Danielle Dimartino Booth Blog | The Weekly Quill — Leveraged Sell Out | Talkmarkets
President at Money Strong, LLC; Former Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
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Called "The Dallas Fed's Resident Soothsayer" by D Magazine, Danielle DiMartino Booth is sought after for her depth of knowledge on the economy and financial markets. She is a well-known speaker who can tailor her message to a myriad of audiences, once spending a week crossing the ... more

The Weekly Quill — Leveraged Sell Out

Date: Friday, August 7, 2020 12:17 PM EST

Private Equity & Restaurants' Decline

Long before there was even a debate as to which Parisian eatery, Boulanger or Rose de Chantiseau came first, or La Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs was there to guide those seeking gastronomical delights, ancient civilizations were dishing it up to satisfy sustenance-seeking souls. The Greco-Roman era featured thermopolia, cook shops that served hot and cold foods and calida, mulled spiced wine from earthenware jars. These establishments could serve simple limited fare such as lentils, meats and cheeses. Or they could be refined, elegant settings with al frescoed walls ensconcing the patrons. Though the history is sketchy, some of these establishments also became magnets for less savory pursuits. 

That brings us Far East and forward a millennium or so to Kaifeng and Hangzhou, Chinese urban centers circa 1100 A.D. densely packed with more than one million inhabitants each. Trade between these northern and southern capitals was bustling, naturally generating hordes of hungry tradesmen. To the diners, the menu was positively ethnic, so little did it resemble that of their respective native cuisines to the north or south. Luckily, for the weary traveler, there were other more exotic far-from-home comforts to be found in the sensual smorgasbords of the bustling entertainment districts these trading Meccas offered.

But a true établissement gastronomique? That does indeed take us back to the hotly debated Mssrs. Boulanger and de Chantoiseau. As legend has it, the French Revolution produced a surplus of gourmet chefs with fewer job opportunities given their former in-home patrons had been hauled off to the guillotine. Being upstanding experts of their crafts, all meals then and now began with a simple base of bouillon, or in the case of one Monsieur Boulanger, pieds de mouton à la sauce poulette, or sheep’s feet in a white sauce. As recounted in the bible of French gastronomy, Larousse Gastronomique, in 1765, the first known signage proclaimed “Boulanger débite des restaurants divins,” (“Boulanger sells restoratives fit for the gods.”) Etymological and Biblical perfectionists alike appreciate that “restaurant” is derived from the French verb restaurer, the literal meaning of which is “to restore life,” as in “the bread of life” for which we rightly give thanks.

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