Exploring The Origin Of The Bistro

At O’Briens Bistro, we pride ourselves on being a high-quality restaurant, with fresh and delicious food designed by our owner and chef to leave you full and happy. But we are often asked, what it means to be a bistro. Many people confuse a bistro as specifically being a french restaurant but the history of this kind of restaurant is much more global and interesting than that simple definition. Read on to explore exactly where the term bistro came from, and how it’s being used today. 

The Origin Of The Word Bistro

As with the etymology of many common terms, it is not entirely certain where the term bistro comes from. A bistro is most commonly associated with upscale, often french cuisine, and this is fitting due to the fact that the word bistro most likely originated in France. Etymologists identify the first uses of the term bistro in France in the early 19th Century. Bistro was originally conceived as French slang that referred to a little cafe or wine shop. This slang term was co-opted by the French from Russian invaders during the 1814 occupation of Paris. The term bistro was a mispronunciation of a similar Russian word that meant “hurry” something that Russian soldiers would often shout at cafe and restaurant owners during this occupation.

Some etymologists argue that the term bistro has nothing to do with the Russians. Instead, the word stems from the french “bistraud” which roughly translates to “wine seller’s assistant”. Regardless of the specific origin, this French term has been used all over the world and has become incredibly popular. 

What Bistro Has Come To Mean In The 21st Century

Nowadays, the etymology of the word bistro has evolved yet again in America. Generally, American bistros are very different from the small cafes and wine shops of France. In America, the term bistro is generally used to illustrate to customers that a restaurant is somewhat upscale, but not stuffy, and often features high-quality, classic cuisine. It’s not uncommon that the food served in American bistros is inspired by European cuisine and features classic cooking techniques to create a dining experience that feels modern but still upscale.

What The Word Bistro Means To O’Brien’s

At O’Brien’s Bistro, we pride ourselves on bringing these ideas of creative, fresh, and continental bistro fare to Pensacola. To us, a bistro is showcased in the care and effort that is put into every dish. We specialize in creating dining experiences where everyone will enjoy exciting new dishes in a way that still feels familiar. Our bistro menu is full of dishes that incorporate flavors and techniques from all over the globe. To us, being a bistro means that you will receive the best service in a beautiful upscale environment, and enjoy food that you will want to come back for again and again.

O’Brien’s Bistro is proud to help the term bistro evolve in a new and delicious way. For your next meal, private party, or special event consider our bistro for an excellent experience every time. Contact us by phone during normal business hours or reach out to us using our contact form. We would love to feed you, your family, your friends, and their friends!