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Not About Food

Eighty Six in restaurant speak


Not About Food 17

Eighty Six in restaurant speak

RicRios | Dec 18, 2007 01:04 PM

As Cicero said, "Nulla sine lite dies" . This one is for today's:

“For years I’ve wondered about the origin of the term eighty-six, which I’ve heard mainly among restaurant workers. It seems to mean either that the restaurant is out of something (‘we’re eighty-six on flounder’) or, less often, that something should be gotten rid of (‘eighty-six that monkey — the health department is outside’). A television program recently reported that it originated at a New York City speakeasy, Chumley’s, located at 86 Bedford Street. During Prohibition, when a raid was imminent, a cop on the take would call and warn the proprietor to ‘eighty-six it’: hide the booze and get the customers out. The story sounds plausible, but I wonder whether you can confirm it.”

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