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 January 19, 2010
“From hell to breakfast”

Entry in progress—B.P.

Urban Dictionary
from hell to breakfast
1. Thouroughly, vigorously, and violently.
2. From one end of the earth to the other.
Forest Gump ran from hell to breakfast.
by Light Joker Jun 17, 2004

from hell to breakfast
Farmer’s phrase referring to the hours they were out early (sunrise) working in the fields before breakfast.
The time spent working , often in unpleasant conditions, before breakfast. If the work was easy or pleasant, there would be no need for hell reference.
I plowed the new potato field from hell to breakfast.
I worked on the project from hell to breakfast.
I have the hell to breakfast schedule.

by MrPeabody Oct 25, 2007

Dictionary of American Regional English
hell-to-breakfast, from adv phr Less freq from hell to bush (or Harlem); for addit varr see quots chiefly Nth, West CF hell-for-breakfast
1. Helter-skelter; in all directions.
1942 Berrey-Van den Bark Amer. Slang 44.7, ..from hell to breakfast.
1966-68 DARE (Qu. MM12a,..“He shot into a flock of birds and they went ____”) Infs TX5, WY4, Scattered from hell-to-breakfast; NY92, Scattered from hell to Harlem; (Qu. MM12b,..“She broke her beads and they went ____”) Infs ID4, OR10. (Flying) from hell-to-breakfast.
1975 Gould ME Lingo 130, Hell to breakfast—One of numerous Maine terms for the general surroundings in all directions. “All over hell’s kitchen” is another.
2. Thoroughly, decisively, violently.
1928 Asbury Gangs 345, Policemen..clubbed the Gophers..from hell to breakfast.
1942 Berrey-Van den Bark 24.19, Completely, utterly, thoroughly..from..hell to breakfast.
1946 White Autobiog. 159 KS, God-damning me from hell to breakfast.
1959 Robertson Ram 51 ID (as of c1875), I helped run the sons-of-bitches out of Missouri, and I cheered when a lot of the bastards were massacred...I fought ‘em from hell to bush.
3. For a considerable distance or long time.
1939 (1962) Thompson Body & Britches 499 NY, All the way from hell to breakfast, or, hell to Harlem.
1959 VT Hist. new ser 27.141, From Hell to breakfast...A long distance...Also, to Hell and breakfast. Occasional.
1967 DARE (Qu. A24, Speaking of someone who has always been the same way: “He’s been hot-tempered from ____”) Inf CO27, Hell-to-breakfast.
1972 NYT Article Letters ME, Do people besides us Down-Easters “go from Hell to Hackony”?
1985 Ladwig How to Talk Dirty 12 Ozarks, It went from hell to breakfast.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
hell, n. and int.
orig. and chiefly U.S. from hell to breakfast: for a very long way; everywhere; to a very great extent.
1862 M. MARVIN Diary 15 Dec. in B. E. Wiley Billy Yank (1952) 78 Scattered from Hell to Breakfast.
1948 C. RICE Big Midget Murders i. 6 The radio singers and theater managers and cowboy yodelers and city editors, stretched clear from hell to breakfast and back again.
1970 A. FRY How People Die xxiv. 212, I lost my temper and I chewed that poor guy out from hell to breakfast.
2005 Seattle Times (Nexis) 27 May H37 She never saw the point of a seatbelt and the cops said her..body was thrown from hell to breakfast down the narrow highway.

4 August 1880, Indianapolis (IN) Sentinel, pg. 4:
“My business manager, who is one of the leading Democrats of this city, says that I will rip up my old party from hell to breakfast.”

9 January 1881, Macon (GA) Weekly Telegraph, pg. 4:
“I kin lick the whole town from hell to breakfast, and I believe I’ll start in on this deadfall.”

Google Books
Reminiscences of Quincy, Illinois, containing historical events, anecdotes, matters concerning old settlers and old times, etc.
By Henry Asbury
Quincy, IL: Wilcox & Sons, printers
1882
Pg. 60:
“[H]e will catch you betwixt de head an’ de shoulda, like a ground hog catch a chicken, an’ he will jerk you from hell to breakfast time, ah; he will haul off you’ shirt an’ heap live coals of fiah upon you’ bare back, an’ you will writhe, an’ screw, an’ work yourself, an’ snort like a hoss, ah.”

9 November 1889, Kalamazoo (MI) Gazette, “What Waterson Says,” pg. 4: 
It is a democratic cyclone from Cape Cod to Kalamazoo, from Alpha to Omaha, from hell to breakfast!
(Henry Waterson in the Louisville Courier-Journal—ed.)

Google News Archive
4 March 1890, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 1, col. 1:
Life aboard the Enterprise for the officers and men was described by one of tho officers as having been one continual round of “from hell to breakfast and back again.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, January 19, 2010 • Permalink