People use many slang words for restaurants. Whether you’re an industry veteran or a newbie, these terms will be useful when discussing restaurants.
In this article, you’ll learn about different types of restaurants and the slang words associated with them.
Slang Words For Restaurants
It’s not just the food that makes a restaurant memorable—it’s also the unique vocabulary.
Every establishment has slang words that make up its culture, from the servers to the cooks.
Here are some common slang words for restaurants and what they mean.
1. Fast Food Joints:
Fast food joints are restaurants that specialize in fast food. It includes hamburgers, fries, and other quick, affordable meals.
These restaurants are often used for a quick bite when on the go. These establishments are called “burger joints” or “fry shacks” in slang.
The phrase “eatery” is another slang term for restaurant. This term can refer to a wide variety of restaurants.
It includes fast food joints and sit-down establishments.
3. Greasy Spoons:
A “greasy spoon” is one of the slang words for restaurants. It refers to a small, informal restaurant.
These restaurants serve traditional diner dishes like burgers and fries.
These types of restaurants are typically more affordable than other types of eateries. They are often filled with locals.
A diner is a type of restaurant that typically specializes in American-style cuisine.
For example, food like burgers, fries, and breakfast items.
These restaurants often have a retro vibe due to their décor and traditional menu offerings.
In slang, diners are referred to as “greasy spoons,” “eateries,” or “dive restaurants.”
5. Fine Dining Restaurants:
Fine dining restaurants are upscale establishments that specialize in high-end cuisine.
These restaurants have an extensive menu featuring gourmet dishes and a focus on presentation.
In slang, these restaurants are called “fancy restaurants” or “white tablecloth places.”
6. Take-out Restaurants:
Take-out restaurants are established restaurants.
These specialize in serving food for customers to take home and eat instead of being eaten in the restaurant itself.
In slang, these eateries may be called “takeaway” or “take-out places.”
7. Fast Food Restaurants:
Fast food restaurants are establishments that specialize in serving fast, inexpensive meals.
Popular menu items at these eateries include burgers, fries, and other fried foods.
In slang, fast-food restaurants are called “fast-food joints” or “junk food places.”
8. Family Restaurants:
Family restaurants are establishments that specialize in serving food for the entire family.
They usually have various menu items, such as burgers, salads, and pasta dishes.
In slang, family restaurants may be called “family-style places” or “sit-down restaurants.”
Cafes are establishments that specialize in serving coffee and pastries.
They also offer light meals such as sandwiches, salads, and soups. In slang, cafes may be called “coffee shops” or “cafeteria-style places.”
Pubs specialize in serving alcoholic beverages and a variety of bar food.
Menu items at these eateries typically include burgers, wings, and other finger foods. In slang, pubs may be referred to as “bars,” “taverns,” or “watering holes.”
11. Food Trucks:
Food trucks are establishments on wheels. These are specialized in serving fast food to customers.
Popular menu items at these eateries include tacos, sandwiches, and street food-style dishes.
In slang, food trucks may be called “roach coaches” or “mobile kitchens.”
Bistros are a restaurant specializing in serving casual fare with a French influence.
Menu items at these eateries typically include salads, pasta, and other light dishes. In slang, restaurants may be called “brasseries” or “diners.”
13. Buffet Restaurants:
Buffet restaurants are establishments that specialize in serving a variety of dishes.
It includes dishes from which customers can choose what and how much they want to eat.
Popular menu items include salads, appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and desserts. In slang, buffet restaurants may be called “all-you-can-eat” or “smorgasbords.”
14. Fast-Casual Restaurants:
Fast-casual restaurants specialize in serving food with higher quality than fast-food restaurants.
Popular menu items at these eateries include salads, wraps, and other light dishes. In slang, fast-casual restaurants may be called “quick service” or “fast and fresh.”
Slang Words Used In Restaurants & Their Meaning
There is a different language used in restaurants. The staff knows the meaning of each phrase and word used there.
Here are some of the common slang words used in the restaurants and their meanings:
1. Fire It:
“Fire it” is another term commonly heard in restaurant kitchens. This phrase refers to when a dish is ready to be cooked or served.
It is usually accompanied by a bell ringing or a shout from the chef.
This lets everyone in the kitchen know that a particular dish is ready to be cooked or served.
2. Turn Table:
A turn table is used in restaurants to keep food warm until it is served.
This equipment has an electric coil below the surface that helps keep food at a steady temperature without overcooking or burning.
The turn table is also used to organize plates before they are served.
3. Food Runner:
A food runner is a server who delivers dishes from the kitchen to the tables.
The food runner typically checks on each table throughout the meal. They will often clear away empty plates or refill drinks as needed.
This position requires an eye for detail, as all dishes must be delivered to the right table.
4. On The Fly:
The phrase “on the fly” is used in restaurants to describe a situation that needs to be handled quickly.
In these situations, cooks and servers must act fast to ensure that all orders and customers are satisfied.
This phrase refers to any unexpected changes or additions to an order that must be handled without disrupting the service flow.
The term “86” is used in restaurants to denote an item that is out of stock and cannot be served.
This phrase originated from Delmonico’s restaurant in New York.
The number “86” was written on the menu to indicate that a dish was unavailable.
This phrase has since been adopted by restaurants worldwide and is often used as code for “out of stock”.
6. Mise en Place:
Mise en place is a French phrase that translates to “everything in its place”. This phrase is commonly used in restaurants.
It describes preparing ingredients and utensils before service.
This preparation includes washing produce, chopping vegetables, measuring ingredients, and organizing dishes before the dinner rush begins.
Mise en place ensures that all dishes will be prepared quickly and efficiently during service.
The hearth is a large brick oven for cooking pizzas and other baked dishes.
This oven provides a steady heat that produces food quickly and evenly. It allows the chef to cook multiple dishes simultaneously.
The hearth is also an essential part of many restaurants. It helps to create a unique atmosphere and adds authenticity to the cuisine being served.
8. Plate Up:
The term “plate up” is used to describe the process of assembling a dish before it is served to a customer.
This phrase often refers to putting together the components of a dish.
For example, adding vegetables, sauces, and side dishes into a pleasing presentation on a plate or bowl.
Plate-up ensures that all dishes are prepared correctly before being sent to customers.
Expediting is an important process in restaurants. It ensures that all dishes are sent out to customers simultaneously.
An expediter, or “expo”, keeps the kitchen running smoothly. It can be done by ensuring that all ingredients and utensils are prepared and organized.
They communicate with the cooks to ensure that all dishes are cooked and served promptly.
In cooking, “firing” refers to adding food to a hot pan. This is an essential technique in restaurants.
It helps quickly create flavors and textures. Firing can also refer to sending out an order from the kitchen to the customer.
The phrase is often combined with words such as “fire a dish” or “fire an order”.
Using slang words for restaurants makes it easier to understand different types of restaurants.
You can talk about various restaurants by familiarizing yourself with these slang words.
From greasy spoons to fine dining restaurants, there’s sure to be a slang word for any restaurant you can think of.
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