Why Is Hells Kitchen Called That?

Have you ever heard of Hell’s Kitchen? Being one of the most vibrant and dynamic neighborhoods, it is a place full of history and culture. But why exactly is it called “Hell’s Kitchen,” and how did it get its unique name?

Well, in this article, we will be exploring this question. We’ll take a look at the many theories that explain how the area earned its famously descriptive title and uncover some of the stories behind this NYC neighborhood.

So, if you’re curious why Hell’s Kitchen is called what it is, read on to uncover the answer!

Why is Hells Kitchen Called That?

Hells Kitchen has been a popular nickname given to the neighborhood of Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It has been the home of several notable personalities and the area has been greatly associated with the food industry.

From renowned chefs to food stylists, Hells Kitchen has been the backdrop to many iconic stories. But why is it called Hells Kitchen?

Let’s find out.

History of the Name

The term Hells Kitchen originally referred to what is now known as the Midtown West area of Manhattan.

It has been named so in the 19th century, when the area was predominantly inhabited by Irish immigrants. The Irish immigrants who had come to the US due to the potato famine in the 19th century started the term Hells Kitchen to describe the squalid conditions in their districts.

Other Notable Theories

Hells Kitchen is also known for its crime and gang activity, which is thought to have been named after “Old Smoke” Morrissey, who ran an Irish immigrant gang in the area in the late 19th century.

Some also claim that the name comes from a Native American phrase for “gathering place for Barley”, but this theory is largely disputed.

Modern Times

Although Hells Kitchen is still associated with a rough environment and gang activity, the area is now more commonly known as the “Restaurant Row”.

It’s now home to prestigious restaurants and other attractions that draw in tourists to the area. The area is now drastically different from how it was in the 19th century. The name Hells Kitchen, however, remains as a powerful reminder of the area’s past and of the struggles and hardships that its people had to endure.


Hells Kitchen is a nickname for the Midtown West neighborhood in Manhattan that has been associated with the neighborhood for hundreds of years. The most common explanation is that it was a name created by Irish immigrants to describe the terrible living conditions in the area in the late 19th century. The name has stayed throughout time and is now a powerful reminder of the area’s past and of the struggles and hardships that people of that time had to endure.

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