Having eaten at restaurants all of our lives, most of us have never stopped to consider the origin of this noble and necessary institution. Tony, the mastermind behind our internationally renowned Civil Eats program recently informed me about the origins of the term restaurant and the first such places, French eateries that served nourishing soups.
We’re well into Soup Sunday here at the Civil Life and it’s high time we discussed something besides delicious beer. Restaurant derives from the French verb restaurer (to restore) and was first used in Paris in 1765, according to the OED.
A little place called Bouillon is widely considered to be the first modern restaurant. The name means “broth” or “stock” and the place opened in 1765. They served just soups: simple, hearty, nourishing meals served up in a single bowl.
Tony and Dave honor this tradition every Sunday at the Civil Life, serving three different soups, all lovingly prepared and designed to restore the hungriest diners. They come with crusty, locally baked bread and pair well with our beers, as well as our wines (three of which currently come from France).
The public house has a similar tradition, though what we think of as a pub traces its origin all the way back to the first century, when travelers on the new system of roads constructed in England by the Romans could stop and take refreshment at taverns opened for that purpose. What these travelers sought was a restorative.
Restaurants began to transform themselves into more elaborate and more expensive places that scarcely resembled their humble origins. At the Civil Life, we maintain the tradition of offering a comfortable place to get good, nourishing food and drink at an affordable price in good company.
That’s why you see so many of the same friendly faces when you stop into the Civil Life. Our neighborhood and our city have many souls in need of a restorative. Travelers, too, stop into our pub for restoration.
You may have heard us use the term “restorative pint.” “Restorative” itself refers to a drink that restores strength and health. We are confident that the unwholesome effects of whatever grueling labor you might be required to perform can be quickly reversed with one of our excellent ales.* On Sunday, allow restorative soups to prepare you for a new week of work. Tuesday through Saturday, stop in for a filling, affordable sandwich and a pint.
Whenever you might be in need of a restorative, call on your friends at the Civil Life. You’ll feel like a new person after a pint and a snack. Salut!
*The Civil Life makes no health claims relating to the consumption of alcohol. But we do whole-heartedly believe a trip to the pub can be quite good for your mental health and sharing pints with friends undoubtedly is a noble endeavor. We can make claims that eating food is important as without it you could just wither away. Perhaps a pint with that morsel for refreshment.
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.