60 Words for Types of Restaurants

By Mark Nichol - 3 minute read

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This post lists dozens of words, many adopted from foreign languages that describe a specific type of restaurant. (Restaurant itself stems from a Latin verb meaning “restore.”)

1. bar: an establishment where liquor and sometimes food are served
2. bar and grill: an establishment that features a bar but also serves food
3. barroom: see bar
4. beanery: slang for an informal restaurant
5. bistro (French, “proprietor of a tavern”): a small, informal restaurant, bar, or nightclub
6. boîte (French, “box”): see nightclub
7. brasserie (French, “brewery”): an informal restaurant, often one serving French food
8. buffet (French, “counter”): a self-serve restaurant; also, in British English, a small informal restaurant at a railway station
9. cabaret (French; ultimately from Latin camera, “chamber”): a restaurant that serves liquor and features live entertainment; also, the entertainment at such an establishment
10. café (French, “coffee”): a small, informal restaurant
11. cafeteria (American Spanish, “coffeehouse”): see luncheonette; also, an informal, self-serve restaurant
12. caff (British English slang for café): see café
13. canteen: a snack bar or small cafeteria; also, a bar or store at a military post, an informal social club, a flask for carrying liquids, or a chest for carrying or storing bottles or utensils
14. chophouse: slang for restaurant
15. coffee shop: a small, informal restaurant
16. coffee room: see coffeehouse
17. coffeehouse: an informal establishment that serves coffee and often refreshments
18. delicatessen (German, “delicacy”): an establishment where already-prepared food is sold and sometimes served; often abbreviated to deli
19. diner: an informal restaurant, originally one resembling a dining car on a train
20. drive-in: a restaurant, usually one serving fast food, that serves food ready to eat in one’s parked car or packaged to take home
21. eatery: see luncheonette
22. eating house: an informal restaurant, often one serving inexpensive and/or mediocre food
23. estaminet (French, “tavern”): see café
24. fast-food place: an informal establishment where prepared food is served quickly
25. food court: an area within a shopping mall with multiple fast-food restaurants
26. food truck: a truck or van that serves prepackaged food or food cooked in the vehicle
27. greasy spoon (American slang, from the notion of a place with unclean eating utensils): see “eating house”
28. grill: an informal restaurant
29. grillroom: see grill
30. hamburger stand: a small fast-food restaurant specializing in hamburgers
31. hash house: an inexpensive restaurant
32. hashery: see “hash house”
33. hot dog stand: a small fast-food restaurant specializing in hot dogs
34. inn: see tavern; also, sometimes one offering lodging
35. joint: slang for an informal restaurant or bar; also, slang for prison or a disreputable entertainment venue, and has multiple other unrelated meanings
36. lunch counter: see luncheonette; also, a counter inside a store at which food is served
37. lunch wagon: see diner
38. luncheonette: a small restaurant that offers lunch, often self-serve
39. lunchroom: see luncheonette; also, a room at a school for eating lunch sold there or brought from home
40. nightclub: an establishment serving food and drink and featuring live entertainment
41. nightspot: see nightclub
42–43. nitery (or niterie): see nightclub
44. pizzeria (Italian, “place where pizza is served,” from pizza, “bite”): a restaurant where pizzas and other Italian dishes are served
45. pothouse: see tavern; also, as “pot house,” a house where marijuana is grown and/or sold
46. pub (short for “public house”): see tavern
47. rathskeller (obsolete German, “council cellar,” from its origins as an establishment in the cellar of a town hall): a restaurant or tavern, usually one located in a basement
48. ristorante (Italian, “restaurant”): a restaurant serving Italian food
49. roadhouse: an establishment outside city limits that may serve food as well as liquor and features live or recorded music
50. saloon: see bar
51. supper club: see nightclub
52. snack bar: an establishment at which snacks are served at a counter
53. soda fountain: an establishment or area within a store for serving beverages, ice cream, and sometimes food
54. steakhouse: a restaurant specializing in beef dishes
55. taqueria (Spanish, “place where tacos are served”): an informal restaurant serving Mexican food
56. tavern: an establishment where liquor and sometimes food are served
57. tea shop (British English): see teahouse
58. teahouse: a restaurant where tea and refreshments are served
59. tearoom: see teahouse
60. trattoria (Italian, “establishment of a restaurateur,” from a word for “treat”): a small restaurant, usually one serving Italian food

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5 Responses to “60 Words for Types of Restaurants”

  • D.A.W.

    Rathskeller (“obsolete German”) – spelled “Ratskeller” in German.
    Oh well, we still have Rathskellers in the U.S.A. and in Canada. You need to look for them in places like Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Toronto. Look for names like “Der Alte Potsdam Rathskeller” and “Der Wunderbar Wiener Ratskeller”,
    just like you would go looking for “The Great Wall of China”, “The Peking Palace”, and “Arrivaderche Roma!”
    The German word for “city hall” is “Rathause”, too!

  • D.A.W.

    burger house, chuckwagon, dog house, hibachi house, pancake house, slophouse.

  • D.A.W.

    mess hall, officer’s mess.

  • D.A.W.

    A “food truck” is also called — with a sense of irony, humor, or cruelty — a “garbage truck”. In Los Angeles, these often appeared at large construction sites, factories, and office complexes. One company had hundreds of such trucks, and painted on the outsides in bright, red letters was CALL 213 – HOT – FOOD, for when you had a site that needed a “garbage truck” to visit daily.

  • D.A.W.

    chow house, chow line, dining hall, food bar, spaghetti bar.

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