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Boulanger and the restaurant: the snowballing of a myth

For centuries it was accepted that the restaurant was founded in 1765 by a certain Boulanger. And that is still the account readers will find in many sources. But in fact it is now firmly established that Mathurin Roze de Chantoiseau founded it in 1767. Knowing this, it is piquant to view the ways in which the Boulanger myth – as it can only be called – not only was born but developed over the years.
Did Boulanger even exist? In fact, no period record documents even that basic fact. His name first appears long after the first restaurant itself, in a classic work by Pierre Jean-Baptiste Le Grand d’Aussy from 1782: Restorants [restaurans] gave rise to Restorers [Restaurateurs]. This is an establishment which came about in Paris towards 1765, and which was thought up by a certain Boulanger, who lived on the rue des Poulies. On his door, he had put this motto, which was a not very respectful application of a very respectable book: Venite ad me omnes qui stomacho laboratis, et ego restaurab…

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