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Food, Space, and Place in a Global Society

Edited By Carlnita P. Greene

Foodscapes explores the nexus of food, drink, space, and place, both locally and globally. Multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary in scope, scholars consider the manifold experiences that we have when engaging with food, drink, space, and place. They offer a wide array of theories, methods, and perspectives, which can be used as lenses for analyzing these interconnections, throughout each chapter. Scholars interrogate our practices and behaviors with food within spaces and places, analyze the meanings that we create about these entities, and demonstrate their wider cultural, political, social, economic, and material implications.

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3. The Restaurant: A Perfect Collision of Public and Private? (Ryan S. Eanes)


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3.  The Restaurant: A Perfect Collision of Public and Private?


No matter what part of the country you find yourself in, the restaurant has become an integral part of modern American life. There are more than one million eateries in the United States alone, running the gamut from dusty rural greasy spoons to opulent formal dining rooms; together, generating hundreds of billions of dollars in sales annually,1 it is safe to say that the restaurant has become an integral part of modern life. The chances are good that you visited a restaurant at least once; according to Gallup, six out of ten Americans dine out at least once in the past week, and 16% eat out three or more times every week.2

A significant number of our restaurant visits are to take-out and drive-thru restaurants, places from which we are likely to buy food to eat elsewhere; these types of establishments generated just under half of all restaurant revenues as of 2015.3 These “quick service” restaurants are perhaps the closest extant relatives to the very first eating establishments that date back to the 1300s: roadside stands or market stalls that similarly sold food to be consumed elsewhere.4 But it is the sit-down restaurant—those dining rooms that operate outside of our own homes, where we can take a break from cooking, serving, and cleaning—that generates over half of all restaurant revenue; these types...

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