RESTAURANT. This term was first used for an establish ment where refreshments and meals were provided by one Bou langer, or Champ d'Oiseau, who opened the first establishment of the kind in the rue des Poulies, Paris, about 1765. The success of the house was almost instantaneous, and brought imitators, other restaurants being opened by chefs and stewards who left their employers. A notable advance followed the Revolution, when ruined aristocracy could no longer afford large retinues. Amongst the early restaurants was one managed by Antoine Beauvilliers.
The "Ordinary."—The earliest predecessors in England of the modern restaurant were the old coffee-houses and taverns which had a daily "ordinary"—a mid-day dinner or supper, generally noted for a particular dish, and served at a common table at a fixed price and time. Some of the more ancient of these arose in the middle of the 17th century. The first coffee-house was opened in St. Michael's alley, Cornhill, by Pasqua Rosee, a Greek. This youth was the first to teach the method of roasting coffee and to introduce the drink into England.
Nearly Too years before it was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, the Castle ordinary, off Paternoster Row, was a great place for booksellers and literary men. It was rebuilt after the Great Fire, and attained its greatest fame as Dolly's Chop House, in Queen's Head Passage, Paternoster Row, when "Dolly," a pro prietress, introduced pretty serving maids in place of men. For 15o years it was famous for its beef steaks and gill ales, and among its customers were Fielding, Defoe, Smollett, Richardson, Swift, Dryden, Pope, Gainsborough and Handel. It was demol ished in 1885. Jonathan's Coffee House in Change alley, opened at the time of the South Sea Bubble speculation, was a luncheon rendezvous for stock jobbers long prior to the establishment of the Stock Exchange, and similarly Lloyds' Coffee House in Lombard street and Abchurch lane was the underwriters' headquarters and the cradle of Lloyds of to-day.
Other famous ordinaries were the Rainbow, in Fleet street, fre quented by Dr. Johnson, Boswell and other notables, the Old
Cock, Nando's, the Goose and Gridiron, also near St. Paul's, which, as the Mitre, was the first "musick house," and Simpson's Fish Dinner House, Bird-in-Hand court, Cheapside. The last named was founded in 1723. It served a 2/– "fish ordinary" of soup, three fish courses, haunch of mutton and cheese 200 years ago, and was doing the same in 1929. Though no ordinary is served there, the Cheshire Cheese in Fleet street retains the atmosphere, and the steak, kidney, lark and oyster pudding of the days of Dr. Johnson.
Reference to the "ordinaries" may be found as long ago as 1577 (Hollinshed). In the 17th century the more expensive or dinaries were frequented by men of fashion, and gambling usually followed, so that the term "ordinary," by which was understood either the establishment or the meal was then more synonymous with the gambling house than the tavern. In the early part of the 18th century, however, the character changed again, and the choice of such establishments was great in number and varied in quality. Steele in the Tatler (1709) refers to a board being hung out of a window announcing "an excellent ordinary on Saturdays and Sundays." In the Journey through England (1714) it is re marked, "At two we generally go to dinner. Ordinaries are not so common here as abroad yet the French have set up two or three good ones in Suffolk street, where one is tolerably well served." Pontack's was considered one of the finest, and Defoe says that dinner there cost from 4s. to 5s. each, or anything up to a guinea. In addition a man could "dive," take his food in a mixed company of footmen and chair men for 21c1., have a sausage at a "farthing fry," or go to one of the taverns where the real "ordinary," a very good dinner of several courses, was served at from 6d. to Is. Johnson records that he used to dine regularly for 7d. The usual hours for the meal were between 1 and 4, and there were 33 taverns serving ordinaries in the area between Threadneedle and Lombard streets and Gracechurch and Bishopgate streets.