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Local Directory > Restaurants

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couple enjoying a restaurant meal

Restaurants Definition and History

A restaurant is a culinary establishment that prepares and serves food and drink to paying customers.  In ancient China, when peasants brought their goods to market, they stopped to eat at roadside inns along the way.  In ancient Rome, taverns were spaced about 15 miles apart along the Roman road system, and they provided places for local patrons and travelers to eat and drink, socialize, and rest.  At these eating establishments, the chef determined the meal menus, and patrons often ate at a common table. During the Middle Ages in Europe, taverns and inns continued to provide simple, prepared meals in the form of soups and stews and ethnic specialties such as shepherd's pie in England and tapas in Spain.  During the French Revolution, chefs who had hitherto served the aristocracy began to open their own restaurants and introduce the general public to more diverse menus and more sophisticated dining experiences.  Today, in our global society, specialty restaurants offer various ethnic cuisines, service styles, and food groups, and many restaurants offer outdoor dining settings.
An interesting reference to al fresco dining is found in Mark chapter 6, verses 39-42 of the New Testament, we read, "And he ordered them to make them all sit down by companies on the green grass. ... And they all ate and were satisfied".  More restaurant information is available on this Restaurant Guide and Directory page.