The other night the Crankee Yankee and I went out to dinner at a new place (opened in December). We’d been there a few times before, enjoyed the food, the service and the atmosphere. It’s sort of a mix of elegant pub and date-night dining, and the atmosphere is welcoming.
However, I have a few gripes—not only for this restaurant, but restaurants in general.
Gripe 1: We arrived around 4:30 at the restaurant I mentioned to avoid a crowd. About ten minutes later, we had a young father with a screaming and coughing baby near us. As we started our meal, a family of five sat down at the table next to us. Granted, the kids weren’t babies, but they were loud and whiny. So we gave each other the “waddayagonnado” look, and just ate our food and left.
Seriously, I can’t be the only person who doesn’t like hearing wailing babies and yappy kids at a decent restaurant. As there used to be smoking sections and non-smoking sections (way back in the dark ages), it seems to me there ought to be a “family” section far, far away and perhaps in a soundproof area.
Look, I get it that parents need the occasional night out. I also get it that the noise level is so entrenched in their heads that the volume of the screeching, yelling and crying may no longer register with the parents. However, the rest of us who came out for a nice dinner do not appreciate it.
Gripe 2: Then there is the issue of “high chair” tables. No, I don’t mean actual children’s highchairs, I mean those tall tables with tall chairs to match. I don’t like climbing up on a chair to sit down. Conversely, I don’t like sitting at tables where the seats are so low that my chin is practically resting on the table. Honestly, they make me feel like a very old child with the plate at chin level. Seriously, what’s wrong with regular height tables and chairs?
Gripe 3: There seems to be some prejudice about single people who go to restaurants by themselves. It starts with walking in the door, and you’re asked “just you, then?” as if there’s something indecent about eating out on your own. Those who seat the “onester” are either dismissive (head bubble would read: “Just you? You’ll probably give me a 5% tip, if at all! What a waste of my time!”) or dripping with phony sympathy because you are there on your own (head bubble would read: “oh the poor thing! All alone, no one to talk to, poor dear!”).
Then once you are seated, the server calls you “dearie,” “darling,” “sweetheart,” “sweetie,” ad nauseum. Or you are given the bare minimum of service; they plunk down your food and that’s the last you see of your server.
Should you need a drink refill or another napkin, you’re going to have to get up and ask someone. When the check arrives, the server looks as though he/she can’t wait until you get your sad and lonely ass out of there.
Oh well. It’s a different world out there now. Perhaps this is the new normal. But if you ask me, I think it’s time for a change, restaurant-wise. Over the years the restaurant folks have figured out that, in the main, most people don’t like eating somewhere where people are smoking. So why not add on a kid-zone in restaurants? How about some regular chairs and tables? And how about not treating the single diner as a pariah?