Thermopolia- A Time-Honored Tradition

ECI Management GroupAt ECI Management Group, we know the importance of enjoying healthy, fresh meals made from scratch with high quality, seasonal ingredients that satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Our meals are well balanced, nutritional and superb, catering to students of all ages as well as corporations, cafes, bistros and coffeehouses.


Our Mission

Our mission is to provide worry-free meals so you don’t have to be concerned about whether you’re eating healthy foods; instead we want you to focus on the enjoyment of dining. This is why here at ECI Management Group we offer food and nutrition education as well as free recipes to inspire healthy cooking at home too!

The History of Dining

ECI Management Group is continuing a time-honored tradition of serving top-notch food to hungry diners that stretches back to ancient Rome, where thermopolia provided a public place to eat and socialize. A combination of a restaurant and a bar, a thermopolia featured L-shaped counters containing sunken storage vessels of food both hot and cold. Historians have found evidence that Pompeii once contained 158 thermopolia.

Dining History in Europe

In ancient China, restaurants evolved out of teahouses and taverns in Kaifeng, China’s northern capital during the first half of the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279). Restaurants offered an array of cuisine styles as well as price ranges and catered to a variety of religious requirements.

In England, medieval taverns and cookshops served meals to travelers and pilgrims, usually just one dish offered at a fixed time and price. The cookshop provided take out food, mostly cooked meat, and also served food to diners. By the 16th century in England, taverns had become men’s clubs, serving fixed price meals along with wine, ale and tobacco. The Falcon, popular with actors, and The Mermaid, a favorite haunt of Shakespeare, were two of London’s famous Elizabethan taverns.

A Restaurant Is Born In France

But it was in France where a soup vendor named Boulanger opened the first restaurant, in 1765, offering diners a selection of dishes rather than a single “table d’hote” entree. He called his establishment a restaurant because it served restoratives of hot soups and broths. The idea took root and soon, Paris had hundreds of restaurants, including one that offered nearly 200 dishes a day.

Antoine Beauvilliers opened the first luxury restaurant, Le Grande Taverne de Londre, in Paris in 1782, offering an elegant room, savvy waiters, a fine wine cellar and superb food. After the French Revolution, skilled cooks who had worked for the aristocracy found themselves out of work, and many opened their own restaurants. By 1804, Paris had more than 500 restaurants, including The Wry, which served 12 soups, 24 fish dishes, 20 mutton dishes and 15 beef dishes.

Women Eating In Public!

In England, the first teahouse opened in 1884, initially serving tea and then adding full meals. Teahouses were the first places that women could eat in public without a male escort. The lower classes ate cheaply at dives, so named because they were opened in underground locations.

17th Century US Dining

In the U.S., the first restaurants opened in Philadelphia in the late 17th century. In New York, the Fraunces Tavern became a popular gathering spot during the Revolutionary era, hosting George Washington’s farewell speech to his troops. The tavern is still open today. By 1955, 200,000 restaurants in the U.S. were serving 60 million meals a day, with annual sales of $9 billion, making restaurants the third largest retail business in America.

Today, fast food restaurants dominate the U.S, and American fast food chains operate restaurants in 100 countries, which means that diners have to be vigilant about what they eat if they want eat healthy meals, especially in a country facing severe health issues, such as diabetes.

The Re-Birth Of Dining As A Celebration

At ECI Management Group, we are devoted to nutritious meals, continuing the ancient tradition of fine dining that doesn’t rely on processed, junk or fast foods. We began in 1993, catering handmade pizzas to Houston area schools. Since then, our superstar team of catering experts has helped us grow into one of Houston’s largest and best catering companies. We also cater to many Houston coffee shops, cafes and bistros, offering coffee and handcrafted beverages from around the world, along with sandwiches and pastries.

ECI Thermopolias (Restaurants) Seek To Provide You With The Dining Experience

ECI Management Group restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and bistros want to bring dining back into your life: a time to enjoy your company, enjoy a break from your busy day and a time to celebrate life. Thus, we are dedicated to providing you with nutritious meals, or delicious foods to your taste buds!


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