A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 26, 2011
Food Court

A “food court” is a grouping of food vendors, usually part of a larger shopping mall. The Rouse Company popularized food courts, with the March 1974-opened Paramus (NJ) Park shopping mall often getting the credit for being the first “food court.”

The name “food court” has been cited in print since at least 1978. Washington’s Seattle Center (opened in 1962) contained a “food circus,” and the Seattle (WA) Daily Times of September 13, 1974 called this a “food circus court” and then a “food court” in a list of events.


Wikipedia: Food court
A food court is a (usually) indoor plaza or common area within a facility that is contiguous with the counters of multiple food vendors and provides a common area for self-serve dining. Food courts may be found in shopping malls and airports, and in various regions (such as Asia and Africa) may be a standalone development. In some places of learning such as high schools and universities, food courts have also come to replace or complement traditional cafeterias.
(...)
History
The second-floor food court at the Paramus Park shopping mall in New Jersey, which opened in March 1974, has been credited as the first successful shopping mall food court. Built by The Rouse Company, one of the leading mall building companies of the time, it followed an unsuccessful attempt at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in 1971, which reportedly failed because it was “deemed too small and insufficiently varied.”

Wikipedia: James W. Rouse
James Wilson Rouse (April 26, 1914 - April 9, 1996), founder of The Rouse Company, was a pioneering American real estate developer, urban planner, civic activist, and later, free enterprise-based philanthropist. He is the maternal grandfather of actor Edward Norton.

Seattle Center
Seattle Center House offers affordable, casual dining featuring local and international cuisine, at restaurant outlets and a full-service restaurant on the food court level. You will find everything from apparel to crafts, gifts and Northwest souvenirs. The Center House also hosts many of Seattle Center’s Family Programs and Public Events. For more information please call (206)684-7200.

Center House History
Center House was originaly built in 1939 as the old Armory Building. It housed the 146th Field Artillery and its half-ton tanks. The basement of the Center House still has markings from the old firing range and an unfinished swimming pool intended for the recruits. In 1941, Duke Ellington played on stage for the University of Washington’s Junior Prom.

For the 1962 Worlds Fair, the Armory was reconfigured into the first vertical shopping mall, called the Food Circus. It just pre-dated Northgate Mall, which was the first indoor mall in the United States. In the early 1970’s, the Food Circus was renamed Center House after some minor renovations.

Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
food court noun
Definition of FOOD COURT
: an area within a building (as a shopping mall) set apart for food concessions
First Known Use of FOOD COURT
1982

(Oxford English Dictionary)
food court n. orig. U.S. an area in a shopping mall, airport terminal, etc., containing a variety of fast-food outlets and a shared seating area for their customers.
1979 Los Angeles Times 25 Mar. ix. 16/1 Under that will be a stairway down to the lower level *food court.
1992 Industry Week 6 Apr. 74/1 The arena’s food court, garage, and some other facilities will be open during non-event times to serve downtown office workers.

13 September 1974, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, Tempo, pg. 14, cols. 1-2:
SEATTLE CENTER
Circus Week. Food Circus Court, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free.
(...)
Circus Week. Food Court, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free.

Google News Archive
10 April 1978, Bowling Green (KY) Daily News, pg. 14?, col. 4:
GreenWood Mall will feature landscaped courts and an innovative “food court” in which all food specialty shops will surround a common seating area.

Google News Archive
28 April 1978, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, Capitol Court, pg. 15, col. 2:
This building will house about 12 new stores and a fast food court.
(Capitol Court shopping center—ed.)

18 July 1982, New York (NY) Times, pg. WC10:
Westchester/This Week (...) Food Court of The Galleria.

OCLC WorldCat record
Simply scrumptious.
Author: Food Court.; Highland Mall.
Publisher: [Austin, Tex.? : Highland Mall, 1984]
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The food court : Tampa Bay Center.
Author: Tampa Bay Center.
Publisher: [Tampa, Fla.] : Tampa Bay Center, 1985.
Edition/Format:  Book : English
Summary: This cookbook is a special limited edition commemorating the Grand Opening of The Food Court. It’s filled with dozens of delicious recipes from Tampa’s fine stores and restaurants at Tampa Bay Center. October 31, 1985.

OCLC WorldCat record
Food courts : how to develop a food court in your shopping center.
Author: International Council of Shopping Centers.
Publisher: New York : International Council of Shopping Centers, ©1987.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Google Books
Merchant of Illusion:
James Rouse, America’s salesman of the businessman’s utopia

By Nicholas Dagen Bloom
Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press
2004
Pg. 116:
He pioneered the food court to meet the needs of working women in the 1970s: “In two of the most productive centers we have grouped fifteen to twenty over-the-counter eating places around a clean, colorful, carnival-like court where men, women and children can find a wide variety of food, eat quickly, inexpensively, in an attractive environment.” The food fairs were the first food courts, and Rouse is generally credited with creating this now ubiquitous mall institution. These innovations emerged out of Rouse’s careful study of demographic trends and consumer habits.

(Trademark)
Word Mark THE FOOD COURT
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100. G & S: RESTAURANT SERVICES. FIRST USE: 19830930. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19830930
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73493405
Filing Date August 6, 1984
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition September 24, 1985
Registration Number 1374311
Registration Date December 3, 1985
Owner (REGISTRANT) ROUSE COMPANY, THE CORPORATION MARYLAND 10275 LITTLE PATUXENT PARKWAY COLUMBIA MARYLAND 21044
(LAST LISTED OWNER) GENERAL GROWTH PROPERTIES, INC. CORPORATION ILLINOIS 110 N. WACKER DRIVE CHICAGO ILLINOIS 60606
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record Michael B. McVickar
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “FOOD” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20060103.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20060103
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • (0) Comments • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 • Permalink