishment to offer a menu with a choice of dishes. Nothing is known about M. Boulanger (some say A. Boulanger), and this may not be his name, but simply his occupation (boulanger means baker).

There were other cultures that had what could be called restaurants much earlier then this. The general belief that Boulanger’s was the first restaurant, refers to western culture, and even with that qualification, it is a debatable point. More on this subject will follow in future updates.


September, 2008 -
The following is an Email from Chef Thomas L. Bruns with some additional insight.

Boulanger was a crafty fellow.  Back in those days, if you were owned a shop or were a street vendor, you had to belong to a guild.  There were tons of guilds: Breadmaker's Guild, Pastry Guild, Roaster's Guild, Winemaker's Guild, etc. 

     Boulanger wanted his shop, but he couldn't afford the dues that were openly demanded by guilds.  And then he hit upon it.  There was no Soupmaker's Guild.  So his main offering was a soup made from sheep hooves.  He claimed that the soup had restorative properties, hence the sign Restaurant (from "restaurer" meaning "restore") in his window.

     Think about that for a moment.  Our entire professional working area (the restaurant) stems from a con artist looking to avoid paying a bill.

 

 

WHO’S WHO IN THE WORLD OF FOOD

Who's Who: 'B'       Babcock, Stephen Moulton       Babinsky, Henri       Ballast, Louis       Balzac, Honore de       Bartram, John       Battle Creek, Michigan       Beauvilliers, Antoine       Bechameil, Louis       Becker, Franklin       Beecher, Catherine       Bellissimo, Teressa       Besh, John       Birdseye, Clarence       Blechyden, R.       Bocuse, Paul       Bonnefons, Nicolas de       Bordon, Gail       Bore, Jean Etienne       Borlaug, Norman Ernest       Botherel, Marie, Vicomte de       Boulanger       Boulestin, Marcel       Boyardee, Chef       Boysen, Rudolph       Bradham, Caleb D.       Brady, Diamond Jim       Brandenberger, Jacques       Brillat-Savarin, Jean-Anthelme       Brown, Rasshad       Browns, C. C.       Burbank, Luther       Burrell, Anne       Busch, Adolphus

 

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