Reporter seeks ads-l help on restaurant lingo

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Apr 15 21:50:45 UTC 2004

Below my signoff are two messages I received today from an Atlantic
City reporter seeking help on modern restaurant lingo ("restaurant
I recommended Barry Popik (about to leave on his travels) and more
broadly ads-l. Can anyone help her?

    Re: "86," isn't there an American Speech item connecting the term
with the number of stories of the Empire State Building--at one point
86--resulting in 86 being taken figuratively for "the end"? Would
someone know?

Gerald Cohen

message #1:
At 2:08 PM -0400 4/15/04, Nevitt, Cindy wrote:
>I am the food editor of The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey. I am
>working on a story about kitchen talk or restaurant shorthand, the language
>that develops between chefs, servers and cooks.
>86 means kill an order, out of an item, or I'm leaving
>Screamer: A disgruntled customer
>Homestyle: Made with fresh eggs instead of liquid eggs
>I was hoping you might be able to give me some insight as to how this kind
>of shorthand develops.
>Could I make arrangements to interview you tomorrow on this topic? Afternoon
>would be best for me. Please indicate a time and a phone number that work
>best for you, I will be glad to follow up.
>Thank you for your time. I look forward to speaking with you.
>Cindy Nevitt
>food editor
>The Press of Atlantic City
>11 Devins Lane
>Pleasantville, N.J. 08232
>(609) 272-7262
>e-mail cnevitt at

message #2, in response to my mentioning a few examples of "hashhouse lingo"
At 3:13 PM -0400 4/15/04, Nevitt, Cindy wrote:
>I am not looking for examples of outdated lingo, but current examples. We
>ran a story in 1989 saying colorful phrases like Adam and Eve on a raft went
>out of vogue when check orders were delivered to the kitchen instead of
>yelled to the kitchen. Today, with computer systems delivering "dupes" to
>the kitchen, there is even less yelling going on.
>What I am looking for is someone with some expertise in language to talk to
>me about how these types of shorthand develop. I have interviewed close to
>20 restaurants about the kitchenspeak that goes on in their establishments.
>Now I want an expert to tell me how that language evolved.
>My deadline is Monday. Saturday will work, depending upon the time. What's
>good for you?
>Thanks for Barry Popik's e-mail address. I will try to catch him before he
>flies the coop (is that food lingo?)

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