Similar to the modern man and woman, it appears the Romans of Pompei did indeed love fast food. Not every night do you have the time to cook up an exquisite taste of ancient Italian food with wine. Archeologists have found proof in the ruins of Pompeii that many a snack bar or fast food joint was present amongst the streets.
It seems that Pompeii was at one time the Romans preferred a place to go for a quick bite. Known as a Thermopolis, it is essentially a Latin word for a fast-food restaurant and they were ever so popular. Found in the Regio V site, which is a 54-acre archeologist project that is north of Pompeii, these fast food snack bars are over two centuries old.
And in the city that has been covered by the ash of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., they have found over 80 of these snack bars. While modern American may like the food truck or vending machines, or even the fast-food chains, it seems that the Romans had already mastered the art of a quick meal over 2,000 years ago.
Thermopolis, as they were known, have been found all across the Roman empire and seemed to be a popular way for people looking for a quick lunch. And these were pretty ingenious snack joints, even if they didn’t have a fast lane for chariots, they were usually spots that had many earthenware jars. These jars were designed to keep food warm and this way they could serve food that had been prepared in advance without much issue.
Though some have been found to have little spots at the back where one could sit down and eat, most of the sites seem to show these fast food spots as being pretty primitive. It appears they really were designed to give you food on the go. Historians tend to think of them as a strange cross between a Burger King, a British pub and a Spanish tapas bar.
In any case, it appears they simply followed a trend that is seen within any larger city, Pompeii was known to be home to over 20,000 people and we know today that in any large urban city people are just more likely to eat fast food.