Delmonico’s Pioneered the American Restaurant Experience as We Know It

Apr 16, 2019 144

BY: Jerry Finzi

Delmonico’s in New York City was the first establishment to use the name “restaurant.” They were the first restaurant to have printed menus. They were the first restaurant to offer a cookbook. They were the first restaurant to serve women sitting without men at their own table (how shocking!)

Delmonico’s was also the first dining establishment in America to price individual dishes à la carte, as was the custom in Paris. Before this, American inns served one price and only one dish–no menu. Everyone was charged the same fixed price whether they ate more or less than other patrons. They were also the first to open (for a while) the Delmonico Hotel, without the standard “room and board” pricing, but charged for room and meals separately.

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