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Restaurants with "Rules"

A little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant I like in the Palm Springs area--El Gallito in Cathedral City--has more than a dozen "rules" for patrons. Some are posted on the walls, some are printed in the menu, and some are listed on a table top tent card.

Now, each of the rules is generally reasonable and some are quite common to other restaurants, but we always get a chuckle out of the sheer number of rules we must follow in order to eat there.

Have you ever been to a restaurant that has either a large number of "rules" or posts some uncommon rules? Please share your favorites. In the meantime, here are the rules from El Gallito:


--We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.

--Do not block entrance way.

--No shoes, no shirt, no service.

--Not responsible for your lost or stolen articles.


--Cash only.

--No checks accepted.

--One guest check per table.

--All extras and sides ordered will be charged accordingly.

--For those sharing a meal, we charge $3 for the extra plate.


--Beer and wine served only to guests ordering a food entree.

--For your safety, a maximum of 3 drinks per person will be served.

--Beer and wine are served to our guests who do not seem intoxicated.


--Chips and salsa are gladly served after your party has placed the food order.

--Entrees that include rice and beans will not be split by the kitchen.

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  1. all these rules seem ok except the "3 drink per person maximum". I probably wouldnt go there because of a rule like that.

    5 Replies
    1. re: swsidejim

      Mr Sidejim, I have to agree with you 100% on this one.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        I dont advocate having too much to drink & acting a fool, or driving impaired, but 3 drinks is just getting started for me. I enjoy a few shots of tequila, and a couple of beers when I go out, especially for Mexican food. Then my designated driver(wife) drives us all home safely(she isnt a drinker).

        1. re: swsidejim


          If it were really a great place, like no other and without equal......would you consider skirting the 3 drink maximum rule and have your wife order her maximum allowable amount of drinks...but for you to consume....and make an exception to your protest?

          I agree with you that when I want an alcoholic refreshment I should be able to have one...and for the fact I consider myself a responsible adult who knows when to say "when", I resent on principle some of the liquor policies of some food places,

          On occasion when away from home and usually after a round of golf in some locale, our group will stop for lack of a better option, at a National Chain restaurant for both food and beverage refreshments. I will sometimes order two beers at first opportunity and will be told it is the policy of the restaurant not to accept multiple drink orders from one person. I usually tell the server, that's fine, but when they bring me the first drink, to automatically place an order for another drink and bring it to me immediately....since the first one will go down fast and be finished quite quickly after spending the last four hours out in the sun...and me being parched.

          Again, rules are rules.......BTW.....no reply is necessary to my original query.

          1. re: fourunder

            interesting question, I did say probably, so I did leave the door open if the food was unique and spectacular, I wouldnt like the feeling of "sneaking" my wifes alloted drinks.

            With the above said I am not a lush, and go to a few hole-in-the-wall type spots that are dry, and enjoy the food.

            1. re: fourunder

              This reminds me of my experience on a commercial airliner about a year ago. What with the cutback in personnel and the increased size of planes and their passenger component, I have taken to ordering two drinks at the same time. Otherwise, the drink serving time is over by the time I finish my first one and getting a server to bring me a second one is a hassle.

              My server politely informed me that FAA regulations prohibit the serving of two drinks at one time. First, this appears to be a regulation "honored more in the breach than in the observance", since no other airline personnel had ever told me that and my two drink procedure was working quite well up to that time.

              Second, I understand that the FAA and the airlines do not want drunk patrons, but isn't there a two drink maximum on planes, anyway? (It seems to me that I saw that fact brought out in a movie, once.)

              Anyway, unless I am showing obvious signs of inebriation (and I was not--I was stone cold sober!), I resent the airline playing parent to me. It must not have bothered me too much, though, because I have no recollection of which airline it was.

      2. Makes the Soup Nazi look like an angel!

        1 Reply
        1. re: cstr

          Oops, you beat me to the punch. Should have read all replies, before I posted.

          My thoughts exactly,


        2. "--For your safety, a maximum of 3 drinks per person will be served.
          --Beer and wine are served to our guests who do not seem intoxicated."

          What if they serve you the maximum of 3 drinks and you *still* don't seem intoxicated?

          1. A reason I liked Chuy's in Austin, aside from good tortilla soup, is the print on the door:
            NO CRYBABIES

            1. My guess is that is is about SPRING BREAK, a big thing in PS. As a mom and pop hole-in-the-wall experiencing cheap, drunk, hungry and not-so-bright college kids, I think it's reasonable vs. just closing.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ML8000

                That makes a lot of sense. They may not in fact enforce all the rules all the time, but they have them there if they need them to deal with the spring break louts.

                1. re: BobB

                  Yeah, 3 drink maximum sounds like spring break to me. A little barf and a few fights and I'd pull out the rules or just close down.

              2. I find all the rules listed quite reasonable. In some places lists of rules are posted as humor, however I do not believe this is the case here.

                The only rule that is truly offensive to me is when you go out to dinner at a restaurant and they have a policy of not seating you at a table unless your party is complete. To me this is utterly ridiculous. In most cases, any amount of patrons over two...the even number of seats and the lower odd number will require the same table and or space. In the past, with reservations of eight, I have been denied being seated at a table while seven of us were there on time and the eighth member was running late. Even when told we would order an extra appetizer and entree for the absent member....we were still denied.

                Oh well, rules are rules right.

                14 Replies
                1. re: fourunder

                  I can understand the no seating w/o the whole party rule at casual places that don't take reservations and have a long-ish wait, but I agree that if you have a reservation, they should go ahead and seat the incomplete party...

                  1. re: mpjmph

                    Well, actually, it's a little bit more complicated than that. I will say, though, that offering to order for the absent member does make up for it. Restaurants often refuse to seat the incomplete party because it really throws off the timing of the reservations. And the wait list. In my restaurant,(not owned by me), 1 1/2 hours is generally quite sufficient for most parties to take. It is not fine dining, more mid-range. Our reservation system is set up for this scenario. During the course of the night, we give customers 15 minutes to arrive or call an tell us they are running late. After that, we assume they are "no shows" and the table goes to someone on the wait list. And yes, no shows happen all the time. If half of the party arrives to claim the table, but the other half does not arrive until 1/2 hour later, then we are officially running late with the next seating. Nobody likes it when a restaurant is running late. When people are running late, you have no idea when they are actually going to get there, so you have a dead table that you cannot figure into you future table calculations. In short; it often leads to a nightmare.

                  2. re: fourunder

                    I hate that rule too, if I get to a restaurant before the people I'm meeting, I like to sit down and order a drink while I'm waiting for them. Not at the bar either, one place I like to go ends up having separate tabs at the bar vs. the table which is really annoying the first time you go there and realize that after finishing your meal, you first need to walk over to the bar to close the tab and then find the waiter/tress and pay them too because they can't just put them together.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      if the restaurant is busy. I don't mind waiting for the whole party. But if it is quiet, I get annoyed at not being able to sit down and order a drink or even an appetizer. Seems like this "rule" could be more situational then most restaurants allow for.

                      1. re: shivani

                        Busy or not, It could be they don't seat you because if your party isn't complete by a certain time you will forfeit your reservation. Possibly they have another party scheduled after you, and if your party is late it may cut too much into the time they have allotted you, making it impossible to seat their later reservations on time. Just a thought.

                        1. re: shivani

                          You know, I've often wondered about this policy. When we arrive, prior to the rest of the table, I usually start the wine orders and have just a moment's time, to do so. I'd wager that I end up spending an additional US$50 per party of four, because I have the time to study, prior to conversations. We also have then begun the evening, and the table will turn more quickly, as a result. If I have to wait for everyone, there is a lot of conversation, and even the beginning wine orders take more time.

                          In general terms, I seldom find this policy in force, but that is probalby due more to the level of the restaurants. I seem to only see this sort of thing at lower and mid-level places, and most often at lunch, than at dinner. [Note to restauranteurs: seat me and my wife, when we arrive, and I will have planned the full wine allotment for the night, ahead of time. Table WILL turn more quickly.]

                          Just observing,


                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            Agree that the tier of restaurant has much to do with this rule.

                            Emergencies happen, but if the general public could just be more curteous regarding others around them, tardiness wouldn't be as rampant.

                            There was a table at my restaurant the other night that was angry because we gave their table away twenty minutes after their reservation. They didn't think it was a big deal, and didn't call to say they were running late. Why not? Because the whole world revolves around them, obviously. They were put on the waiting list and received a table twentyish minutes later. If they had simply been on time (or close to it) they could've sat right down. The immature child in me wishes they had to wait longer.

                            We don't utilize the "whole party must be present" rule, but I totally get why many places do.

                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              Probably a topic for another thread, but I do agree. When we had reservations around London, and our trip was canceled due to 9-11-01, I called each one, to let them know that we were not going to be flying in, even though there was never a credit card involved. Same for a few other trips, that had to be canceled. If more people would extend the same feelings toward a restaurant, that they expect for themselves, lives would be easier for all.

                              Since I always arrive a few minutes early, if it even looks like it'll be on-time, I call, from the cab, in traffic in_______.

                              If I am late for my check-in at the airport, and my seat is gone, that is life. I live with it, and do the best that I can. If I miss my reservation and my table is gone, I also live with it. With a simple call, I have never experienced that. Yes, I may have arrived late (after the call) and had to wait, but there was always a table. If my plumber is going to be late, I appreciate it. I think that my restaurant also appreciates it.

                              Though much of the thread turned to a cell phone-negative one, there is a lot to be said for those danged things, if used properly and with courtesy for others.


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Profound. Cellphones are a blessing...and a curse.

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  I totally agree with you. I have never and would never just no-show when I hold a reservation. Never. As for their not seating until the whole party has arrived, I don't see much of that anymore. When we take my 88 y.o. MIL out, my husband will drop us off near the door and go to park the car. We're never left standing. And I agree that sometimes that bottle of wine or app gets ordered earlier than if they'd waited. And then maybe ANOTHER bottle of wine :)

                            2. re: shivani

                              This rule is highly annoying and i think it should be the restaurants responsibility to accept that large tables normally do not all arrive together. I have had to wait many times to be seated while waiting for friends to turn up and it always takes the fun out of the beginning part of the night as i am forced to wait at the bar.

                              1. re: laurafoodfan

                                There wouldn't be a problem if your friends were punctual. In fact, if people were more timely in general, there'd be no need for a rule like this at all.

                                I like this rule. It forces large groups to be responsible for knowing how many people are actually joining them, instead of waiting at the table for an hour and a half for four more people who never show up.

                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                  I'm not that bothered by the rule either. While large tables don't always arrive together, they should all be arriving at around the same time if they are a punctual group. I think this is even more important for a large group, because typically there is some rearranging to do for a large party. I think it's a bit rude to expect the restaurant to expect to deal with having to serve 10+ people appetizers/drinks at separate times, because that can get too hectic/confusing.

                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                    The "seated at the same time" ruling is quite acceptable. I find it very easy to arrive on time to functions and do not cut "fashionably late" comers any slack. They're, quite simply, being rude. I also think it helps prevent dialing for tables on busy nights (for which is another favorite rant o' mine.)

                            3. If I have to be charged extra to share a meal, I will go elsewhere. For high-end (which is out of my league), maybe I'll comply. But really. Um... Really. Really...three bucks for a plate?

                              In an mom and pop, I'd be tempted to wash the stinkin' plate myself for the three bucks. Yes, simply because I'm contrarion... Or Hub cen eat alone at a 2-top because of my snit.

                              In a restauant with ODD rules (some/most are good in the OP's list) I would simply say goodbye. There are enough rules in my extended family already. We go to restaurants to get away from *all that.*

                              Cay ("Het-Up-Cay," for the record)

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: cayjohan

                                The $3 charge isn't to cover the cost of a plate; it's designed to keep three or four people from ordering one meal and taking up a table while spending as little money as possible.

                                If you look at the rules--no extra rice and beans, we'll charge for extras, no chips until you order--they are concerned about people ordering nothing or next to nothing and trying to get as many freebies as possible, e.g. people come in, eat free chips then leave. Or, 4 people come in, order one meal, ask for extra rice, extra chips, extra beans, etc. From the specificity and number of rules, I would guess they have had problems like this in the past.

                                I completely understand those who don't like rules staying away. It's their right to make rules and your response to not patronize places whose rules you don't like. However, i think these rules are pretty clearly set in response to problems they've had in the past.

                                1. re: nc213

                                  nc213, I know what you mean about *skimping*. But a two-top sharing a bigger-than-your-head entree? It could be one person doing so...and then we'd get into charges for takeaway containers.

                                  If a diner wants extras, then the diner should pay for extras. Especially with the so-called freebies (how many chips can a person eat anyway?).

                                  But in a slow (say, mom and pop, where we go, if we go) resto, where butts in the chairs are a good thing, is it really good business to charge a "plate" fee when a two-top wants to split a dinner?

                                  I say this having been charged a plate fee when simply sampling my Hub's dinner. I was sitting in the companion seat of a two-top, not given a plate, not tasting more than a few bites, and tipping for the courtesy. Was I paying for the chair space? Would the resto have put another in my place (across from Hub) if I declined the plate fee? What about those apps and bevs I ordered, which were more than enough for a meal?

                                  I really do often wonder if there is a dollar value assigned to a diner?


                                  1. re: cayjohan

                                    Just curious. Did you have a meal of your own of were you just taking bites from your DC's dinner?

                                    1. re: cayjohan

                                      Agreed. Charging you for a plate is silliness that breeds bad karma for the place.

                                      SO often eats an appetizer for her entree. Some are quite large, so if we get two appetizers, and one is her own, and I get an entree, what's the problem? Fortunately, we have never been given grief for doing this.

                                      1. re: cayjohan

                                        There is a quick way around the "extra plate" rule. Diner A orders the "combo plate," and diner B orders just the "tamal plate." Then, when the food arrives, diner A shares part of the combo plate with diner B and vice versa. We often do just that, so as to not have much more food than we can consume.

                                        If I want extra sour-cream, chips, rice or beans, I just order these. Heck, even with the combo plate, I'll order a side of tortillas to use as "pushers" or "wrappers" for my beans.

                                        Now, I never expect any of the "extras" to be free. I always specify that I wish to order (implied that I also wish to pay for these) sides.

                                        The one thing that I do not like is when there is an item on the menu, that I also want, but am refused, because it is not listed as an integral part of my dish. Hey, I'm willing to pay for ALL of my "extras." I do not accept freebies, unless someone is comp'ing something that is not edible - otherwise, if I order it, I pay for it. If it's on the menu, and I want it, then sell it to me - no equivocation, no excuses. Sell it to me. I don't care if you have to make up an item # on the computer, find a way to make it happen. The "sorry, but that is not available to you, if you order X," doesn't wash with me. A highly-touted local restaurant refused to let my wife order a dish from their "tasting menu." Their statement was that it was ONLY available if everyone at the table ordered the full tasting menu. Bad move. The chef is making N of these dishes for the tasting menus ordered. Make N+1 and charge me for it. Simple. We spent over US$500 for four with wine, and they wouldn't sell my wife one of these dishes. Guess what was the topic of my review.

                                        No, I am comfortable with the list of rules. I know where they stand on several issues and can deal with it. Just give me good food, with fairly quick service and we have no problems.


                                  2. Don't forget- NO SUBSTITUTIONS.

                                    I can respect this rule but I think sometimes you need to give the customer what they want. My friend had a going away dinner for me when I was moving and took me to this restaurant that is supposed to be amazing. Only problem was the chef seemed to have a moldy cheese fetish. Everydish from steak, pasta, seafood seemed to have some form of blue cheese in it. I am very allergic to mold and the waitress seemed insulted that I could not it. So she agreed to have it removed from my pasta carbonara. When the dish came out I confirmed it was free of any moldy cheeses. GREAT- until after 3 bites I broke out in hives and my tongue swelled up. The going away party went downhill from there..........who wants to go out with hives all over their body and looking like they were punched in the mouth.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: phimoez


                                      I feel your pain. My wife has a few food allergies, so we are careful around certain things. Normally, with my reservations, we let it be known exactly what these restrictions are. If we a walk-ins, we do so when seated.

                                      We often do chef's tastings, and these little difficulties can be a problem. Maybe it's the places that we dine, but I've NEVER had a chef not follow these restrictions to the letter. This has occurred around the globe and in some heavily starred restaurants. Most chefs are open to even substituting my wife's 3rd course with something else. Now, we are not talking about mom-n-pop local spots, but if Joël Robuchon can do it, then most should be able to make some allowances, within reason.

                                      Sorry for your experience - wife's problems are far, far less severe, but just as real.


                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        An allergist I know advises that people with serious food allergies should carry cards that say, for example, "I am deathly allergic to PEANUTS. Please be sure that no peanuts have been used in my food or in the equipment used to prepare my food." The server should be asked to give the card to the kitchen staff when the order is placed.

                                        (The allergist tells a story of a colleague of his, another allergist, whose daughter died from an allergic reaction to peanuts. The daughter had informed the restaurant staff of her allergy, and the cook had been careful to make sure there were no peanuts in her dishes. But her entree was cooked in a pan that had been used to cook someone else's dish that did contain peanuts.)

                                      2. re: phimoez

                                        I think you're nuts to eat at a restaurant where the chef "has a moldy cheese fetish" if you are allergic to same. If I had life-threatening allergies, I would eat at home . Period. I would never trust or expect a restaurant or friend to keep me alive.

                                      3. With the exception of the 3 drink rule per person, I think everything else is reasonable. I'll bet that the 3 drink per person may have something to do with their insurance. I wonder if they actually abide by that rule.

                                        Probably the most strict restaurant I've eaten at was Sapori d'Ischia in Queens, NY. There's actually a list of rules including:

                                        We serve no tap water
                                        We serve no ice in water
                                        We will not serve cheese with seafood
                                        We will not serve lemon peel in espresso
                                        We will not serve butter with bread

                                        I believe there are more rules, but I can't remember them all.

                                        I also remember Soup Kitchen International (aka Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" ) also had a list of rules about having your money out before paying, lining up a certain way and knowing what to order before you get to the order taker.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          Soup Nazi sounds like a certain Cheesesteak Nazi in Philly. I have never seen more rules on how to order a cheesesteak in my life.

                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                            I recall those rules at SKI, and you know what? I wish they were more common! His line went around the block- you could be on it for half an hour- but you know what? It moved! If he didn't have those rules I'd probably still be waiting on line for lunch for October 18, 1997.

                                            IMHO, there's no excuse for standing on a line (more than 1-2 people) in any kind of takeout place where the menu is posted for all to read and not knowing what you want, or at least knowing that you want one of two things, pending the answer to a question (does this contain? for example). I consider that selfish and inconsiderate in the extreme!

                                            1. re: dude

                                              Central Grocery in New Orleans has similar "rules," though most are not written anywhere. When ordering your muffaletta sandwich, you're expected to just know them, or you will be forced out of line with no sandwich, and everyone in line will laugh at you and quickly close ranks.

                                              In the OP's instance, the rules are printed in several places. At least a newcomer can figure them out. When dining at a very casual spot, especially if it has no table service, I usually stand around trying to pick up on the "rules," before I order. It took about 20 mins. at Crabby Jack's in NOLA to pick up on exactly what would be required, when I got to the head of the line. I WISH that there had been a set of printed rules someplace.


                                            2. re: Miss Needle

                                              OK, you beat me to the "Soup Nazi" too.

                                              This sounds like Goldstein's deli in Denver. I would order a "turkey Ruben," and if Mrs. Goldstein was cooking, she'd shout, "tell him there is NO such thing as a turkey Ruben!" Her "second-in-command," Mrs. Finklestein, would "shush" her and say, "just make a Ruben, like always, but substitute turkey for pastarami. He pays cash!" Lo, I would get my turkey Ruben and pay cash. They had both turkey sandwiches and also Rubens on the menu. Mrs. Goldstein made a big deal of it, but Mrs. Finklestein understood "keepin' the customer satisfied." BTW, once she got over her hangup, Mrs. Goldstein made a great "turkey Ruben."

                                              Heck, one international chain even has the slogan, "no rules - just right," though they did seem to have a lot of "rules," when I dined at one of these spots back in the early '90s...


                                            3. How does this place stay in business? Beer and wine served only if you order an entree? I'll take my business elsewhere.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: MrsT

                                                There are three restaurants in the Greater Palm Springs, Palm Desert and La Quinta named The Fisherman... an excellent Fish and Seafoods place with retail markets within the restaurans. I have been going to them while on vacation for many years now. While I do not recall seeing any rules pertaining to liquor service or policy, I seem to recall they will only serve you a beer or wine if you order food as well.

                                                I am not knowledgeable to California Liquor Laws, Rules or Regulations, but I can only surmise this has to do with a set condition for any beer and wine liquor license holder to sell alcohol for consumption on premise. These food places with beer and wine service available, are not like bar/taverns and probably operate with these restrictions.

                                                You can obviously choose to spend your money wherever you wish......but to hold it against a place that may be just following regulations and guidelines as a condition of operational procedures set by the State is unfair in my opinion.

                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                  Probably a keen observation.

                                                  Growing up on the MS Gulf Coast in the '50s/60's and then moving to NOLA, I had a limited view of food/beverage laws. First time I was visited North Carolina, I was amazed at the "ABC ON," "ABC OFF" and "ABC ON/OFF" laws. I had never experienced a restaurant that required liquor/wine/beer to be brought in, or places that would not let you take your beverage in a "go-cup." Now, this was back when one could have glasses in the French Quarter.

                                                  Some years later, I was almost arrested in Aspen, CO for walking out onto Hyman St Mall with a can of Coors! When I told the deputy that I was from New Orleans and didn't know the exact laws in CO, they let me go back inside to finish my beer. Ya' gotta' know the rules and they might well be different, just across a state line.


                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    funny, the same thing happened to me after moving to southern California and walking out of the house with my "go cup"
                                                    after he found out where I was from, the cop laughed and said "you can't do that here!"
                                                    no ticket.

                                                  2. re: fourunder

                                                    There could be something ambiguous in the very small print of the code, but I am pretty familiar with California ABC regs and I don't think there's anything requiring a restaurant to serve food if a guests wants alcoholic beverages. Yes, there are different licenses for restaurants and bars that don't serve food, but the difference is basically about whether minors can be in the space.

                                                    My guess is that that place wants to keep customers from using the restaurant as a bar. Probably either the Spring Break thing brought up elsewhere or a pattern of customer behavior that causes problems.

                                                  3. re: MrsT

                                                    I'm going to hazard a guess here (it is Chowhound after all) and go with "because the food is really good."

                                                  4. I am okay with the rule hat the entire party must be present before you get seated, otherwise groups camp out and wait on the straglers and take up the table for longer than they otherwise would have.

                                                    A sushi restaurant in Portland has the rule that you have to order everything at once, which I think is a really stupid rule for a sushi restaurant. They do it to keep things moving, but still..

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: akq

                                                      Which PDX sushi restaurant? Probably one of the many mediocre ones that I'll never eat at. What a senseless policy. Sounds like that horrible place Saburo. Disgusting sushi, surly service, long lines, large quantities of dreck, and low prices. For the discerning sushi connaisseur.

                                                      At Mother's Bistro in Portland we had a res for 6. All but I were over age 70. We arrived missing only one person. They made us wait for the late-comer before being seated, even though the place was only 70% full and thinning. That was plain foolish on their part, lacking in common sense. Had they seated us upon arrival, we would have ordered another $50 in drinks and appetizers. Left with a bitter taste in my mouth, will probably not return.

                                                      Most of what the OP mentioned are laws, state alcohol rules, health code, and fire codes.

                                                      1. re: Leonardo

                                                        Yup. Saburo. Been there once and didn't like it, but my SO and friends do. Oh well.

                                                        I guess I should amend what I said about having all people present before being seated - that should only apply in a full resto. It's not fun, though if you're waiting for a 4-top and the guy in front of you gets seated at a 4-top and you have to sit there watching him drink water and wait for the other people to show up while you would have already ordered.

                                                        1. re: akq

                                                          However....there is a difference in incomplete parties to consider. Using your four top as an example, if three guests were present, should they have to wait for the fourth. As I indicated, three patrons usually take up the same table space as four patrons.

                                                          I would not consider a single patron waiting for the other three to arrive quite the same.

                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                            I don't know. To me, this issue isn't so much about space as it is about time. If not all the people in the party are there, chances are they aren't ready to start their meal according to the regular timetable (they may order drinks and apps, but they will hold off on ordering the mains, etc. until the other person gets there), so I wouldn't feel bad about seating the next group of that size at the table (where all are present) because that group is arguably read to go. I could handle a rule either way, I guess, but it is annoying if your party is all there ready to go and another party gets seated, waits 30 mins for the fourth before even ordering. You have to wait to be seated later and because your party was ready to go, you end up leaving before them, so what was the point of them getting the table earlier? Especially from the busy resto's standpoint where table turns are so important, the incomplete group just camped out at a 4 top and potentially cost the resto and server some $.

                                                            1. re: akq

                                                              In our case there was no party after us. The place emptied out rapidly after we were seated.

                                                              1. re: Leonardo

                                                                In your case, the resto was being totally unreasonable and ridiculous.

                                                        2. re: Leonardo

                                                          You cite, what I believe to be a mistake from the customer service standpoint. However, it happens.

                                                          Some major chains dictate that all parties will wait, regardless of how many tables and servers are available. Their reasoning is that a party waiting will purchase "finger-food and drinks," while waiting. They also (erroneously, in my opinion) believe that it will make the waiting parties believe that the place is somehow more popular, than it is.

                                                          First, and only visit to a Joe's Crabshack was like this. It was snowing heavily, and this place had just opened. We arrived about 7:00PM and there were maybe four cars in the parking lot. The place was empty, except for two parties - empty. There were servers standing with their hands in pocket. When we approached the hostess and stated "party of 2," her reply was, "it'll be 45 mins. wait. Here's a pager." I asked about all of the empty tables and the idle servers. "There is ALWAYS a 45 min. wait," was her reply. How odd I thought, as we handed back the pager, and went elsewhere. Within the month, I was reading a restaurant trade mag. in a client's office. The CEO of one of the larger national restaurant chains had an article on how much their profit had gone up, as soon as they instituted a mandatory 30 min. wait, and then sold the waiting patrons heavily marked up drinks an appetizers. A lightbulb went off in my head.

                                                          Some patrons think that if there is a wait, the food MUST be good, and never look into the restaurant. Puff, nothing but puff. Oh, and a profit-centers on the apps. and drinks.


                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                            I have eaten at Joe's Crabshack a few times (unfortunately) and have never waited 45 minutes for a table there! Ugh. That sounds utterly ridiculous.

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              I am not a big Olive Garden fan, but I am a captive audience for my girlfriend, who loves the place. After about the sixth or seventh time this happened, when the hostess told us that there would be a 30 minute wait for a table, I wandered into the dining area and discovered that a quarter of the tables were unoccupied. Most of them were set and ready to go. Since that time, it has become such a regular occurrence that we joke about it. No matter how empty the Olive Garden is, there is a 30 minute wait. If we order a drink though, the wait is miraculously cut to 15 minutes.

                                                        3. Anybody been to Shopsin's in NYC? From what I've read, there's no substitutions, no copying the order of the person next to you, no parties larger than 5, the owner has no compunctions about kicking people out for whatever reason... I don't know how many of these rules are still in effect since their move to the Essex Market (the menu seems to have slimmed down considerably from the fabled 900 items). Calvin Trillin describes it best (a universal truism): http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images...

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Emmmily

                                                            Yes, I've been there a few times (when it was at the old location with the larger menu). I've heard quite a few stories about the place. But I've personally never experienced any rude service at all, and I haven't been kicked out.

                                                            1. re: Emmmily

                                                              There's a documentary about Shopsin's called "I Like Killing Flies". Loved it! Even if you split your party of 6 into two tables, they will still somehow figure out what you're up to, and kick you out!

                                                              1. re: Emmmily

                                                                shopsin basically makes up the rules as he goes. i haven't personally seen anything really egregious, either, but i do like the fact that his mouth is nearly as dirty as mine.

                                                                1. re: Emmmily

                                                                  Actually, their menu reads "no parties larger than 4 served; everyone must eat a meal"



                                                                2. Best rule is Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse: If you come in wearing a tie, they cut it off and tack it to the ceiling!


                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                    Pinnacle Peak.........When I was in college 30 years ago at The University of Arizona in Tucson, my local friends I met in college pulled the Neck Tie prank on me.... the website does not mention if the there is still a Tucson location. anybody know if it is still in open for business?

                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                      I've never even been, just always liked that rule, can't remember even where I first read about it. Had to search for the name of the restaurant again, and I found references to Tucson, but, well, lemmee just search again...yeah, looks like it's there: http://www.pinnaclepeaktucson.com/

                                                                      Also here it talks about the tie rule again. Interesting that this is Trail Dust Town, maybe you are actually referencing the same place? http://www.traildusttown.com/history.htm

                                                                      1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                        There are several such places around the West and Southwest. To me, it's a bit tacky, but then I'm usually dining in a jacket and often a tie. I also am less a fan of "folksy" dining spots, but have seen this sort of "thing" in several states and under many different names.

                                                                        Touch my Tabasco tie and I am likely to pull out my Colt 1911 and do you in. Hang THAT on your wall...


                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                          Oh, it's tacky, I suppose, and I probably wouldn't dine in such a place either, but it makes me laugh because I hate ties. Maybe I'd wear one to such a place just so it could be cut off. ;-)

                                                                          Whatever works for you, but for me, I draw the line at ties, almost completely, and jackets as well. (Suit? I've never even owned one.) I wore a jacket and tie to a wedding a couple years ago, that was the last time I had one on, and before that it was several years since I had last worn one.

                                                                          Luckily for me, the current state of things means that you can go out and get good meals at fine restaurants, attend shows and so forth without wearing a jacket and tie. :-)

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            This was a while back, but it was my understanding, since my ex worked at the Dallas Trail Dust, that if you really didn't want your tie cut, they would not force the issue (bulge or no bulge).

                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                              I would hope not. Now, I have to admit that the ties adorning the Denver (DTC Area) TDS looked like they NEEDED to be cut. I am sure that some were worn just for that occasion, and are better tacked to a wall, than being around anyone's neck. Still, if I did not know the drill, and someone came after any of MY ties, I'd see if a steak knife trumped a pair of sissors. OTOH, all of mine have been specifically hand-chosen by me with much consideration to my closet. Touch my tie and it might be your fingers hanging on that wall.

                                                                              Also, unlike CrazyOne, I usually do dress for dinner. He and I are opposite ends of the attire spectrum. Still, I'd feel bad if some part of his apparel were to be cut off, unless he'd worn it specifically for the occasion.

                                                                              I get their joke and also the undercurrent that they are not at all a formal steakhouse, in the vein of The Palm, etc.

                                                                              What were we discussing? Oh, OK, "restaurants with rules." Sorry, I lost track.


                                                                              PS back in the day, I had many good lunches on the "cowgirl filet" at the DTC Trail Dust. Nice smallish cut with "steak fries," that had really good smoky flavor. The peanuts were appreciated too, though some batches were far better than others. In Phoenix, we have similar in a place down south, called Rustler's Roost. Do not know about the "tie thing" though. I've only been for informal events. Food did not impress me, like Trail Dust's did.


                                                                            2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              20 years ago I was camping/fishing around Lake Placid for a few days, then went into town to clean up and enjoy a breakfast beer at a local pub. 3 or 4 huge, hairy giants circled me and in a nanosecond, tore the T-shirt off my back and shredded it. "What's going on?" I thought. "Am I about to lose some dentition, or perhaps my whole mandible? Or worse, is this a Deliverance thing?" Turned out that that the regulars at that bar had a custom of surprising unwitting newcomers in that fashion, and then presenting them with the house T-shirt , all logo-ed up. Then we all had a beer with a toast. A bit startling, but a fun time and a fair trade. Someone out there will know this bar.

                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                But what if it's your favorite t-shirt, like my Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers or my Dead Head T? I think I'd be real pissed. Heads might roll....

                                                                                I was one month post 21 and had been camping and varmint hunting in the Gila National Forest in NM. I went into Silver City and ordered a beer at a bar. I had long hair. I looked scruffy. A middle-aged drunk offered me a dollar to get my hair cut. He called me a hippie and other things. I thought I was going to get in a fight but the bartender made him leave me alone. Wasn't funny.

                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                  99% off-topic, but we were married in NOLA on the Saturday before Mardi-gras. Our "honeymoon" was the weekend in the French Quarter. Sitting on the curb at Jackson Square with my glowing young bride, a well-dressed family walked by. One of the daughters (about 10) walked up to me an handed me a quarter, saying "here's something so you can get some food." I thanked her for her generosity and we spent it, along with a couple of dollars (of our own) at the old Morning Call coffee stand. At the time, I was a civil engineering designer for a major petro-chemical company and possibly made more than her father and mother. Still, I guess that I looked like I needed the quarter, and she was definitely a gracious "little lady," in her act. I think I also tipped the mime a bit extra in the Square. See the Morning Call reference to find the 1% food-related aspect of the story.

                                                                                  Yes, with the t-shirt thing, it could easily backfire in a tragic way. Some folk do not take kindly to that sort of welcome. I'd think that just gathering around, and starring might be enough, then the presentation of the logo t-shirt would suffice. One just never knows who might be "packing." Could get touchy and make CNN the next evening.

                                                                                  Still, I am less a fan of what I would term "gimmicks" in restaurats, though I did enjoy the food at the CO Trail Dust - just did not wear a tie.


                                                                          2. re: fourunder

                                                                            still open and still has the rule! i graduated a year ago :) bear down!

                                                                          3. re: CrazyOne

                                                                            That was a Trail Dust Steakhouse rule in 1980-?, but they tacked it on the wall, with your business card, if you had one..... sounds like they copied Pinnacle.

                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                              I have a sense of humour, but some of my ties costs more than a steak, and many come with sentimental attachments (gifts from my wife, daughters, friends, and yes, I happen to have an "Old School Tie" as well). If anyone tried to cut off one of those, there would be fisticuffs, and I'm pretty sure I'd have a winnable assault case as well.

                                                                              1. re: KevinB

                                                                                I understand. I have some unique ones my Dad wore. I think you had to take it off or they cut the dangling part off. Many came in with crappy ties so they would be cut off. I think they make a big deal of it, so it draws attention. Kinda like, "Don't wear a suit and tie in here! This is a low-brow place!"
                                                                                The mesquite cooked steaks were pretty tasty. Sometimes they had musicians and you could do a little two-steppin'.

                                                                          4. There's a shave-ice place in Paia on Maui that had some of the best rules ever. Sorta like the FAQ's for the place. "What flavors do you have?" They're all on the white-board. If you ask me , I'll tell you to look on the board. "What are adzuki beans?" If you're asking, you probably don't want them. "What's li hing mui?" if you're asking, you DEFINITELY don't want them. "Can I get more than one flavor in my shave-ice?" What does the white board say? Small can be up to three flavors, large up to five flavors. All this for shave-ice...but it's the best (if not only) shave-ice on Maui and worth it. I made sure I read the white-board before I ordered, obeyed all the rules, and was rewarded with a big, friendly Island smile from the owner.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: adamshoe

                                                                              Have not seen this place, but will look it up next month. Sounds like they are addressing years of the same questions.


                                                                              PS, I will read the white-board first, just like I try to pick up the unwritten, unspoken rules at other places, BEFORE I get to the head of the line.

                                                                            2. I'm pretty much okay with rules like these. I only dislike it when the place treats you as though they are doing you a favor by letting you eat there and you're lucky to be giving them your money. Attitude is everything.

                                                                              1. i guess they know their customers pretty well.

                                                                                1. As for the liquor rules, I have read that in some cases the server or restaurant who served someone more liquor when they appeared intoxicated can be held liable if that person gets in an auto accident afterwards.

                                                                                  I don't know whether this is true, or true in some places, or not true at all.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Louise

                                                                                    In Oregon it's illegal to serve someone who is visibly drunk. The server and the business could both lose their liquor licenses.

                                                                                    1. re: Louise

                                                                                      i'd say that is true pretty much everywhere in the u.s. -- tavernkeeper's third party tort liability. custo drinks too much, hurts someone, victim can recover for injuries from both/either tavernkeeper and drunk. foreseeable risk of injury is the theory.

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        Couldn't find a reference, but I'm pretty sure that's the law in most of Canada now. IIRC, a woman went to a Christmas party at a bar in British Columbia, had way too many drinks (10?), and then drove off. Again, I'm pretty sketchy on the details, but I think she continued drinking (out of her own bottle) while driving, had an accident, and was very seriously hurt (lucky she didn't hurt anyone else!). She sued the bar and won on the grounds they should have stopped serving her, and prevented her from driving away.

                                                                                    2. There is a vegetarian restaurant here in Montreal called Spirite Lounge that serves one meal per night, in small, medium or large portions. If you don't finish your meal, you forfeit your right to order dessert, and you are forced to donate $2 to charity. If you don't finish dessert, you are never allowed back to the restaurant.

                                                                                      Needless to say, I have never been to this place because being dictated to like that it is definitely not up my alley. ;-)


                                                                                      Oh, and apparently the decor is mighty strange. My fave review puts it this way: "If Liberace was force fed LSD and told to go to a flea market and buy supplies in order to decorate a restaurant, this place would be the final result."

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: kpzoo

                                                                                        Check out this picture of the interior! http://www.happycow.net/review_photos...
                                                                                        Supposedly the owner is unfriendly, the service slow, food is unpredictable hash served on a crepe with sorbet on top. It's cash only, no cellphones and it's a smoking restaurant in a sketchy part of town where they black out the windows in winter. cool. :(
                                                                                        One patron (a fan), summed it up pretty well: "I think it’s a shame that it gets pegged as some kind of forced-feeding, heavy-handed nightmare wrought by egomaniacal vegans."

                                                                                      2. This entire list reads like a response to problems they've had in the past, though the three-drink limit may also have been inspired by innkeepers-liability laws. Nothing here seems inappropriate to me, but I might have trouble coping with "one guest check per table," as arithmetic isn't my strong suit (especially after reaching the three-drink limit!).

                                                                                        54 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Miss Priss

                                                                                          We went to a hot new restaurant in Philly. The thing to order was whole fish grilled in grape leaves. After our appetizers arrived I asked the waiter to please bone the fish in the kitchen as I really don't like to see the whole fish. He snorted at me and said, "the chef won't allow it!". I started laughing because I thought he was kidding. He wasn't. When the whole fish came to the table and the waiter started to cut it up, I excused myself and went to the ladies room. We won't be going back.

                                                                                          1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                            In my experience, most restaurants that feature a whole fish will not debone it before serving. Their viewpoint is that deboning it detracts from the presentation so if you don't want to see a whole fish you should order something else, and I tend to agree. Personally, I'm not interested in dealing with a whole fish so I don't order it, but some of my friends are pros at eating it and have no problems whatsoever. You're either into it or you're not. I have to side with the restaurant on this one, sorry.

                                                                                            1. re: purple bot

                                                                                              jfood's experience is different in that most ask if you want it served with the head at the time of order and if someone forgets, then the servers have always returned to the kitchen and came back headless (the fish that is).

                                                                                              Jfood has never encountered a restaurant that would not de-head the fish.

                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                Headless servers -- I love that! You may be correct about de-heading (beheading?) the fish, but my impression of Daisy's post was that she was talking about having it fileted and coming out of the kitchen not looking like a fish, but as a filet instead. I know many places that serve whole fish won't do this. Taking off the head is another, easier matter that doesn't compromise the presentation all that much.

                                                                                                1. re: purple bot

                                                                                                  Jfood's imagery aside, most fileting/de-boning is usually done table-side, in my experiences. Some servers do a production akin to Bananas Foster, with flourishes and a spiel to go along with their work. They assume that it is part of the "show."

                                                                                                  Maybe I've just never dined at the appropriate restaurants.


                                                                                                2. re: jfood

                                                                                                  Ah, Halloween....... Which is spookier, a headless fish or one who's eyes are staring back at you?
                                                                                                  "No thanks, I'll just have the nondescript lump of flesh".

                                                                                                3. re: purple bot


                                                                                                  Doesn't asking for the fish to be filleted defeat the whole point?

                                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                    I disagree. I ordered the fish because it is the specialty of the restaurant. If I don't want to meet my fish "face to face" then I really think it isn't unreasonable for it to be fileted in the kitchen. It is still going taste exactly the same.

                                                                                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                      would you also ask the kitchen to cut the t-bone steak off of the bone for you? your mussels in white wine to be removed from the shells for you? the traditional heads-on presentation of shrimp/prawns in a dish to be altered?

                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                        Kind of sarcastic for this board.

                                                                                                        The waiter would still be fileting the fish....the only difference is it would be done in the kitchen....not in front of me.

                                                                                                        1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                          I'm with Daisy here. It's an unusual request, but not an unreasonable one, and as she points out, no extra work for anyone. Personally I like eating things with heads (and tentacles!) but I respect the squeamish.

                                                                                                          1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                            i wasn't trying to be sarcastic-- those were real questions of the "where does it end?" variety. are the bones of a fish really any different than the bones of a chicken or cow? the heads of fish any different from the faces of other aquatic creatures? is it reasonable for restaurants to employ "mommies" to go around cutting grown-up folks' steaks into small pieces for them?

                                                                                                            as a nose-to-tail cook, and someone who respects culinary traditions, including the presentation of whole fish (and other whole animals), as showpiece, celebratory dishes of great beauty and cultural significance, i am curious about why someone would order a traditionally presented house specialty, and then ask to change the traditional preparation. i am also worried that someone would so badly need to disassociate themselves with the fact that their *food* was once a living animal, like the Ranger's girlfriend, below. in my opinion, and without trying to get into the politics of meat, it's fairly obvious that folks like this might actually have no business eating meat/flesh. certainly, going into public restaurants expecting food issues of this magnitude to be accommodated somehow, can be very problematic for everyone involved. it also creates a great deal of waste, among other issues, which the folks who eat like this also disassociate themselves from. i am not trying to be harsh, i cut up animals every day in order to feed others & sometimes i may forget that some people have avoided many issues surrounding their food by buying only heavily prepared & processed food items. i also respect the squeamish-- i think that if they can't deal, they need to sensibly order something within their comfort zone, and not bring their issues into meals/environments where it's inappropriate. stick to american fast food restaurants, for example, in most of europe/caribbean/asia, to avoid seeing bones, shells, etc on a plate (i know folks who happily do this). grossed out by brains & other offal?--don't order it, you know? avoid the greek restaurant, or order a moussaka or gyro, not the expensive, spectacular market price family celebration main, asking it to be hacked in the kitchen beyond recognition of its menu description. because any self-respecting authentic restaurant serving ethnic specialties should never do this, and if they do, they should anticipate that their most discerning patrons might lose respect for the establishment, or choose to leave. the restaurant must stand by its food, and proudly-- erm, head on, distinguish themselves from the chilis franchise across the street, where you have no chance of encountering a whole animal of any kind, and every plate of food, be it meat, fish, or fowl, kinda looks bland and acceptable and the same.

                                                                                                            problem with traditional presentation of whole fish/animal, whether the chef is french, greek, chinese, tom douglas, whatever-- massacring the presentation is a very insulting, piss-on-your-culture type gesture, which i can understand is a non-issue for many restaurant customers-- after all: who cares what the chef or the rest of the restaurant thinks, they are here to *serve* **meMeME**. . . but the customer is also the one who loses out-- losing the best part of the fish, and the inclusion in the cultural tradition of such a special food preparation. misses the whole point, in short.

                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                              those were real questions of the "where does it end?"

                                                                                                              Does this mean I can no longer expect to ask for the salt shaker for my ordered selections.....which I find too bland?


                                                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                Yes, yes I see exactly how those are the same thing.

                                                                                                                Wait. What? Come on, is the distinction between the wholesale altering of a dish and adding some salt after the fact really not clear?

                                                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                Listen...I know these are very stressful times we are living in. It seems that my sharing that I asked that the whole fish that I ordered be deboned in the kitchen instead of in front of me is upsetting some people. Honestly, I'm a good person and I really just don't like to see dead fish looking at me. Let's all focus on happy things and be grateful to be alive. I promise I won't ever order a whole fish again!!!

                                                                                                                1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                  Soupkitten: I think this means you don't get an answer.

                                                                                                                  No one should take things on such a board personally. I don't think anyone is upset with you DaisyM, people simply have strong feelings about a great many things.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                    no, indeed!---i am not trying to pick on DaisyM, and her response to me ("I promise I won't ever order a whole fish again!") is exactly the opposite i'd wish for. i *would* wish that someday DaisyM might order, try, and enjoy a traditional whole fish preparation, along with her close friends, as some sort of meal worthy of a celebration. . . you know, or maybe the whole fish minus the head, to be able to appreciate the beauty of the fish, such a beautiful, top-notch specimen, so carefully selected and presented, the pride of the restaurant, chef, & culture :(

                                                                                                                    i suppose i come across as an a-hole a lot, i do this for a living, what else do i have to think about obsessively all day besides food-- & others for whom food is a trivial detail in their day can be so casual and (to me) thoughtless about their food choices. i've served so many people who pride themselves on their sensitive natures because they only eat beef tenderloin and boneless chicken breasts, it's just like you can forget the meat was ever attached to an animal's body-- i'm like, but what do we do with the other 300 pounds of beef that isn't tenderloin-- throw it away? you're killing more animals, wastefully and cruelly, the way you eat--because you can't deal with a bone or a kidney or tongue or some delicious sowbelly or a crispy-fried ear. . . who's the barbarian here, the one who slices off the delicious fish cheeks and sucks on the fish head, or the one who asks for it to be chopped off and thrown away? do we need to be reminded of worldwide hunger and simultaneously the disgusting amounts of food waste in our own country and outside the back doors of our most esteemed restaurants?

                                                                                                                    *sigh* i said i wasn't going to get into the politics of meat, so i'm gonna shut up and save it for another discussion. the currently running thread about not being able to get an egg-white omelet at an l.a. restaurant is another one about how not every restaurant is like b.k. and the customer can't always have it their way, and reasons for same. i gotta prep some squash :(

                                                                                                                  2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                    I'm not sure that it is upsetting anyone. Like many have said, it is odd. Odd to order something , anything, that was once alive and show disrespect for the once living creature, which you are willing to eat, but unwilling to acknowledge, and odd that you must have it your way which is not how the restaurant or chef is offering it. I think your solution is perfect.

                                                                                                                    1. re: DaisyM


                                                                                                                      Would table-side de-boning not work? I missed the "in the kitchen" part - sorry.

                                                                                                                      I agree, regarding the ease of dining with a de-boned whole fish, but have no problem regarding where the de-boning takes place.


                                                                                                                      1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                        daisym, you order your fish any damn way you want! if nobody else in the world wants it your way, then they can order their fish another way. "traditional" "authentic" "real-life-this-is-where-food-comes-from" -- or whatever.

                                                                                                                        geesh, people! is the chowhound community going nuts?

                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                          She certainly should order it however she likes it.

                                                                                                                          Restaurants and cooks and whoever else should continue to serve it the way they wish, too.

                                                                                                                          Then all one need to do is match up the folks who want to serve it the way you want to eat it and there are no problems.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                            who are the cooks/restos serving? customers. why cook or have a resto if you don't want to make the customer happy? but sure, if a place is not going to do it the way you like, then talk with your feet!

                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                              Not every restaurant and every customer are a good fit. Some restaurants refuse to bend rules that are important to them to please a customer. And some customers will choose not to dine there. Seems pretty simple, right?

                                                                                                                              I mean, she ordered WHOLE steamed fish, minus the whole. I don't believe for one hot second the chef has to change his dish to please a customer, unless there's an allergy (and even then, maybe just order something else). If she's squeamish and can't eat like a big girl, maybe she should stick to something a bit more pedestrian.

                                                                                                                              And I agree with soupkitten that, like it or not, your meat was once alive. To pretend otherwise does a disservice to the animal that died to be on your plate. Are we really so far detached that we no longer respect that? If you have a weak stomach (like I do), maybe an omniverous lifestyle isn't the one for you.

                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                I agree with the last part of that, quite a lot. No reason to stay someplace you don't like or don't want to patronize.

                                                                                                                          2. re: DaisyM


                                                                                                                            Don't ever dine out with Chinese people; not only do they consider it normal to serve the fish whole, the "cheeks" of the fish are considered the choicest part, and are offered to either the guest of honour, or the oldest person at the table, first. No one would say anything, but you'd get strange looks if you turned them down.

                                                                                                                          3. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                            Wow, I couldn't have said it better, soupkitten!

                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                              Spot on! Fish head soup and squirrel stew too!

                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                Just like my observations on de-boning Dover Sole in the UK, once presented, just do as the patron requests. Afterall, restaurants are for the patrons' delight. If someone wants their fish de-boned for their pleasure, why make an issue of it? The kitchen did the dish. The server delivered it with a flourish and now the crowd has moved on. It is the patron, who must now deal with it. Make it easy.

                                                                                                                                It's almost like saying that this wine was produced by a dedicated winemaker, who oversaw the bottling line, and YOU want me to DECANT this wine? Of course I do, if I deem it necessary.


                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                  would you also ask the kitchen to cut the t-bone steak off of the bone for you?

                                                                                                                                  This is done for you in just about every big NYC Steakhouse when you order the Porterhouse for two or more.....without asking....so asking anywhere else seems like a reasonable request to me......

                                                                                                                                  I would add that de-boning a fish is also reasonable....it's done tableside when Traditional Dover Sole is ordered, so what's the big deal if it is requested by the customer to have it done in the kitchen and out of view.... and I would also add that having a Lobster shelled for you would also be reasonable as well.

                                                                                                                                  In my four decades of food and hospitality experience....this extra effort is what set the standard for excellence for the few who cared about their reputations and their customers satisfactions ......

                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                    Yes to each, if it enhanced my enjoyment of the food.


                                                                                                                                  2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                                    Another take - in Chinese restos being served a whole fish is partly to ensure that you actually get what you paid for - you can see that the entire fish is there, intact and they didn't take any of it or serve you a sub-standard fish. I don't know about Greek culture or the resto's policy, but it's at least possible that the chef doesn't want a patron ordering a whole fish, having the kitchen cut it up and try to serve it, only to have the patron say that it's not the whole thing, or whatever. Also, I've seen a lot of servers not be able to debone the fish and keep the filets whole, so what would come out of the kitchen could look pretty ugly.

                                                                                                                                    I, personally, don't understand what the problem with having the whole fish served to you when you order the whole fish, and to me, deboning it does seem like a strange request, kind of like if someone asked that their roast chicken be deboned in the kitchen because they don't like seeing chicken on the bone. I usually side with the patron, but this case seems to have so much potential downside for the resto (patron unhappy with messy looking dish) and asking them to change the way they do a specialty of the house...that I'd side with the resto on this one.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: akq

                                                                                                                                      , personally, don't understand what the problem with having the whole fish served to you when you order the whole fish, and to me, deboning it does seem like a strange request, kind of like if someone asked that their roast chicken be deboned in the kitchen because they don't like seeing chicken on the bone


                                                                                                                                      Believe it or not, it's a phobia for some. I have a friend that will not under any circumstances, eat any chicken on the bone......can you imagine anyone not enjoying Fried Chicken?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                        Ok. but then why order a whole fish?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: akq

                                                                                                                                          There is a belief by many that meat, chicken and fish taste better when cooked with or on the bones.....

                                                                                                                                          There used to be this great Cooking Show on The Discovery Channel featuring the great chefs from around the world.....I remember one episode where the chef completely removed all the bones from a Dover Sole in the kitchen by carefully separating the two fillets and then presented the fish with head still attached and the fish still looking like it was whole.....just sans bones on the plate with Meuniere sauce and Netted Lemon Half..... On another episode featuring Skate, the same was done in the kitchen.....fish presented and served with both fillets still somewhat attached together lookng whole.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                            Absolutely better with bones!
                                                                                                                                            Otherwise, why would they put bones in a pot and cook them for stock and Mire Poire?

                                                                                                                                        2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                          fourunder- there must be a lot of diners like your friend. I have been asked frequently if I understand that a meat dish is "on the bone" when I order something like chicken cacciatore. to me, this is similar to asking if i understand that the chili is "spicy". what a laugh!

                                                                                                                                        3. re: akq

                                                                                                                                          akg, whole fish is served because many of us enjoy and prefer a whole fish: we enjoy lifting and serving the upper portion/fillet, then removing the bones all in a single lift, and then serving and eating the lower fillet without turning the fish over. Using chopsticks, one can eat everything no fuss no muss. We enjoy the deliciousness in the head.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                            Honestly, I just don't like to see a dead head in front of me.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                                              All the more reason NOT to order it, then. That's all I'm saying. But you did say initially that you wanted it cut up, not de-headed.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                                                "Honestly, I just don't like to see a dead head in front of me."

                                                                                                                                                Well, Jerry Garcia passed, so you probably won't get many opportunities...

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                I get that, Sam, and I like whole fish.

                                                                                                                                              3. re: akq

                                                                                                                                                > I, personally, don't understand what the problem
                                                                                                                                                > with having the whole fish served to you...

                                                                                                                                                It's the Ickiness Factor.

                                                                                                                                                I once dated a girl that fainted when we went to a restaurant where you chose the actual cut of beef prior to having it cooked to your doneness. She could happily order it but could not look at it, even behind a cellophane wrapper. Seeing it right under her chin was just too much; back rolled her eyes and onto the restaurant floor she fell. I can easily understand seeing a whole fish, while not as exciting for DaisyM, is in the same boat.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Ranger

                                                                                                                                                  Had this woman never been in a supermarket or butcher shop before? If she could "happily order it" I imagine she could also happily eat it, so why would seeing it before cooking make her faint?

                                                                                                                                                  I just find this odd.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                                    She said, "I can't handle red or blood; that was just too much..."

                                                                                                                                                    She was right; it was too much and a LONG, quiet ride home from that restaurant. :)

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: The Ranger

                                                                                                                                                    this sort of thing makes me believe even more that people are far too removed from the food that they eat. meat isn't born and raised in styrofoam trays. it had eyes once....duh.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Ranger

                                                                                                                                                      Reminds me of a Midwesterner, who hosted his parents in his new town, New Orleans. He took them to a seafood restaurant known for their New Orleans recipes with regards to the local seafood. He suggested a bowl of gumbo for his mother. When it arrived, there was a crab claw sticking up, like the last scene in the movie "Deliverance." She fainted on the spot and they had to leave, as no one was hungry, especially for local seafood.

                                                                                                                                                      Just a difference in culture.

                                                                                                                                                      Now, my wife will do things with a crawfish's head, that might make some shudder, but she likes her whole fish de-boned table-side. She looks at it and appreciates the art of the presentation, but chooses to have it de-boned to dine on. Personal choice. She has never been deined this choice.


                                                                                                                                                  3. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                                                    Tangential to this discussion, we dined at an event at an aquarium. The tables were clustered around the main tank and there were windows looking into the tank. The mains were seafood. Suddenly, I felt eyes looking over my shoulder. I turned to see a school of fish, pressed against the glass and looking at me and my plate. I almost expected to see a sign reading "Eat mor chickn... "

                                                                                                                                                    Now, that was coming face-to-face with my food. Heck, I could have been dining on filet of Steve, or whomever.


                                                                                                                                                  4. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                    Not really. It usually makes it far easier for many to eat. The prep has been done. The cooking has been done. The presentation has been done. Now, it's time to eat the sucka'.


                                                                                                                                                  5. re: purple bot

                                                                                                                                                    We dine throughout the UK and my wife loves Dover Sole. Every restaurant, that we have dined in, has offered to de-bone her sole. Not one exception.

                                                                                                                                                    Now, growing up in the Gulf South, I am accoustomed to having whole fish served. I do not recall any being de-boned, but also do not recall anyone asking for this.

                                                                                                                                                    To me, if the patron requests that it be de-boned and served on a paper plate, so be it. The chef is in the kitchen and will never see what someone is eating. Besides, it is I, who is paying the chef to keep his/her place open. If the staff does not know how to de-bone a fish, then they need to learn and do so quickly. In the UK, all servers are great with a filet knife and can do the chore blindfolded in an instant, and perfectly each time. It keeps my wife happy and us coming back, regardless of the exchange rate.


                                                                                                                                                    1. re: purple bot

                                                                                                                                                      Agreed. (And Daisy, is that the Turkish place?) It's not just the presentation - all flesh tastes better cooked on the bone. It used to offend my delicate sensibilities, too, but then I learned to cook and got over it.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                                                      Daisy M, your story reminds me of the steak place I went to where the chef refused to provide patrons with A-1 or any other kind of steak sauce. I couldn't believe my ears, but it was true!

                                                                                                                                                  6. As others have pointed out, this is to "discourage" cawlej stoodents from tanking up and eating for free. PS is hit with waves during spring break. I'd bet the rules are relaxed during non-spring break times.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Ranger

                                                                                                                                                      El Gallito isn't really a student hangout at any time of year. It's located in a blue collar, ethic neighborhood populated by workers who are employed in the area's hotel, restaurant, golf course, landscaping and similar industries. I think their intention is to avoid the place becoming an after-work "bar," at the risk of driving the eating patrons away.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: 50sGuy


                                                                                                                                                        My experience with spring break in PS was over <sigh> two-and-a-half decades ago... I can remember a couple of my friends knowing exactly how to get by on just enough without starving, mostly by brazenly ordering cheap sides and other such hi jinx. It was embarrassing enough that I chose to avoid going anywhere with them at mealtimes while we were down there.

                                                                                                                                                    2. chiming in on liquor rules.....around these parts, you can't order alcohol on Good Friday unless you also order food...and I think there is a cap on how many you can order and it doesn't matter if you order a meal, as long as it's food , i think it's three drinks (no cap on their size however...two beer is equivalent to two triple rum and cokes on the day)....that one never totally made sense to me.

                                                                                                                                                      as for the "no shirt, no shoes, no service"....I am reminded of the time when a friend and I were eating on the patio at a local bar/restaurant, when one male patron proceeded to stand up and change out of his shorts, underwear and all into a change of clothes...guess someone should've added "no pants no service" to the rules in that place. XD

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                        That is funny! And sounds like it may also have involved a violation of the three drink maximum rule. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                          > around these parts, you can't order alcohol on Good Friday unless you also order food...

                                                                                                                                                          That's hilarious! Where's "these parts"? Wait, let me guess - Newfoundland!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kpzoo

                                                                                                                                                            actually no, this was in Nova Scotia I first stumbled on this one. I am from Nfld though, and until not so many years ago, nothing was open on Good Friday at all. Bars would open at midnight.

                                                                                                                                                        2. "Please turn off your cell phones."

                                                                                                                                                          47 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roadfix


                                                                                                                                                            Are you in favor in the rule or in disagreement? I for one would be in favor....

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                              sadly, the rule doesn't work in theatres, probably wouldn't work in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                              i'd be in favor of an anti-crackberry rule for almost everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                jfood votes the other way.

                                                                                                                                                                one can be respectful on a cell phone in a restaurant in a similar manner to normal table conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                  ok ok...i admit....i'm not necessarily only talking about restaurants....and I do agree that a respectful conversation can be ok.

                                                                                                                                                                  re: blackberry, i've just grown more than a bit tired of it in the work world of late...whereby it's seemingly ok to jump up and leave the room during meetings/conferences etc, to take the all-important call, or to play with it during the same......don't get me started on those who leave it on vibrate on the table where they can keep one eye to it, and how distracting it is to see it vibrating all over the table.

                                                                                                                                                                  there, rant over. :)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                    Now you do need to realize that there are folk, who must be in contact with their places of work at all times. Lives can be hanging in the balance. Problems at a national, or international level, might be involved.

                                                                                                                                                                    For these people, to have to excuse themselves to take some calls is necessary. To chat with a golf buddy about the morning's round does not fall into these areas.

                                                                                                                                                                    Do not be too quick to judge, until you know what the call is about.


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                      What did these people do before the invention of cell phones?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jes

                                                                                                                                                                        What did people who bitch about those on cell phones bitch about before cell phones?

                                                                                                                                                                        The answer is they bitched about whatever it is that those who are on their cell phones a lot now were doing before they had cell phones.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                          I wasnt complaining about cell phone use. Frankly I dont care too much if someone at another table is talking on their cell phnoe all evening as long as it is at a respectable volume and not continuous annoying ringtones. Someone at my own table is another story but thats because I find it rude to ignore the people you are face-to-face with. I was only making the point that the fact that someone might need to be reached 24/7 is a bit over dramatic since clearly society functioned before the invention of the cell phone.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jes

                                                                                                                                                                            You have no idea of how dramatic my reference was. Until you do, you might wish to refrain from making sweeping statements to show your lack of knowledge.

                                                                                                                                                                            Before cell phones, a pager went off and a telephone was found.

                                                                                                                                                                            Before pagers, workers called the location, that this person was supposed to be.

                                                                                                                                                                            Before telephones, a rider was sent out to find this person.

                                                                                                                                                                            How far back do you wish to go?


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                              Reminds me of old movies where a big clunky phone is brought to the table by the waiter and plugged in with a flourish, while all the other diners eye the important guest. I've always thought that was so glamorous. Or in less fancy restaurants, the hero goes to the (always occupied) phone booth at the back of the joint and waits. Yes, they had ways of getting through.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                                                                Most folk will not pick up on this reference, but maybe Google, or YouTube can provide background. "Call for Phillip Morris!" Now, that line was uttered with a lot of pauses, that I omitted, but it was uttered by a bellman in a white jacket and pillbox cap.

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, plugging in the phone at the main dining room of the Ritz in London - brings back memories. Of course, I also remember listening to Trader Vic playing the mini-grand in the upper deck area of a 747-BC enroute from SFO to HON, but I digress and also give clues to my age.


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                                                                  Glencora, I guess I'm as old as those movies but of negligible importance. My college girlfriend turned 21 in Oct. 1974, and we trained it from Philly to the "21" Club in New York for dinner, where her father had a locker with champagne for his 3 daughters' purposes when they came of age. Dinner was on her dad; I was from a small town in Ct. My girlfriend was on her third spoonful of Iranian Beluga caviar, served from a tin in ice in a silver bowl. (I had ordered a half dozen oysters, and the waiter sensed the horror I was experiencing and said "I'll bring you a dozen". )
                                                                                                                                                                                  During the meal, someone brought a telephone to the table, with a 50 foot cord dragging behind it. That's all there was then. It was her father, correctly anticipating that perhaps I did not have enought money for the tip on all this, and he volunteered that the tip was on him, also. Nice gesture.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                    Nice gesture and a good story. Thanks for sharing.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                      Now that is an awesome story! Excellent job on the visuals, Veggo, I could see it all as if I was there...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                        Veggo, you reminded me of my first experience in fine dining. We were very poor and I delivered newspapers. On one of my routes, in North Dallas was a famous heart surgeon. I started dating his daughter and when she turned 18 I took her to one of the nicest places in North Dallas, in Preston Center. My mom made me a Bill Blass suit around this time; I may have worn it.
                                                                                                                                                                                        All I can remember is them bringing the Bananas Foster to the table to ignite.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow, that's so nice! He really wanted his daughter to have a lovely, memorable evening, but realized that your pockets were a bit shallow for the venue. What a nice guy he sounds! Thoughtful in the extreme.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            And we lost him last December; a true southern gentleman and significant philanthropist. At her rehearsal dinner (I was family friend and still am), he took me aside and said in his southern drawl, "Veggo, won't you reconsider? I'll give you a lot of cash and a very fast car."
                                                                                                                                                                                            RIP, WEM.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                              Awww...that actually made me a little misty-eyed. You must be a really sweet guy.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                I have worked in fields where the level of urgency really is that high and have no trouble with someone taking a call in certain cases. However, in my experience, the vast majority of people who are on their cell phones or blackberries do not fall into that category.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dizzied

                                                                                                                                                                                  That's undoubtedly true. But, you can't know it ahead of time and you can't be sure of it when its happening either.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't wait for the next time I'm in a fine dining establishment and a cell phone starts ringing. I'm going to leap to my feet and say in a loud, serious voice, "everyone be quiet, their getting a call from the president!"

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, in my wife's case, you only have until February to worry about that. Also, her phone will not be ringing, but she might be whispering that the caller must hold, while she excuses herself. Until February, you might get your chance though. Though Hillary Clinton did summon her to the White House, back in the day, to speak on healthcare, I doubt that Obama will be calling, but stranger things have happened. Heck, on 09/13/01, she was flown by private jet to talk to the White House on how CEOs were hoping to cope with the events of just a few days before. If the new administration wants to know what is happening in healthcare, in the trenches, she'll be at the top of their list too. Still, no ringing, just vibrations and whispers, until she's in the lobby.


                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                    Bill I generalized my "rant" to the table, from that which i experience at work...when i have a fairly good idea what is going on.

                                                                                                                                                                                    and at a risk of being blown off by the mods...i'm not sure what all your posts about the importance of (and how important) your wife's job and all the name-dropping has to do with all of this.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                      I believe that Hunt's responses have been in reply to those who assert that no one is ever receiving a call from the president or conducting other important business on their cell phone or blackberry.

                                                                                                                                                                                      There are those who are doing very important things of all sorts and have good reason to take a call. Raising children, running a country, on call for surgery....any number of things. It always comes down to the way in which someone handles things, not whether they handle them.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly. I could never have said it better.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, this is in no way meant to condone discourteous behavior. In my case, after 38 years of marriage to this young lady, I've never observed a discourteous moment - cell phone or no. Call from the White House, the Governor's office, or an emergency at her hospital. These are all personal and private, to be taken out of earshot of any of the other diners.


                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                        These were just comments on the totally anti-cell phone comments. There are some, who are in contact 24/7. Still, it behoves these folk to be considerate of their dining guest and all other diners in the room. With responsibility comes culpability. Regardless of who the person is, or what the do, there are others, who's enjoyment might be marred.

                                                                                                                                                                                        When dining in DC, we have been around some heavy-hitters, who have received calls during dinner. Each has excused himself/herself for the dining room to take the call. Could have been the baby-sitter, or could have been the "red phone" from the White House. When they returned, I looked into their faces, trying to decide if the world, as we know it, was about to come to an end.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The person on the cell phone might be a neuro-surgeon, who's patient just went into arrest. A life might hinge on that very call. Still, it should not interfere with the pleasure of any other diner. Courtesy, grace and some forethought should come into play, at all times.


                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                          i would prefer someone who has a quiet conversation on a cell phone at the next table, than some idiot shouting to someone in seat next to them, anyday

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                            This happened to me just the other day - guy picked up a cell phone call in an inappropriate place. I gave him a dirty look, then felt awful as he started talking about someone's cardio CT scan.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                            As a PS, our country club has a "no cell phone" policy. My wife has had to walk down a couple of levels and out onto the golf course, when those calls come in. This is the same for any restaurant, in which we dine.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Just part of the territory,


                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                        If one is dining alone, this is possible. And I know you travel a lot, jfood, often probably sans Mrs. Jfood. But when I am condemned to hear & watch a jerk on a 20 minute business conversation in a restaurant while he is with company, it tempts met to request a raw egg in a shell so that I can go whack it on his balding head. Even when they are alone, there is something especially caustic about the tone, tenor, content, and volume of MANY cell conversations.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I think a fair etiquette would be for the SOB on the phone to buy a drink for everyone within suffering / listening distance of a business call longer than 3 minutes. Is that reasonable?
                                                                                                                                                                                        P.S. And for the fight with the wifey calls, which are extra loud and long, it should be champagne all around.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd also argue that people on their mobiles rarely realise how loud they are so I vote that Veggo's rule apply to all on the mobiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                              People who are speaking often don't realize how loud they are. I think anyone who annoys me should have to buy drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                              (Note, this has nothing to do with mobile phones. People are just loud.)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                hey, maybe restaurants need to start designating the "hermit room".....full of little pods where you can sit by yourself and never be bothered by your fellow human beings....served through a slot perhaps....

                                                                                                                                                                                                hehe..i jest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Let's start with the noise level in restaurants in general has increased in jfood's opinion. And to lay the blame on us cellers is a bit unfair. Jfood believes it's a matter of the current ear not beingused to the talk-stop on a cell versus the talk-talk at the next table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And as someone said loud is loud whether on a cell or in person. And certain conversation should really not be discussed in a restaurant. Jfood has told this story where the table to his left was the husband confessing to an affair and the OMG conversation that followed. Please take the sharp knife away. And the table to his right was a newlywed discuss bedroom issues in detail with her mother. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And to Nomad's point of it's a public place. And jfood does not want tons of rules imposed when it's basic courtesy in play.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                              Or, for the jerk to excuse himself/herself and continue the conversation out of earshot of any diners. There is always a lobby, a restroom, a parking lot or the outside sidewalk. If it's important, take it elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I cannot tell you the times that my wife has been called with some major emergency at the theater, the ballet, etc., and had to miss the next act, and wait until intermission to return to her seat. Life is often unkind, but then one signs on for the good, as well as the bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Now, please do not get me wrong. I hate the "Chatty Kathy" (or Ken), blabbing on and on at the near-by table. I do not wish to partake in any aspect of their lives and want them to respect that they are sharing more than I want to experience. Take it elsewhere. Do not share the intimate details of your love life, your business life or your golf game with me, unless I specifically ask for the details.



                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think that the jerk should go outside of the dining area, if the call is important. Too often I hear, "oh nothing, just eating... " Grace and tact must be observed at all times, whether in a theater, or a dining room. Too few people have either, but that is a topic for another thread.


                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                The operative is "one can be respectful".
                                                                                                                                                                                                We know that you are usually like Mother Teresa thats been to Emily Post's charm school, but what about the disrespectful person? The business man or woman who talks as if they are speaking in a boardroom meeting or those whose laughter and guffas break the normal level of silence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                What is wrong with one hour of silence with the phones? I appreciate those that use their vibrators and go outside or to a vacant area to talk, when they must.
                                                                                                                                                                                                It's also disrespectful, IMHO, to carry on a long phone conversation when you are dining with others. To be absent from the table for long periods, on the phone, is just as bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Disrespectful is disrespectful and impolite is impolite. Whether one is a business person, on the phone or anything is not relevant to whether one's behavior is inappropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                    May I also add rude is rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I always find it amusing when there is dissension among varying opinions and the the response from the opposing view is.....there are different degrees of, e.g., rudeness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I usually take that to mean......It's okay for me to act this way, but not for you...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                    jfood does not believe in creating rules to the lowest common denominator. If someone is loud, they are loud and the MOD should invervene. And the disrespectful person should be dealt with accordingly, on or off the cell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "The business man or woman who talks as if they are speaking in a boardroom meeting or those whose laughter and guffas break the normal level of silence." Dealt with just like the non-business person who is acting in this manner. MOD should intervene

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "What is wrong with one hour of silence with the phones? " That's the individual's decision. If silence is demanded of the solo diner, then that same should apply to those eating with others. Wow a dinner with Monks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    " I appreciate those that use their vibrators and go outside or to a vacant area to talk, when they must." Neither Mother Theresa nor Emily post approve of this activity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "It's also disrespectful, IMHO, to carry on a long phone conversation when you are dining with others. To be absent from the table for long periods, on the phone, is just as bad." Isn't that for the table people to decide. If the person felt it necessary for this activity the others should respect their decision. If you do not like it then say something or don;t go out with them again. Guess many would disapprove when friends of jfood received a call that their daughter overseas was in the hospital and required them to stand in the parking lot speaking with the doctor. Yup, sounds disrespectful to jfood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree, the Ministry Of Defense should handle it so we don't get into a LCD situation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've been trying to generalize about common courtesy while any number of arguments can be made that are exceptions. Some are tied to their phones as if an umbilical cord. How did we ever survive before? Having a conversation with someone over food, wherever the location or scenario, is a long held tradition of coming together and sharing thoughts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      If eating, AKA "breaking bread", is not as important as thumbsucking your cell phone, then so be it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agree S and with friends only the occasional calls interupts the flow of thoughts and laughs. But people need to learn courtesy whether alone and on a cell or within a group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        But this binary cell=bad; no cell=good is a concept that gives jfood a brain cramp. He loves the life of gray and respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "It's also disrespectful, IMHO, to carry on a long phone conversation when you are dining with others. To be absent from the table for long periods, on the phone, is just as bad."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here, I agree with Jfood's observation. As an example we were hosting a candidate and his wife at a local restaurant. My wife had to leave to take an emergency call. While in the ante-room of the restaurant, the Governor saw her and had to come up to talk business, since she could not get into her calender, but had a big project with major implications that had suddenly changed. Before she could return to the table, one of our Senators found her and had to talk of a major healthcare bill he was going to introduce, when he returned to DC the next day. it took her 20 mins. to get by these three interruptions. We missed her, and I was as charming, as I could be to the candidate and his wife. Since he was a noted international surgeon, he, and his wife, understood. Was this necessary? Well the call certainly was. I guess that the Governor and the Senator could have waited and called her the next day from the office, or the plane or DC, but they appreciated the 5 mins. that they got with her, and she helped each make decisions that would impact the state and the nation. Do I miss her, when she has to excuse herself? Yes, but I also miss her, when she has to fly to DC at the behest of the White House with only a moment's notice. Are all cell phone calls this important? I doubt it, but you must remember that some are. You just never know what that phone call is about and what pressure the poor soul receiving it will have applied. Still, she left the dining area and did not subject any diners to her conversation. Her absence was covered by me, the host, and I did begin to worry a bit, until she returned. Comes with the territory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Remember, the call could be informing the person that their child was just killed in an auto accident.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are ways to handle this. My wife is on call 24/7 and must be accessible to her hosptial at all times. She is also very respectful of all other patrons. When called (vibration only), she excuses herself from the dining area and retreats to the "powder room" or to the outside of the restaurant. She NEVER carries on any conversation, even in chains, or dives, within the dining area. It's the weight, that she must bear. It comes with the territory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am for the responsible use of cell phones, by people, who respect their fellow diners at all times, and adhere to a policy of leaving the dining area to conduct any call..


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here we are having yet another lengthy discussion about cell phone usage in a restaurant....nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Rules are meant to be ignored! Eat, drink, be merry and ignore the management!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  The customer is always right, checkbook democracy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those rules are most likely a reflection of their general clientele.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My favorite example of breaking restaurant rules is from "Five Easy Pieces" when Jack Nicholson tells the waitress to hold the chicken salad between her knees. It's a classic & I've used it in several different presentations to demonstrate how ridiculous it is not to try to accomodate Guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rules en masse can seem a little less than hospitable to a Guest, but I would guess that they are either (1) kneejerk reactions to previous or consistent problems, (2) an attempt to change or "train" current clientele or (3) best way to communicate frequent requests if the staff speak a different language than the Guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: oldbaycupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Was in New England and my wife wanted iced tea with lunch. We were informed that iced tea was never served after Labor Day. My wife ordered hot tea and a glass of ice. In front of the waitress, she poured her hot tea into the glass of ice. Easy as in "Five Easy Pieces," without the reference as to "where should I hold... ?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes you have to think outside the box to get what you want.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As a native New Englander, I've never heard of "no iced tea after Labor Day," it was probably just this particular restaurant's custom only to keep it on hand in the summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It reminds me, though, of an incident that happened at a French bistro in Amsterdam a few years ago. I was there with some business colleagues, one of whom was a very ornery Texan who wanted some iced tea with his meal, dammit! The staff had never heard of iced tea, but he explained what he wanted and five minutes later they showed up with a whole pitcher full. Now THAT's service!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This happened in Kennebunk, MA, however was repeated in Kennebunkport and also Burlington, VT. Two locations rather pastoral, but the other a decent-sized city. How prevailment this is, I cannot comment. It could also not be common in larger cities. Not being a New Englander, I can only cite the locations. I was assuming that it was a fairly common practice, but you indicate otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the education. Teach me to assume that a few instances indicate a much greater practice.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: oldbaycupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another addition is the aspect of "a different language, than the Guests." All too often that different "language" is not what one would initially assume, but is "we speak on language in this restaurant, and you, the guest, just want to be satisfied." That is clearly a "difference," and is inappropriate in a service/hospitality business. No, the customer is not always right, but they are always the customer, and consideration should be made for their desires within the bounds of profitability, return patrons and the other patron's expectation for pleasurable dining.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Looking over the list, I do not see any problems. Most are probably derived from bad experiences by the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Too often, patrons complain that they get "blind-sided" by rules, of which they had no knowledge. This spot puts them down in black & white (or maybe some color?). Now, I usually don't find myself dining at a lot of restaurants that have a printed list of "rules," except for "please no cell phones," and "gentlemen are required to wear jackets."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's not like the "Soup Nazi" episode on Seinfeld, or anything. They have experienced problems and probably argued with patrons over some of these, so they felt the need to spell it out. With our litigious society, I can't say that I blame them. Heck, most to-go coffee cups now have a disclaimer about the contents being hot, and if you pour them on sensitive body parts, burns might be incurred.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I cannot fault them. Besides, it gives the patrons something to read, while waiting for their orders.


                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm a restaurant owner, and unlike a number of posters here I LOVE the idea of posting rules for my guests. I just may go ahead and do it, so I'm working on my list. Feel free to add anything you feel I may have left out:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1). We love you. Thank you for coming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2). Please be considerate of your fellow diners and of our staff. If you are not being considerate, we will politely let you know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3). For the comfort of your fellow diners, we ask that you do not smoke in the restaurant. If you would like to take a smoke break, please join our kitchen and support staff in a casual round-table conversation behind the restaurant near the dumpster. Milk-crate seating, ashtrays, a hand-washing sink and breath mints are available for your convenience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          4). We politely request that you temporarily exit the restaurant for any cell phone conversation that lasts more than 30 seconds. There is a quiet, sheltered area just to the left of the entrance to the restaurant which is reserved for this purpose. Please do not interrupt the round-table dumpster discussion for cell-phone purposes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          5). We require all patrons to be fully dressed for lunch and dinner service. Exceptions will be made only for currently certified underwear models and George Clooney.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          6). Please state any complaints politely, especially the first time. If you do not receive satisfaction after a complaint, please ask your server if you can speak to the owner. If you are already speaking to the owner, then please understand that you might be fighting a losing battle and be willing to lose gracefully. In return, she might buy you a drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          7). We love you. Thank you for coming.


                                                                                                                                                                                                          2). We are all here to have a good time. Neutral moods are permissable, but outright crankiness will not be tolerated, unless you have a really good reason. If you reason for being curmudgeonly is deemed acceptable by our staff, we will do our best to cheer you up or buy you drinks on the house. If your reason is not good enough, we reserve the right to draw a frowny-face on your forehead in semi-permanent marker.


                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefbeth

                                                                                                                                                                                                            For number 4 do you give a timer so jfood can have 5 or 6 29 second conversations? :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Very nice list. Jfood wishes he knew your resto so he and mrs jfood can enjoy such great hospitality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Having been a fan of jfood's posts for well over a year, chefbeth would welcome the presence of jfood and his lovely bride for a meal in her restaurant or even her home. Chefbeth has the impression that jfood's cellphone use may be more politic than some, so no cellular limits would be imposed. Should jfood and mrs jfood find that they will be visiting the coastal area of North Carolina at any time in the near future, chefbeth would be happy to divulge the location of her humble place of business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chefbeth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                many thanks and will keep in mind. Best to you for the holidays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. My favorite restaurant rule postings:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1: The old "library bar" in Houghton MI had the posting "Children who do not remain seated will be eaten."
                                                                                                                                                                                                            2: "Juice" in chicago, on menu, "Omelets are NOT made to order, but if you want one you can go to (some nearby breakfast joint)" this was done tastefully and with props to the fellow restos ability to deliver quality made to order omelets, which just happened to not be the chefs fave thing to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think rules can be delivered in nicer ways than many of them are. Sure not all can be tongue in cheek, but if you are going to be anal with the rules you apply in your resto you can at least try to achieve courtesy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            if you have a no cell phone rule, do so by providing a Cell Phone AREA. Posting that you have a cell phone area (not the same as the smoking area please and indoors and warm) you are implicitly states that you prefer people hold the conversations there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            IF your rules have to do with pure food snobbery: i.e. the omelet rule or steaks are cooked to the Chef's liking and not yours. should be delivered tactfully and directly so diners can choose to order differently and/or dine elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Quaint rules like the neck-tie gag, had better not be a secret unless you are willing to buy me a new tie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But for a different point of view an old friend of mine had his own rules that he followed in resto's when service was suffering, he would stand on his chair until the wait staff noticed him. I wonder if he should have posted his rules in print and carried with him. I guess I add this point because If you have lots of rules in your resto, you should expect that the customer too has expectations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe we need a diner's bill of rights

                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: workinglunches2

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You reminded me of a sign hanging in a local coffee shop,
                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Unattended children will be given a new puppy and shot of espresso."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oldbaycupcake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I LOVE that rule! I'm definitely adding it to my list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chefbeth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You want weird? I'll give you weird. Never mind "No shirt, no service". How about "Lick your plate or pay $2 to charity?"


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If a place has class it won't care what the hell you do. If I want to share a main dish with my dining partner, then ASSEMBLE THE NECESSARY PLATEWARE AND CUTLERY and make the plating as attractive as possible, because I'm not a f••ing tourist out to save as many bucks as I can, I just can't physically EAT as much as you're dishing out and I just want the nicest experience possible. I know this doesn't fit every scenario but you will go far, far further in the realm of goodwill if you accept the strange whims of your patrons and just cater to them. The term for that is creating REGULARS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  People are weird but if you approach them like their sole purpose is to be out to f**k you, you're in the wrong business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tonbo0422

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chill, tonbo. I was kidding about my rules. Sense of humor, tongue in cheek, that kind of thing. As for the place in Montreal -- if they take themselves that seriously, don't go there. Problem solved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefbeth


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I know. But it's true, sometimes when I go someplace with a partner (usually expensive, so you're automatically apprehensive about what their "rules" might be) all I want is to have a seamless dining experience and not have to focus on the experience itself . . . you know, whisper sweet nothings and not be hassled by some arbitrary in-house rule like "we can't split an order of fries" or whatever. Which is automatically going to call attention to itself and thus the very dining experience you're trying to enjoy. What I think I'm trying to say is, the moment that the food or the restaurant itself becomes the main topic of conversation, the experience is perhaps lost and you're focused on the experience and no longer the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Note that I'm talking about higher-end places . . . not Sizzler or Red Lobster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess that's what makes people regulars. They know what to expect and the restrauteurs know what to expect from them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tonbo0422

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This whole thread reminded me of a great scene in Five Easy Pieces:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No substitutions, no side orders of toast...let's see what Jack thinks of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: anachemia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Timeless and universal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There needs to be more Jacks in this world.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good one, anachemia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Tacconelli's Pizza in Philadelphia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              They don't like wasting pizza dough, so you must call in advance to reserve your dough.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              According to the website, "The best time to call is between Wednesday and Sunday after 10:00 a.m." and "Please Note: Since your pies have been reserved for you, we kindly ask that you take what you have reserved."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              They also only allow certain combinations of ingredients on their pizzas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know a lot of pizza shops that have limited ingredients. Now, do you mean that from their list of ingredients, they will only allow certain combos? That, I have not seen before.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't tell you the specific combination that I wanted that wasn't allowed, as it's been a couple of years now, but it was something along the lines of putting certain toppings on a white pie vs a tomato-sauce pie (which I have not encountered at other pizzerias).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Just think. If not for all their rules hundreds of potential customers from around the world would not even ever hear of them. As for me I would Never expect the kitchen to split my rice and beans-peas, yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. just saw on a menu at Black Sheep Bistro:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  please refrain from using your cell phone in our dining room, $10 per infraction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3 drinks? Gasp! At a Mexi place? Can you order triples? I guess they do not have the traditional "bet you can't" giant margi. If they really cared about me they would tell me that my butt called and it said no more cheesy entrees and that I could only have a tostada, hold the tost - and cheese. If they really cared they would make everyone take a sobriety test at seating and then weigh each persona nd do the calculation of weight to alcohol absorption.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chips and salsa only after ordering? Grrr. Practically prison! I would riot (after doing shots with swsidejim - hold the whistle and rank spit towel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ""If they really cared about me they would tell me that my butt called and it said no more cheesy entrees and that I could only have a tostada."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alkisal, is that the butt talking, or the margaritas and lemon pledge? bff, alkipal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Alkipal, I thought we had agreed not to discuss my butt - talking or no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It coulda, in... hindsight..., been the margis. Salt makes me retain water (sometimes for years).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cheers! YBFF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Salt makes me retain water (sometimes for years)." i've got that problem, too! LOL! bff, alkipal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Yes, it's like a joke, but probably one born (borne?) of experience. I come from a different era. People have atrocious table manners these days. Everything from cutting a roll in half, slathering it with butter and making a sandwich -- to tapping out the beat of the background music on a glass with a piece of silverware. I'll betcha this restaurant has had these stupid conversation over and over ... and over ... and ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I live in NYC, you see most of those rules in a lot of restaurants, I think they are ok except for the 3 drink rule...thank lawyers yet again, thats only to cover themselves from litigation; perhaps something happened to them regarding a drunk patron in the past, who knows?