Archaeologists uncovered the thermopolium in the Pompeii archaeological park near Naples, Italy. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

Archaeologists uncovered the thermopolium in the Pompeii archaeological park near Naples, Italy. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

Scholars think this fresco of a dog might be a reminder for patrons to leash their pets. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

Scholars think this fresco of a dog might be a reminder for patrons to leash their pets. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

The frescoes were probably signs for the shop and the menu. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

The frescoes were probably signs for the shop and the menu. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

Travelers and lower-class citizens bought hot food at a thermopolium. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

Travelers and lower-class citizens bought hot food at a thermopolium. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

About 80 of these eateries have been found at Pompeii, but this is the first time a thermopolium has been entirely uncovered. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

About 80 of these eateries have been found at Pompeii, but this is the first time a thermopolium has been entirely uncovered. (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

Ducks, Snails, and Goats To Go

Posted: March 1, 2021

Look for the Golden Arches

America Runs on Dunkin

Have It Your Way

While we’re talking about fast food slogans, shall we add . . . Get Your Duck To Go?

Maybe a Latin whiz could translate that slogan for us. Then he or she could go back in time and order at this fast-food eatery at Pompeii.

Pompeii was an ancient city in present-day Italy. One day in A.D. 79, Pompeiians were just going about their everyday lives. Then Mount Vesuvius blew. The volcano buried their city in hot ash. The disaster killed everyone in its path.

But Pompeii lies perfectly preserved. What a boon for archaeologists! People just excavated this ancient thermopolium in Pompeii. A thermopolium was an eatery. People could buy drinks and hot food there. This discovery answers a fascinating question: What did ancient Pompeiians like to eat?

Archaeologist Massimo Osanna studies Pompeii. He says about 80 cafés like this have been found there. But this is the first people have completely unearthed.

The archaeologists found a multi-sided counter. It has wide holes in the top. These held deep vessels for hot foods. They might remind you of the spots soup containers nestle into at modern-day salad bars.

So . . . what’s on the menu at this Pompeii snack bar? Paintings on the counter may give a clue. See the two upside-down ducks and a rooster? Archaeologists have already found bits of duck bone in the ruined containers. They also uncovered remains of goats, pigs, fish, and snails.

Mount Vesuvius erupted almost 2,000 years ago. Yet—“We know what they were eating that day,” says Mr. Osanna.

Another fresco on the counter shows a dog. Pompeiians probably weren’t eating that. This sign may depict a restaurant rule: Keep your dogs on a leash!