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 August 13, 2013
“Restaurants where they wait on you hand and foot charge you an arm and a leg”

Something that “costs an arm and a leg” is something that is expensive. A place that caters to customers “hand and foot” is a place that satisfies all of its customers’ cares. The idioms are often put together.

“Marc’s Big Boy is one place where you’ll be waited on hand and foot, without it costing you an arm and a leg” was cited in print in July 1977. “Ever Notice...that the only places where they wait on you hand and foot are where they charge you an arm and a leg? —Contributed by Vincent Gottschalk” was cited in Reader’s Digest in 1982. The combined idioms are often used when referring to restaurants or cruise lines.


Google News Archive
8 July 1977, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, Accent, pg. 9, col. 1 ad:
Marc’s Big Boy is one place where you’ll be waited on hand and foot, without it costing you an arm and a leg.

26 July 1978, Register-Republic (Rockford, IL), pg. A5, col. 2 ad:
Marc’s Big Boy is one place where you’ll be waited on hand and foot, without it costing you an arm and a leg.

Google News Archive
28 September 1980, The Press-Courier (Oxnard, CA), “Take a Second Look at Cruising,” Traveling Times, pg. 4, col. 1:
Even though you get waited on hand and foot, a cruise won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Google News Archive
24 September 1982, Spartanburg (SC) Herald, “The Stroller” by Seymour Rosenberg, pg. 1, col. 1:
Asks a woman shopper: “Have you ever noticed that the only places where they wait on you hand and foot are where they charge you an arm and a leg?”

Google News Archive
20 October 1982, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), :Doing The Charleston: by Ashley Cooper, pg. 1-B, col. 1:
RED O’DONNELL asks if you ever noticed that the only places where they wait on you hand and foot are where they charge you an arm and a leg.

28 November 1982, Seattle (WA) Times, pg. F8, col. 1 ad:
Pampered hand and foot on a Holland America Westours cruise—without paying an arm and a leg.

Google Books
The Reader’s Digest
Volume 120
1982
Pg. 84:
Ever Notice . . .
. . . that the only places where they wait on you hand and foot are where they charge you an arm and a leg? —Contributed by Vincent Gottschalk.

Google Books
January 1984, Orange Coast Magazine (CA), pg. 33, col. 1:
Western Cruise Lines offers three and four night cruises from Los Angeles to two ports, San Diego and Ensenada. You will get waited on hand and foot without having to pay an arm and a leg.

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The only restaurants where they wait on you hand and foot are where they charge you an arm and a leg. - Vincent Gottschalk #quotes
7:20 AM - 23 Jul 11

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Tuesday, August 13, 2013 • Permalink