A restaurant or 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. Restaurants vary greatly in appearance and offerings, including a wide variety of cuisines and service models ranging from inexpensive fast-food restaurants and cafeterias to mid-priced family restaurants, to high-priced luxury establishments.
In Western countries, most mid-to high-range restaurants serve alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine. Some restaurants serve all the major meals, such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner (e.g., major fast-food chains, diners, hotel restaurants, and airport restaurants).
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Other restaurants may serve only a single meal (for example, a pancake house may only serve breakfast) or they may serve two meals (e.g., lunch and dinner).
The restaurant as it is contemporarily understood did not exist until the end of the 18th century. Sitting down in a public restaurant specifically for a meal, with a waiter and a fixed menu is a relatively recent concept in culinary history. — Wyatt Constantine, Un Histoire Culinaire: Careme, The Restaurant, and the Birth of Modern Gastronomy.The first use of the word to refer to a public venue where one can order food is believed to be in the 18th century. In 1765, a French chef by the name of A. Boulanger established a business selling soups and other “restaurants” (“restoratives”).
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Additionally, while not the first establishment where one could order food, or even soups, it is thought to be the first to offer a menu of available choicesThe “first real restaurant” is considered to have been “La Grande Taverne de Londres” in Paris, founded by Antoine Beauvilliers in either 1782 or 1786 According to Brillat-Savarin, this was “the first to combine the four essentials of an elegant room, smart waiters, a choice cellar, and superior cooking” In 1802 the term was applied to an establishment where restorative foods, such as bouillon, a meat broth, were served (“établissement de restaurateur”)