An Ancient Fast Food Restaurant in Pompeii That Served Honey-Roasted Rodents Is Now Open to the Public

The thermopolium, or fast food restaurant, of Regio V in Pompeii. Photo courtesy of Archaeological Park of Pompeii.

Archaeologists studying the Roman city of Pompeii recently discovered a thermopolium—a kind of ancient fast food restaurant—and it is now open to the public.

Visitors won’t be able to try the Roman delicacies that would have been served at the original restaurant—since this is a society that thought honey-roasted rodents raised in jars were a delicacy—but they will be able to see the establishment’s colorful fresco paintings.

One artwork seemingly features ingredients that would have been prepared at the thermopolium, such as a rooster, while another shows a scene from mythology, with a Nereid riding a sea-horse. A third depicts a collared dog and Roman-era graffiti that roughly translates to “Nicias Shameless Shitter,” presumably an insult to the owner, Nicias.

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