It’s a place where people usually hang-out with their friends and family. Next to beaches and shopping malls, this attracts an equal number of people. We still live by the saying that a satisfied hunger and quenched thirst makes one pleasant and closer to us. True to these words, various hotels, restaurants, motels and other such places that offers food have opened up almost everywhere.

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A restauramt setting

 

In today’s world, it is not fair for someone to say that he/she do not often visit restaurants, owing to the fact that they are sprawled across the map of the world. Ranging from ordinary road-side carts and mini eat-outs to posh, rich and elegant restaurants boasting of the 5 stars of quality (that restaurants are usually titled to). It is, as the saying goes, where there is food, there are people.

This tradition of offering food to people dates back to the times where cities were first beginning to develop and dynasties ruled parts of the world.

The first restaurants

The idea of serving food in exchange for money goes back to the days when people travelled by either foot or a horse-driven carriage. The earliest known restaurants were more, like today’s road-side inns. The customers were usually peasants and small-time traders, travelling from one city to another. These restaurants simply consisted of a few benches or tables and they did not have any particular menu. These places offered simple foods commonly found in merchant’s homes. It was the chef’s choice which ultimately became the day’s menu.

In the middle ages, as the population slowly increased, taverns became one of the most common places for a common man to buy food and drinks. In addition to serving food, they served as the first bars or pubs too. A few of these can be seen even today.

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An artist’s rendition of a restaurant in the olden days

 

These places were usually places where people gathered and discussed official matters or met for recreational purposes. Thus, they imbibed a society that was socially strong. These taverns however, had a simple menu from which people could choose what they wanted to eat or drink and they were often served by people who owned the place or worked there. They were the first bearers or waiters.

Restaurants also occurred in the form of road-side shops serving simple, yet satisfying meals. These were usually considered the fore-runners of the modern day fast-food chains that can be found sprawled across the map of the world. In the American continent, these usually sold the first buns and mustard, peanuts, popcorn, candies or any other such food articles by which people could satisfy their hunger temporarily.  Later, as time passed, the buns turned to hamburgers and hotdogs which soon became an instant hit not only because of their taste, but also because these foods were easily made and quickly served. Thus, it marked the beginning of fast foods. In France, small restaurants opened up at corners of streets or openings of junctions and they primarily served soups and stews which instantly struck a chord with the French. They soon revolutionized to various other food articles, which are served almost in all parts of the world even today. The French were usually good with breads and foods out of breads and dough. It was the French who brought “baking” to the limelight.

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A painting of a street-side restaurant in Paris

In the European sub-continent however, pies of various sorts and flavors were becoming popular. In short, restaurants immediately became popular among the people, even though they served simple foods.

It was in the fifteenth century when foods from different parts of the world were traded. Thus each recipe special to a particular country, became famous in another part of the world. This never stopped there though and the market and trade only increased with time and now, it has resulted in the numerous continental restaurants, five-star hotels and simple inns which serve foods both simple and those unheard of in that region.

Restaurants in India

India is a vast, diverse, multi-cultured country which has different eating habits as well as different food items. Thus, the normal, modern restaurants with either a three or four star rating usually serve more of recipes from other parts of the country when compared to recipes from around the world. However, it is a different tale when it comes to continentals and five-star hotels. These serve both in equal proportions and in top qualities.

The first restaurants here were road-side carts selling very simple items exclusive to that place or country. These types of road-side stalls can still be found even today, buzzing and alive with hungry people. However, these have now modernized to serving snacks (“chaat” items), in addition to serving sandwiches, beverages, pastries, juices, etc. they have become a common place of hang-out especially for the younger generation.

Check out at the check in!

Restaurants are places where, in addition to serving food, also provide people with a place to stay for a stipulated amount of time. This practice dates back to the time when travelers having travelled quite a long distance, needed a place to eat and rest. The earliest known such rest-houses where more like big houses apartments usually called “inns”. They had extra rooms which were carefully and regularly maintained by the owners and proprietors. The food was cooked by them and served. This soon modernized to become resorts and lodges.

Rooms allotted for a longer period of time and those which offered more comforts were called suits and these are usually found in five-star hotels today.

In short, restaurants have come a long way to what they are now. They have undergone changes alongside people and have become a common thing now. Not much thought have gone to their origin and history.