Appetite City

Friday, October 16, 2009

William Grimes, former restaurant critic for the New York Times, discusses the history of New York’s dining culture. His book Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York, takes us from the days of simple chophouses to the Automat to the city’s huge array of multicultural offerings of today.


William Grimes

Comments [15]

Lesli Hogan from Riverdale and bronx

My grandfather opened the first Dinner Brothel at 6485 Broadway. I wish you would right a book about that. I loved seving th edrumsticks

Nov. 16 2009 02:14 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Thanks to Rachelle & judy! I'm glad I checked the page again. I didn't realize there was a distinction in the names as well as the food itself. I wonder what the origin of the usage is--why "appetizing" for dairy & "delicatessen" for meat.

Oct. 16 2009 01:55 PM
Ray Normandeau from

Was cafeteria foods more nutritious then today's fast food.

Is it more ecologically friendly to serve fast food with all-disposable serving plastic and paper then to have washed utensils in cafeterias?

Do health regulations require washing of trays between uses? The cafeterias washed them!

Oct. 16 2009 01:17 PM
nycdeli from brooklyn, ny

just listening to your show and someone DID write a book on Jewish delis! Save the Deli author David Sax was on NPR earlier this week.

Oct. 16 2009 12:59 PM
judy from NYC

Appetizing did,and still does, refer to the dairy foods like smoked fish, herring, cream cheese, and such.

Oct. 16 2009 12:53 PM
Rachelle Arkin from United States

Appetizing refers to a fish and dairy store that would sell lox, herring in cream sauce, cheese and so on. Delicatession served meat. These were kosher establishment so that is the reason for the separation.

Oct. 16 2009 12:51 PM
Rebecca from Manhattan

Do you remember the very inexpensive Czech and Hungarian restaurants that used to serve roast duck with red cabbage and chicken paprikash. They were on upper east side. In the 60's and 70's, you could have a full meal for a few bucks. They were delicious.

Oct. 16 2009 12:51 PM
Gerald Fnord from Palos Verdes, CA

Cross-cultural fandom:

Whenever I see "the Godfather", I notice in one scene (they're waiting for word about the meet with Salazzo, I think) the table is _piled_ with Chinese takeout containers; my guess is that this is an accurate bit of attention to detail.

Also see:

Oct. 16 2009 12:44 PM
Dom from Lost in NJ

Glad you mentioned Luchow's. It was a real old world throwback. i took a date there way back in the 1970's and she and I) thought it was really elegant. I recall being told that they had liquor licence number 1.

Oct. 16 2009 12:41 PM
Leslie hogan from Riverdale, Bronx

My great-grandfather operated 2 steak & chop houses in Manhattan in the 1870's - 90's, Purcell's Steak and Chop Houses. One was on 9th Ave at 59th St. Has Mr. Grimes included the names of such restaurants in his book?

Oct. 16 2009 12:33 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Bill Grimes's mentioning how all the NY restaurants were using French reminds me of Ogden Nash's poem about the cabbie who strove to give his passengers a classier ride. It ends:

"In all this great city it is the only hack
In which the passengers are addressed as Mam'selle Sister and M'sieu Mac."

Oct. 16 2009 12:32 PM

How much of the restaurant dining experience in New York in the 19th century was in private clubs?

Oct. 16 2009 12:19 PM
kenneth from tenement town

What percent of a price of a meal goes to rent?

Has it increased or decreased?

Oct. 16 2009 12:06 PM
George from Bay Ridge

The cafeteria business may have died due to changing tastes and competition from fast food franchises. The automats, for example, were replaced with Burger Kings.

How has chain restaurants influenced local and regional cuisine?

What is the role of New York restaurants like Delmonicos on the American culinary scene? How has the development of a la carte restaurants in the city influence world cuisine?

Oct. 16 2009 11:31 AM
Alvin from Manhattan

My family owned a cafeteria in Union Square where the Heartland Brewery is today. It served a largely blue-collar clientele, back when the neighborhood had mostly industrial and discount retail businesses. That cafeteria closed many years ago for unique reasons, but I have a question: What killed the cafeteria business?

Oct. 16 2009 09:02 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.