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Survey No. 4: Dining Out in Brooklyn

Hungry? How about some spare ribs and egg foo young, or what about that veal parmisian? Cheesecake at Junior's? Fine. Just don't mention the potted lamb or the corned beef at that Irish Pub nearby - absolutely no one else did... The scenario for a family dinner out in Brooklyn was most typically either Chinese or Italian, somewhere in the local neighborhood. Considering the large Irish population in the northwest corner of the borough, it was strange that there wasn't a single response that mentioned Irish food. Another anomaly was the low percentage of seafood afficianados in light of the enormous availability of fresh catch in the Sheepshead Bay vicinity. Of course, there wasn't much of a selection back then, compared with what's available today. No one seems to have eaten Indian, Thai, Mexican, Middle Eastern, or even French! And come to think of it, remember when Chinese was just "Chinese"? There weren't any Szechuan or Hunan restaurants around until the seventies.

As usual, I leave it to you to render your own analyses based on the returns. Thanks to everyone who participated.

The total number of unique, usable responses was 109.

When you lived in Brooklyn, how frequently did you dine at a restaurant with your family?

Only on special occasions1615%
Once or twice a month5551%
Once or twice a week3128%
More than twice a week55%

What type of food did you usually eat when you dined out?


The "others" were German and Vegetarian.

Where was the restaurant that you usually frequented?

Right around the corner1716%
In the neighborhood4743%
A short ride away2321%
On the other side of Brooklyn1615%
In another borough43%
Out of town22%

Compare the experience of dining out then vs. now.
(Multiple answers were allowed, so the sum of percentages will exceed 100.)

that agreed
Eating out was a special occasion then, but commonplace now.6156%
Eating out was commonplace then, but a special occasion now.44%
It was more of a hardship to eat out then.2826%
It's more of a hardship to eat out now.98%
We got more food for our money then.4541%
We get more food for out money now.109%
The food was better then.3431%
The food is better now.2725%
The service was better then.5550%
The service is better now.1413%
I preferred eating home then.55%
I prefer eating home now.3028%

Since you've left Brooklyn, have you ever gone back to eat there?


Do you think local Brooklyn restaurants were different from local restaurants anywhere?


Of the specific restaurants named, a few were mentioned more than once. They are:

Apparently, eating out was much more common in Brooklyn back then than it was in the Bronx, and certainly less of a hardship. An unusually large number of you continue to visit Brooklyn restaurants. What made the dining out experience different in Brooklyn was almost uniformly attributed to the waiters and waitresses:

Thanks again for participating. Our next survey topic will be Going to the Movies.

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