Before newspapers started printing, news was passed by word-of-mouth.
Families would get messages from extended family members or close neighbors. Children brought home news told to them from unrelated children in school.
The other gathering spot was the church. To guarantee the families would attend, there were dinners. Families would cook and bring dishes which the entire congregation could dine. This also was a great location to share news.
Restaurants, taverns, delis, bistros, bars.... whatever the name, became an extension of the church social. They also became a location to dine in comfort and share news with friends.
Restaurants were varied and though the menus were similar, each had it's own individual personality. Some focused on ethic spices, some became havens for like minded people (which would later become private clubs), some were family oriented while others tended to the single crowd.
Once a comfortable setting was found, a restaurant became part of the family. The menu was familiar reading with all the essentials and a bit of flair and flavor. The preparation was the right portion and the delivery warm and welcoming.
Thought the food could be prepared at home, it was special to got to the restaurant, having a meal prepared and served, but there was a cost.
And for years, the same restaurant became a required dinning experience. The menu would slightly vary, but the management would save the old favorites and explain the changes were keeping up with the times.
But the times were changing.
Fast food, prepared quickly and cheaply to keep up with the fast paced activities of the modern family cut into the restaurant's clientele.
Then came delivery. Now the family could order from a restaurant menu's items prepared and delivered to the comfort of their own home.
Today restaurants are dropping, even with daily specials, extended menus, big screen televisions, and live music.
or perhaps the palette has changed.