“Eating-Houses in New-York.” (October 7, 1845) 


The New York Daily Tribune on October 7, 1845, published this round-up of the “pioneer” owners of New York City’s “eating houses,” restaurants that served meals all day. This was a relatively new concept at the time. Restaurants only became a part of New York’s social landscape in the antebellum period.


There are one hundred and twenty-three Eating Houses or Refectories in the City of New-York.—

Those establishments where oysters exclusively are kept are not included in this number; but we speak of those places only where breakfast, dinner and tea can be had at all hours. Of this number seventeen are in Broadway, fifteen in Nassau-street, ten in Fulton-street, seven in Catherine-street, six in West street, six in Water-street, four in Washington-street, four in Vesey-street, two in Chambers-street, two in Chatham-street, two in South-street, two in Canal-street, two in Grand-street, two in Spring-street. There are thirteen in Fulton Market, six in Washington Market, and the remaining twenty-three are scattered in various parts of the City.

These establishments give employment to nearly a thousand persons, of whom Irish and Germans form a large portion. The waiters are paid, the men from ten to twelve dollars, and the boys from six to seven dollars a month, their board and lodging included. The cooks get about eight and ten and the scullions of dish-washers about four to five dollars a month. In some of these Eating-Houses, the hands are kept at work for about fifteen and sixteen hours of out of the twenty-four. This is generally the case in the tip-top establishments, where the busiest time is in the evening.—

These places seldom close before one and two o’clock in the morning: but as a general rule, the cheap Eating-Houses close between eight and ten in the evening. We present the following brief account of those individuals who have been the pioneer caterers of the Eating-Houses of our City.

George W. Browne started his celebrated eating establishment in Water-street about twenty-six years ago. It is now, and always has been, a great resort for the merchants down town. His carriage is drawn by greys.

Clark & Brown first started an establishment in Gold-street, and about twenty-three years since moved to Maiden-lane, where they now are.

Wm Pearsall commenced about twenty-three years since under the Fulton Market. He is still to be found at his old stand.

Stephen Holt commenced an eating establishment about twenty years ago on the corner of Fulton and Water streets. He kept what is called a ‘Shilling Plate and Two Shilling Ordinary.’ He built the splendid Hotel formerly called ‘Holt’s Hotel.’ but now known as the ‘United States Hotel.’ Holt has lately started a new Eating-House on the corner of Fulton and Nassau streets, upstairs. 

Delmonico opened his capacious and splendid establishment on the corner of South William and Beaver streets, in 1827. His place was burnt in the great conflagration of 1835, and came very near being again destroyed during the late fire of July last. This is a very fashionable resort for the French and Germans.

Hugh Pattinson started an eating establishment about fifteen years since, on the corner of Ann and Nassau streets, where Green & Mercer now are.—

He has retired from the business, and resides on a farm near Plainfield, N. J.

Daniel Sweeney, whose fame has extended far and wide, and who is looked upon as the father of the cheap eating establishments, started his business about ten years ago in Ann street, where he still continues. He is accounted one of our ‘rich men.’

John Johnson started an oyster establishment about fifteen years since, on the corner of Dutch and Fulton streets, and about ten years ago he opened the establishment in Fulton-street where Gunter now is. Johnson has lately opened another establishment formerly occupied by John Sweeney.

Gosling commenced in Fulton-street, about six years since. He remained there about two years and then moved to Nassau street where he now is. His is an American and French Restaurant.

John Florence, started his establishment about ten years since in Broadway, next door, but one, to the American Hotel. A few years since he opened another one at the corner of Broadway and Lispenard sts.; but has lately retired from it.

Ephraim Sweeney, a brother of Daniel Sweeney, opened his establishment in Chatham-street, about three years since. He has lately enlarged it, and made it very popular.

Thomas Downing —at the mention of whose name one thinks of oysters served up in Downing’s inimitable style—opened his ancient and celebrated establishment about thirty years since in Broad-st. His establishment in Broadway was opened about three years ago. He has another oyster saloon in the upper part of Broadway. We are told that Downing pays taxes on $90,000 real estate.

Alexander Welsh, more familiarly known as “Sandy Welsh,” has in his day occupied quite a prominent position among those who are fond of the good things of this life. ‘Sandy’ opened the ‘Terrepin Lunch’ under the American Museum in 1830. He kept this establishment until 1840. The next year got to be a Temperance man, and now he is to be found in the rostrum, an advocate of the temperance pledge. He is now in his fifty-second year, and as one who has gone through the mill—been styled the “Prince of Rum-sellers”—his arguments in favor of Temperance are entitled to especial consideration.

Chas. Parker started ‘the John-st. Coffee House,’ No. 18 J[?] st. in the year 1832. This establishment is generally known as the Buckwheat-Cake House.

S. Brown commenced his Eating Establishment about fifteen years ago at No. 51 Nassau st. and has gone on very quietly, but quite successfully.

APA Citation:
Tribune, New York Daily.  “Eating-Houses in New-York.” (October 7, 1845) . (2022, November 01). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Tribune, New York Daily. " “Eating-Houses in New-York.” (October 7, 1845) " Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (01 Nov. 2022). Web. 19 Jun. 2024
Last updated: 2023, September 11
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