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Cash Only?

Does anyone else sometimes not eat some place they feel like eating because the place is cash only?

I'm not talking about a just-a-couple-of-bucks taco stand or slice of pizza joint, I'm talking about dinner for four = 50 dollars or more type places.

Johnnie's Pastrami is one place on the west side of LA we like to go sometimes (the chili dog is good, fwiw) and it's cash only. And a couple of pastramis, a shrimp sand, some fries and o-rings, a chili dog, some soft drinks, a couple of beers and coffee and pie add up. And I've got the dough, I just don't carry cash that much and if I do use my cash I end up having to run to the bank or ATM to fill the wallet.

Gilbert's El Indio in Santa Monica is the same thing. Four combo plates or burritos, a pitcher of margaritas, some beers, soft drinks and dessert ... it doesn't break the bank, but again, there goes my cash on hand.

I guess there must be reasons, but it's 2006 ... I use my debit card for a latte sometimes. Who wants to carry cash these days?

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  1. I do. It costs your favorite restaurants less to handle a cash transaction than when you pay on plastic, and it costs them much more if you have to sign for it than when you enter a PIN. Do the mom-and-pops a favor, pay cash whenever possible. You don't have to track down an ATM, either. Just about every grocery store I go to offers cash back on a debit card purchase, and since the ones I'm thinking about are all national chains, yours do too. Go in, grab a pack of your favorite gum (look at the gum topic on this board if you need ideas), pay on the debit card, and you have cash back *and gum* for less than using an ATM that isn't run by your bank.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      Actually some supermarkets are imposing a limit on what you can ask for Cashback for. And other's aren't giving cash back past a certain hour of the night... :P

      So it wasn't always so easy for this night owl... :/

      --Dommy!

      1. re: Dommy

        We actually stopped getting cash at the supermarket, after hearing about fraud problems at locations where you have to input your pin in conjunction with using your debit card. We still use the debit card to pay for groceries but we use it as a credit card, no pin, no cash back, money deducted from checking account. We do make more trips to the ATM for cash but figure the extra security is worth the slight inconvenience.

    2. I don't go to the bank often and I don't like to pay ATM fees so I pay with my credit card whenever I can. If I really wanted to eat at a restaurant that was cash only, a $2 ATM fee isn't going to stop me. But, it may prevent me from randomly walking into a place I know nothing about.

      1. There are two Italian restaurants, one around the corner and one a bit futher from us in Manhattan, that we enjoy and that are cash only. It doesn't stop us - and we eventually figured out that they also accept checks, which makes it a bit less of a hassle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MMRuth

          Never understood why restaurants accept checks. Checks are more "traceable" than cash and also more subject to abuse and fraud than credit cards. However, I think with family places and regular customers this may be different.

        2. One of the best Italian restaurants in Philly is Ralph's, cash only. They bridged the ATM gap by placing one in the restaurant. No cash, no problem, machine over there in the corner.

          If I want to eat at a particular place, going to an ATM on the way is no biggie, well worth the added buck or two service fee (that's a topic for another site).

          1. Hey, how about going to the front desk of the hotel you checking out of only to be informed for the very "First" time that they're Cash Only!?!?

            That happened to me 10+ years ago at Gravetye Manor in Southern England. Well, of course I didn't have the cash. I had to drive into town and wait for the Bank to open, as I was checking out right after breakfast: 9-ish. Ruined my time-table and attitude.