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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 10, 2009

A “beanery” is the 19th-century term for a restaurant that serves inexpensive meals. The meals at a “beanery’ usually (but not always) include beans, such as bean soup or pork and beans.
The term “beanery” dates to at least 1874 and possibly originated in Cincinnati (OH) at “Loring’s Beanery.” Patrick Dolan opened a popular lunch counter on Park Row in New York City in 1865; Dolan’s place was called a “beanery,” but the date of the New York City usage is not certain.
(Historical Dictionary of American Slang)
beanery n. a cheap restaurant where beans are frequently served; (Joc.) a restaurant of any sort; (obs.) a boarding house.
1887 in OEDS: Go to, illustrious reader; get thee to a beanery.
1889 in Duis Saloon 90: it is cheaper to live at the barroom, than at the poor beaneries.
1899-1900 Cullen Tales 364: Every piker and beanery worker in San Francisco.
1902-1903 Ade 99: Once there was a home-like Beanery where one could tell the Day of the Week by what was on the Table.
1904 Life in Sing SIng 246: Restaurant.
1920 Ade Hand-Made Fables 38: A refined joint that was a cross between a salon and a beanery.
1931 Writer’s Digest (May) 41: Beanery Queen—Waitress.
1962 Time (Dec. 21) 44: Empty tables at the royal beanery.
1968 Simon Madigan (film): When I was grabbin’ a bite at a beanery, he was having sandwiches at the Stork Club.
1974 E. Thomson Tattoo 42: All sorts of guys they met at one or another pool hall or beanery.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: bean·ery
Pronunciation: \ˈbēn-rē, ˈbē-nə-\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural bean·er·ies
Date: 1887
: restaurant
(Oxford English Dictionary)
U.S. slang.
1887 Grip (Toronto) 26 Feb. 8/2 Go to, illustrious reader; get thee to a beanery.
1888 Texas Siftings 7 Jan. 4/2 In a beanery you get biscuit fresh from the nest, Canada grouse from New Jersey and immigrant waiters.
1894 San Francisco Midwinter Appeal 10 Feb. 4/1 Papa Peakers gave a baked bean blowout to..the Press Men at his beanery.
1933 HEMINGWAY Torrents of Spring I. v. 50 Inside the door of the beanery Scripps O’Neil looked around him.
1955 E. POUND Section: Rock-Drill xci. 74 The american beaneries.
1967 WODEHOUSE Company for Henry iv. 66 He used to wander around town trying to find some beanery where they’d have their own specials.
9 August 1874, Cincinnati (OH) Commercial Tribune, pg. 8 ad: 
14 November 1874, Cincinnati (OH)

, pg. 10 ad:
Loring’s Beanery
71 West Third Street
Bean Soup…10c.
Vegetable Soup…10c.
Pork and Beans…10c.
Stewed Tripe…10c.
Bread and Butter…5c.
D. LORING, Proprietor.
25 November 1874, Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, pg. 2:
Mayor Brown, of St. Louis, promises to start the soup house again this winter, if the papers will not ridicule him by calling the place “Brown’s Beanery,” etc.
2 May 1876, Macon (GA) Weekly Telegraph, pg. 4:
WHAT does the Constitutionalist mean by the establishment of a “beanery” in Macon?
Google Books
Once Upon a Times,
Or the romantic story of the life of Christopher Columbus

Lowell, MA: Stone, Bacheller & Livingston
Pg. 26:
There’s Isabelle would be my chaperone.
We’d live quite cheap on love and maccaroni.
I’m absolutely starving for a taste of foreign scenery.
Peace! thoughtless chatter-box! Go, get thee to a beanery!
26 November 1879, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Raising the Pile,” pg. 9:
He had wandered from the beanery on matinee day, and was “just lookin’ around to see what he could see.”
1 April 1883, New York (NY) Times, “At the Waiter’s Mercy,” pg. 13:
They are out of style at the swellest hotels and restaurants, though, and occupy a position about midway between the imported educated waiter and the attendant at a Bowery “beanery”—as the vulgar term those shocking little restaurants where you can get a dinner of eight courses for something like 25 cents.
2 June 1884, New York (NY) Times, “Weehawken Purges Itself,” pg. 8:
The Bowery and the down-town slums must have been deserted, for all the thieves, pick-pockets, “beanery” waiters, would-be prize-fighters, dance-house “bouncers,” Bleecker-street “statutes,” opium-den “steerers,” beer-saloon “sluggers” and bar-tenders, the slaughter-house employes from the cattle yards, the denizens, male and female, of that delightful locality known as Hell’s Kitchen, and, in fact, the lees of the city turned out and made their way across the water and away from the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police.
16 November 1884, New York (NY) Times, pg. 14:
They claim that the cheap restaurants like Flynn’s, or “beaneries,” as they call them, obstruct the ventilation, and that their kitchens give forth gases and heat, which…hasten the early decay of all perishable goods in the old market.
31 August 1886, St. Louis (MO) Globe-Democrat, pg. 10, col. 1L
“Waiters and Orders. Mysterious Language in New York Restaurants”
(From the New York Commercial Advertiser.)
At the “Beanery,” the famous Bohemian resort in St. Louis, baked beans are “brown the herb brown;” oysters fried are “the salt seas over,” or stewed, ‘a briny float,’ and a boiled chicken is “a fairy on
the iron.”
16 September 1903, Trenton (NJ) Evening News, pg. 5:
He Made Big Fortune Over Little
Quick Lunch Counter in Park
Row, New York

New York, Sept. 15.—Dolan’s beef and beans lunch room was closed Sunday night for the first time in nearly forty years. Patrick Dolan, its founder, was dead. He died at noon Sunday.
In 1865 Patrick Dolan opened a “beanery” as it became known at No. 3 Park Row, with a capital of $20. He prospered from the start.
Dining in Chicago
by John Drury
with a foreword by Carl Sandburg
New York, NY: John Day Company
Pg. 205: 
In the jargon of the man in the street, this counter lunch room is a “beanery.”


Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Coffeehouses/Food Stores • Friday, July 10, 2009 • Permalink

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