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Restaurant RepublicThe Rise of Public Dining in Boston$
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Kelly Erby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691302

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691302.001.0001

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Roast, Chop Suey, and Beer

Roast, Chop Suey, and Beer


(p.83) Chapter 4 Roast, Chop Suey, and Beer
Restaurant Republic

Kelly Erby

University of Minnesota Press

The fourth chapter discusses how, in the last decades of the century, as shifting mealtimes successfully postponed the main meal until after the workday was complete, a wider range of mixed-gender cafés opened that specialized in providing more relaxed evening meals to working- and middle-class Bostonians eager to take advantage of new opportunities for commercialized leisure. Many establishments, owned by the city's now even more heterogeneous population of immigrants, specialized in “ethnic” or foreign foods, fostering ethnic-class enclaves within a larger urban environment. Indeed, opening a restaurant represented an entrée to entrepreneurship and an avenue of economic mobility for immigrant proprietors. The city's growing assortment of ethnic restaurants helped to expose Bostonians of all backgrounds to new tastes and dining rituals. Throughout the nineteenth century, Boston's restaurants thus contributed to a dynamic consumer-oriented public culture and shaped a new understanding of the role of difference in American society and culture.

Keywords:   Food, Culinary History, Boston, Nineteenth Century, Consumption, Restaurants, Café, Class, Race and Ethnicity, Immigration

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