In the late part of the 19th century, small rooms used primarily for storage were built between the kitchen and the dining room. According to Buffy Goodwin, a designer at Deane, Inc. with locations in New Canaan and Stamford, these butler’s pantries were originally used by staff in large homes as a “behind the scenes” area for preparing and serving meals to the family in their dining room. They were also used for storage of fine china, sterling serving pieces and flatware.
“There were often locked cabinets for these items,” Goodwin explains. “Merchants’ logs were kept in the pantry, as well. Additionally, wine and the “wine log” were stored in the butler’s pantry behind lock and key.” To ensure these valuables were kept safe, the butler was expected to sleep in this room — hence the name.