Before the famous Delmonico’s restaurant opened in New York City in 1845, there were no restaurants in the United States as we know them today. There were, however, “eating houses.” Detroit had its share, usually attached to saloons, where food was served, often to encourage more drinking.
Eating houses featured specialties like “all-you-can- eat” oysters or green turtle soup; they usually announced “a good accommodation for victuals” such as soup, potatoes, beef, ham and so forth. Nevertheless, complaints about the food were common. With the famous French chef and cooking instructor Professor Pierre Blott moving to New York City and becoming America’s first celebrity chef by 1865, Detroit newspaper editorials hoped that students of chef Blott could “relieve the country from the reproach of having but one gravy.”
The article by Bill Loomis, “Dining and drinking in Old Detroit; From nickel meals to elaborate dinners, Detroit’s restaurants and saloons were the hangouts of their day”, Detroit News, January 22, 2012, is no longer available online.
But the photos are.