Have you ever heard anyone ask, “Which eatery did you dine at?” Or: “What’s the best eatery in the neighborhood?” I’ll bet you never heard anyone say the word eatery. Which makes it classic journalese. It’s often used according to the Bent Yellow Fruit Law, which prohibits an important word from being used twice in the same sentence. (“The banana boat longshoremen loaded the cargo of bent yellow fruit.”)

A recent Boston Globe eatery usage was in a story about a fire at the Union Oyster House, Ameica’s oldest restaurant. The fire did not damage “nearby eateries.”

Well, Mar
io Batali and Lidia Bastianich evidently got an eatery version right with Eataly, their chain of Italian restaurants/groceries. Eataly claims to be “the largest Italian marketplace in the world, committed to promoting high-quality yet affordable regional Italian food with a local twist.” Now, that’s a modest eatery.

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