A restaurant, or, more informally, an eatery, is a business that prepares and serves food and drinks to customers. Meals are generally served and eaten on the premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services.
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France in particular has a rich history with the development of various forms of inns and eateries, eventually to form many of the now-ubiquitous elements of the modern restaurant. The first café opened in Paris in 1672 at the Saint-Germain fair.
France in particular has a rich history with the development of various forms of inns and eateries, eventually to form many of the now-ubiquitous elements of the modern restaurant. As far back as the thirteenth century, French inns served a variety of food — bread, cheese, bacon, roasts, soups, and stews – usually eaten at a common table.
Parisians could buy what was essentially take-out food from rôtisseurs, who prepared roasted meat dishes, and pastry-cooks, who could prepare meat pies and often more elaborate dishes. Municipal statutes stated that the official prices per item were to be posted at the entrance; this was the first official mention of menus.
At the end of the 16th century, the guild of cook-caterers (later known as “traiteurs”) was given its legal status. The traiteurs dominated sophisticated food service, delivering or preparing meals for the wealthy at their residences. Taverns and cabarets were limited to serving little more than roast or grilled meats.
Taverns also served food, as did cabarets. A cabaret, however, unlike a tavern, served food at tables with tablecloths, provided drinks with the meal, and charged by the customers’ choice of dish, rather than by the pot. Cabarets were reputed to serve better food than taverns and a few, such as the Petit Maure, became well known.