Restaurants That Changed America

Yale University

Yale Professor Paul Freedman specializes in the history of cuisine. Before joining the Yale faculty, he taught for eighteen years at Vanderbilt University where he was the Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center Fellow and was awarded Vanderbilt’s Nordhaus Teaching Prize. Since coming to Yale, Professor Freedman has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in History, Director of the Medieval Studies Program, Chair of the History Department, and Chair of the Program in the History of Science and Medicine.


The history of our nation’s restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. In this fascinating talk, food historian and professor, Paul Freedman, will chart the birth of our first restaurant, Delmonico’s in New York, the rise of our love of Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, and more, by using each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration, and assimilation. He’ll even treat us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered on-the-road dining–only to be swept aside by McDonald’s.



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Doug Schallau


Loved this subject. The presenter (Paul Freedman) was difficult to like.

2 years ago
Karen Simmons

Dr. Freedman was easy to listen to and was well-versed in how these restaurants changed America. I will appreciate restaurant dining even more because of his historical insights.

2 years ago
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