A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 20, 2010
“Hell for breakfast” ("Hell-bent for breakfast")

Entry in progress—B.P.

Dictionary of American Regional English
hell-for-breakfast adv Also hell-bent for breakfast chiefly West Cf hell-for-leather adv, hell-bent for election adv phr 1, hell-to-breakfast, from
Very fast, at top speed.
1930 Dobie Coronado 104 csTX, I was going lickety-split, hell-bent for breakfast, trying to head off a gotch-eared brown stallion and his bunch.
1943 Reader’s Digest Dec 115/2. The cruiser Juneau and all the cans [-destroyers] wnet snorting out, hell-for-breakfast after the sub, throwing out depth charges.
1945 Thorp Pardner 50 SW, In the movies you sometimes see a man supposedly cutting cattle out of the herd, running his horse hell-for-breakfast through the herd, scattering the cattle in all directions, which shows that that cowboy, or his director, knew nothing about the handling of cattle.
1966 Barnes-Jensen Dict. UT Slang 23, Hell for breakfast..."He went hell for breakfast after that hobbled horse.”

(Oxford English Dictionary)
hell, n. and int.
U.S. hell for breakfast: at breakneck speed; cf. hell-for-leather at Phrases 6e, hell-bent for breakfast at HELL-BENT adj. and adv. Phrases. Now rare.
1909 Overland Monthly & Out West Mag. Mar. 235/2 There he were,..stuffin’ his stomach hell for breakfast.
1969 N.W. Arkansas Times (Fayetteville) 28 Nov. 4/2 They want to jump in a big, fast auto, and rush hell for breakfast, hither and yon.

Google Books
June 1907, Munsey’s Magazine, vol. XXXVII, no. III, pg. 321: 
“Pulled loose an’ went gallopin’ hell-bent-for-breakfast,” elucidates Tom.

March 1909, Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, “Pop Jolly’s Miracle” by R. C. Pitzer, pg. 235:
So there he were, comfortable as any old-fashioned saint, an’ stuffin’ his stomach hell for breakfast.

29 October 1922, New York (NY) Times, “How a driver’s license is obtained,” pg. 47:
But should it be a man with a brand-new taxi, or a driver qualifying for motor delivery, the chase may be a very merry one, for the experienced driver starts out at a speed known by pious New Englanders as “hell for breakfast.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, January 20, 2010 • Permalink