A restaurant ( /ˈrɛstərənt/ or /ˈrɛstərɒnt/; ) is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money, either paid before the meal, after the meal, or with a running tab. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services. Restaurants vary greatly in appearance and offerings, including a wide variety of the main chef's cuisines and service models.
While inns and taverns were known from antiquity, these were establishments aimed at travelers, and in general locals would rarely eat there. Modern restaurants are dedicated to the serving of food, where specific dishes are ordered by guests and are prepared to their request. The modern restaurant originated in 18th century France, although precursors can be traced back to Roman times.
A restaurant owner is called a restaurateur ( /ˌrɛstərəˈtɜr/); both words derive from the French verb restaurer, meaning "to restore". Professional artisans of cooking are called chefs, while preparation staff and line cooks prepare food items in a more systematic and less artistic fashion.
Famous quotes containing the word restaurant:
“A restaurant with candles and flowers evokes more reveries than the Isle of Bali does.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)
“In a restaurant one is both observed and unobserved. Joy and sorrow can be displayed and observed unwittingly, the writer scowling naively and the diners wondering, What the hell is he doing?”
—David Mamet (b. 1947)
“A restaurant is a fantasya kind of living fantasy in which diners are the most important members of the cast.”
—Warner Leroy, U.S. restaurateur, founder of Maxwells Plum restaurant, New York City. New York Times (July 9, 1976)