When Was the First Modern Restaurant Opened?

The first modern restaurant in the world opened in 1765 in Paris, France. Historical documentation refers to a man by the name of A. Boulanger, a soup vendor, as the owner of an establishment in the Rue du Louvre district of Paris. Boulanger is credited with being the first businessman to use the word restaurant on his establishment. Restaurant originally was a French word that referred to bouillon-based soups that were said to restore health and strength. The sign outside of the restaurant is documented to have been translated to “Boulanger provides divine sustenance," making it the first establishment that offered the service of paying for a prepared meal.

More about culinary history:

  • Ancient Romans didn’t generally have cooking equipment at home and often frequented thermopolia, which sold conveniently already prepared dishes.
  • The first American restaurant is thought to have opened in Boston, Massachusetts in 1793 by French chef Jean-Baptiste Julien, with a specialty of turtle soup.
  • The practice of leaving tips is thought to date back to the 1600s, when English taverns displayed jars with the label stating “T.I.P.: To Insure Promptness.”
More Info: history.com

Discussion Comments


This a great article regarding dining, with some very interesting tidbits as well. On another note, it kind of leads me to wonder how much it cost to dine out when establishments first opened. While I'm not quite sure of the answer, one can definitely speculate. Considering how what's expensive to us in this day and age, was considered way too expensive back then, perhaps dining out only cost a certain amount of coins.

Looking back at the third bullet point, notice how it mentions that when the first tips were left in the 1600s, you had to put your currency in a jar. From this, we can assume that it was coins and not cash, and more than likely only a few.

How does this relate to the article? Considering that tips have been around since the 1600s, it really shows how important they are. While they're not required (unlike paying for your meal), it's a good way to show appreciation to the one who provided you the service. While not leaving a tip isn't illegal, it can certainly be considered rude. There are always exceptions though, such as if the waiter was rude to you, or the service was lousy. In those cases, you have every right not to show appreciation.


@Chmander - In some ways, I do agree with you. While I don't know if I would call dining out "mundane", it certainly doesn't have that feeling it used to. You're right when you say that people have set their expectations too high.

It seems like nowadays, people always expect five star quality, and anything less than that isn't good enough. I'll also admit that I'm guilty of this as well. Using an example, about two years ago, I visited a restaurant called the Cheesecake Factory.

I had heard that it was one of the best restaurants, so I went in expecting some great quality. Needless to say, it left me rather disappointed. While the food was certainly good, on the other hand, perhaps I had gave into the hype a little too much. Times certainly have changed.

While dining out used to be a time where people would enjoy themselves and/or spend time with the family, in this day and age, it's simply a place people go because they're too lazy to make a meal at home, or it's because they live off of that food.

I'm definitely not discouraging anyone from eating out. On the other hand, one should take a look at how much eating establishments have changed since the 1700s.


Wow! While I did know that restaurants have been around for a long time, I didn't know that they dated back that far, especially in reference to people leaving tips. However, I'm sure one difference might have been that it was a bit less "sophisticated" than the establishments in this day and age. However, if that really is the case, then you definitely can't fault them.

After all, when new establishments open, or when something unfamiliar is introduced to the world, notice how it always seems rather difficult for people to find their footing. Policies are always changing, and things aren't usually consistent. However, despite these difficulties, people always adapt rather quickly, and what was once a new and fascinating experience has now become a way of life, and second nature.

In fact, in some ways, people have become so accustomed to dining out, that not only is it not a new experience anymore, but even more so, it's actually starting to become quite mundane. People have set their expectations way too high. Does anyone else agree?

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