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Fast Food (Thermopolia)

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Fast Food (Thermopolia)
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View of a Fast Food establishment (thermopolium, popina, taberna) at Ostia.  The opening to the street is visible beyond the marble counter.  To the right of the counter note the three stepped shelves.  Food and drink were sold and consumed here.  Note the simple mosaic floor and the marble counter. This building was constructed in A.D. 125.

Thermopolia were small cook–shops where hot and cold food was sold.  They were used primarily by the lower classes as the elites would dine in the luxurious surroundings of their own homes.  The houses of lower classes of people rarely had kitchens, thus they would eat at an establishment such as this, or they would "carry out" the food to take back home. These thermopolia were situated street side on the ground floor of apartment buildings and even elite houses.