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Feeling "out of place" at a restaurant

im_nomad Jun 30, 2011 08:41 AM

Am I just socially awkward, or has anyone else felt this way upon trying out some new place? Be it the way you're dressed, your age, your choice of dish or what not?

I can't say it has ever happened to me more than once or twice really (the other times perhaps in bars where I felt ancient), but recently a girl friend and I got a great deal on a top of the line luxury hotel for a getaway weekend, and one evening decided to dine at the restaurant/patio downstairs. We dressed up of course, and we were told to seat ourselves. And we sat there, and sat there, feeling more uncomfortable for no completely obvious reason (i.e. no one said anything to us or anything). There was a lot of designer clothing around and a general feeling of uber-rich. No one stopped by to take drink orders or drop off a menu, so after some time, we eventually got up and left and went elsewhere for a meal. It was a place that realistically should have pristine service, so all round it felt a little weird. It wasn't until afterward that we both talked about the vibe of the place, and how we both felt like we missed the boat somewhere / didn't get a copy of the manual or something.

Yes maybe that was us feeling more self-conscious for some reason, but it was definitely uncomfortable there.

Anyone else with similar experiences?

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  1. j
    Janet from Richmond Jun 30, 2011 08:56 AM

    My experience is different. I love trying new, casual, ethnic restaurants but often feel out of place being the only WASP and am hesistant to ask about the menu because of not wanting to feel like an idiot because I am unfamiliar with the cuisine and/or language issues. I feel like everyone is watching me and waiting for me to screw up or make a fool out of myself.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond
      Bill Hunt Jun 30, 2011 07:39 PM

      When doing ethnic, especially if I am not that familiar with the particular cuisine, I quickly throw myself at the server's mercy, explain my lack of knowledge, and then ask for recommendations. That usually works perfectly, and the servers are usually ready to educate me, with regards to the choices, that they concocted for us. Yes, there can be some language barriers, but if I am attempting to communicate, they usually take pity on me, and I cannot recall an instance, where they have let me down. Along the way, I have managed to learn quite a bit, though obviously not everything.


      1. re: Janet from Richmond
        Phood Jul 2, 2011 07:52 PM

        The OP got poor service, even snobs have their culture. Pity, as some equate that with fine dining.
        Here in Los Angeles, I have yet to find a casual, ethnic place where a sincere interest in the food didn't break the ice. Language and unfamiliarity with the options fade to irrelevance when the server, even a busy one, gets to play cultural tour guide.
        A Vietnamese pho vendor in Little Saigon delicately asking whether we want blood in our pho, the Chinese restaurant waiter discussing that -animals we consider pets- are only used for medicinal purposes in his culture and not for mainstream dining, or the Hunan-Chinese restaurant staff wondering how we gwai found their restaurant when there are no western characters on their sign or menu (Chowhound!) all make for a richer experience. These are the locations where the food is as good as it gets until you can get invited into someone's home, and even then, only when grandma is cooking.

        1. re: Phood
          jaykayen Jul 5, 2011 11:09 AM

          There is never blood/boudin in pho. In bun bo hue, yes.

        2. re: Janet from Richmond
          Wawsanham Jul 22, 2011 05:50 PM

          Janet, How would you know you're the only WASP? Did you ask people their religions or ethnic backgrounds? Besides, a Chinese guy might be just as "out of place" in a Turkish restaurant. Either way, people should be ok with wanting to try foods not from their own backgrounds.

          1. re: Wawsanham
            Janet from Richmond Sep 15, 2011 06:22 AM

            Because I am observant....it's not a hard time to determine in some instances who is "white-anglo-saxon-protestant" and who is not. And yes, the Chinese guy may feel out of place at a Turkish restaurant.....didn't say otherwise.

            1. re: Janet from Richmond
              wadejay26 Sep 15, 2011 06:10 PM

              How can you tell if someone is protestant or catholic or atheist?

              1. re: wadejay26
                Janet from Richmond Sep 16, 2011 05:49 AM

                I am Agnostic, but that is not what I am refering to (and I believe you know that). My ancestry is Welsh and Scot. If I go into an ethnic restaurant (Mexican, Lebanese, Afgahan,Indian, Korean, Greek, etc.) that the average client is of that ethinic origin, knowing the food, the language, the customs, etc. it becomes pretty clear very quickly that I am of a different ethnic background and I feel awkward and am sometimes challenged by language or not knowing the food, the traditions, etc. And since I generally go to such places alone I am often intimidated at the thought of trying to order and ask the right questions on my own.

        3. e
          escondido123 Jun 30, 2011 09:48 AM

          I think it was them not you. Sounds to me like it was a restaurant with horrendous service--glad you got up and left. Hope you had a great evening elsewhere.

          1. l
            lemons Jun 30, 2011 10:20 AM

            Amazing that you were told to seat yourself. I hope you said something to management. At those prices, there are no small mistakes, and this was a big one. There is still occasionally a prejudice against young attractive women; I know someone who was told to leave the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel a few years ago after one drink. She puzzled over it for some time before someone told her that someone misinterpreted, let us say, what business she was in. I am sure this isn't what happened with you, but as a woman who traveled and ate alone for many years, I'm on your side!

            33 Replies
            1. re: lemons
              im_nomad Jun 30, 2011 12:05 PM

              I figured the reason for self-seating was because we sat at the patio area. For a while we were also wondering if it was self-serve as well. To me it seemed like the kind of place that would have a menu in front of you the moment your butt hits the seat.

              And its funny you say that, because we shared a good laugh for that very reason. I really don't think that's what they thought , but we shrugged it off saying that maybe they thought we were "of a certain profession" while having a good chuckle over it. We had a pretty good meal elsewhere.

              1. re: im_nomad
                Bill Hunt Jun 30, 2011 07:41 PM

                Well, there could be many reasons for being "put on ignore." None is acceptable, IMHO.

                I'd be most inclined to just take those folk off the list, and to not return.

                There is plenty of great food and service, and many of restaurants are just waiting for you. I would frequent them instead.



                1. re: im_nomad
                  gfr1111 Jul 2, 2011 06:43 AM

                  My experience with any kind of outdoor seating is that unless the outdoor area is loaded with people, you have just consigned yourself to Siberia. You get forgotten. Your waiter/waitress is busy inside. If you had been inside the restaurant, that would have been one thing. On the patio, you were probably just forgotten, without any animus being shown toward you.

                  1. re: gfr1111
                    im_nomad Jul 2, 2011 06:05 PM

                    Oh I don't think they were trying to freeze us out of there or anything, like I said some of it was probably down to us just feeling self-conscious for no reason. We had however, taken the last seats on the patio and there were at least two servers out there. There was barely anyone in the dining room.

                    1. re: im_nomad
                      James Cristinian Jul 3, 2011 03:38 PM

                      You could always go to the old Joe Pesci lines from Goodfellas. "What am I a mirage? I'm on your pay no mind list?" It's not necessary to follow up by shooting the server in the foot.

                      1. re: James Cristinian
                        hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:08 PM

                        however tempting a little gunplay might be...

                    2. re: gfr1111
                      monavano Jul 3, 2011 11:56 AM

                      What does being outdoors have to do with being forgotten or worse, ignored? I fail to understand how dining al fresco mitigates their poor treatment.

                      1. re: monavano
                        cowboyardee Jul 4, 2011 01:15 AM

                        The point is that if you sit outdoors - especially if there aren't many other outdoor diners - and staff is less-than-attentive, it likely doesn't have anything to do with whether you're 'out of place.' The problem probably isn't your dress or you're demeanor. You're out of sight, which is halfway to out of mind.

                        1. re: cowboyardee
                          monavano Jul 4, 2011 06:25 AM

                          I guess it depends on how big the patio is. I have however, always thought that going in and out of doors would be a pain for the server.

                          1. re: cowboyardee
                            Bill Hunt Jul 4, 2011 05:19 PM

                            Now, this might well be indicative of the exact restaurants, but I have never noticed this. I dine al fresco often, when others do not, and the service has always been good. Again, it probably depends on the restaurant, and less on "inside" vs "outside."


                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              cowboyardee Jul 4, 2011 09:41 PM

                              Bill, you and I may well frequent very different types of establishments. Around here there are a bunch of low to midrange (price) places that have outdoor seating available during the summer, but most diners know full well when they take an outdoor table that they're not gonna get quite as attentive service as they would indoors. It's nothing personal - the servers are responsible for both indoor and outdoor diners, and the outdoor ones are more out of the way.

                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                Bill Hunt Jul 5, 2011 06:17 PM

                                That just sounds like bad service on the part of a restaurant, and management should make allowances. Al fresco dining is often sought after (like here in PHX in some months out of the year), and is a topic on some restaurant review boards.

                                Sorry to hear that al fresco is "to be ignored" in some establishments. Not good.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  cowboyardee Jul 5, 2011 06:46 PM

                                  It's only a problem if it's a problem, if you get my drift. The servers aren't ignoring them, exactly - there's just slower, more hands-off pace of service. The outdoor crowd at these places tend to be the lingerers and smokers and laid back types. Of course, sometimes the uninitiated get irritated.

                              2. re: Lizard
                                huiray Jul 5, 2011 06:25 AM

                                On a slight tangent, and not in response to any specific poster - but the sub-discussion on how single women are not welcome is interesting in light of the positive comments in another thread from single women on dining alone in restaurants, whether at the bar or not... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/763030


                                1. re: huiray
                                  Bill Hunt Jul 5, 2011 06:18 PM

                                  Were I the restauranteur, I would welcome diners of either gender, alone, or with guests/partners, and try my best to make all feel perfectly welcome. But hey! That's just me.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                    thew Jul 5, 2011 09:47 PM

                                    damn hippie

                                    1. re: thew
                                      buttertart Jul 6, 2011 07:16 AM

                                      In a blazer!

                                      1. re: buttertart
                                        Bill Hunt Jul 6, 2011 09:36 PM


                                        Just an iconoclast, I suppose.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                          buttertart Jul 7, 2011 07:28 AM

                                          "Everyone in here is wearing a uniform, and don't you forget it". Frank Zappa, live concert commentary.
                                          (We're dressers too, my husband was born in a jacket.)

                      2. re: lemons
                        POAndrea Jun 30, 2011 12:38 PM

                        That happened to me in a Chicago Hilton bar (although it was almost 20 years ago!) Two suits-with-crewcuts ordered me to pay for my drink and leave. They just snorted when I told them I was waiting for my friend who was staying in the hotel and said "You ALL say that." They stopped laughing, however, when my friend who WAS staying in the hotel for a Police Chiefs' convention showed up and verified that yes, I was waiting for him and that I too was attending the same convention.

                        1. re: POAndrea
                          buttertart Jun 30, 2011 12:40 PM

                          Don't get mad, get even. Good one.

                          1. re: POAndrea
                            Bill Hunt Jun 30, 2011 07:45 PM

                            Bad move by the "suits."

                            Was that the South Michigan Ave. Hilton?

                            We used to love their Scotch Whiskey Bar, and spent many evenings there, while wives were in meetings upstairs. Never had anything BUT great service, and conversation. However, that WAS years ago, though roughly about the time that you cite.

                            I still recall Melanie, the bartender, who was going to the U. of Chicago, and while she did not know her single-malts, did "homework" every evening, knowing that my good friend would be there, and she wanted to impress him. She did, every day!


                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              POAndrea Jul 1, 2011 06:49 AM

                              Yep. Sounds like a wonderful place to have a drink. Too bad I never went back.

                            2. re: POAndrea
                              PeterL Jul 1, 2011 03:49 PM

                              That's interesting. I used to work at a restaurant inside a famous Chicago hotel, where they don't allow single woman to sit at the bar. Their solution? The restaurant manager always sat with the single woman.

                              1. re: PeterL
                                josephnl Jul 1, 2011 04:09 PM

                                That's weird! How sexist!! How would they handle it if a single woman came in and sat at a single seat between two other customers at the bar?

                                1. re: PeterL
                                  kpaxonite Jul 1, 2011 04:15 PM

                                  I would love to be the manager at that hotel.

                                  1. re: PeterL
                                    im_nomad Jul 2, 2011 05:54 PM

                                    Oh yeah....that wouldn't feel weird at all.

                                    1. re: im_nomad
                                      babette feasts Jul 3, 2011 11:51 AM

                                      I'd rather leave than have to sit with the restaurant manager so he could make sure I didn't engage in any whoring while I was there. Yuck.

                                      1. re: babette feasts
                                        monavano Jul 3, 2011 11:57 AM

                                        I'm with you. I wonder how they can get away with such blatant discrimination.

                                        1. re: monavano
                                          Lizard Jul 3, 2011 12:48 PM

                                          It is absolutely repugnant. Maybe the manager should target unaccompanied men to stop them from looking for tricks.

                                          1. re: monavano
                                            Lizard Jul 3, 2011 12:50 PM

                                            Ugh should not try to post on iPhone. CH won't let me edit so I have no idea what is left if the mess I was working on. Sorry.

                                            1. re: Lizard
                                              hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:11 PM

                                              came through just fine Lizard, and a good point. no 'johns' = no 'ho's'

                                              hey! it's another variation on the chicken/egg question!

                                  2. re: lemons
                                    jmckee Sep 14, 2011 09:53 AM

                                    At my age, I can't understand anybody having a prejudice against young attractive women :-)

                                  3. s
                                    S_K Jun 30, 2011 11:37 AM

                                    I feel uncomfortable and that I don't fit in sometimes. I'm glad you did the right thing by leaving. You're not alone!!

                                    1. DuchessNukem Jun 30, 2011 01:14 PM

                                      It's not you, it's bad service. Their loss in terms of $$ and public relations. I'm not a needy guest but I do expect someone to notice me.

                                      I only feel out of place when I'm underdressed in a nicer place -- sometimes we don't know where we'll end up and it's not what we dressed for. But then I realize that restaurants almost everywhere have to deal with a "tourist culture" and though they might roll their eyes, the service is fine.

                                      (Plus, we're in Texas. The Official State Uniform is flip-flops, cargo shorts, and t-shirt.)


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: DuchessNukem
                                        alliegator Jul 2, 2011 07:28 AM

                                        Hey, now! That's a CLEAN t-shirt :P

                                      2. monavano Jun 30, 2011 01:25 PM

                                        Sometimes I feel like I don't fit in because I'm not from the area or the same socio-economic strata. It would have been really lovely if you were treated no differently than the regulars, OP.
                                        Money Don't Buy 'Ya Class! Sing it sister!
                                        Surprised at the comments about being a single woman at a bar! Never thought of that. I'd be gobsmacked if someone insinuated that I was there for "business".
                                        I'm also prone to feeling clumsy at ethnic eateries.

                                        1. shaogo Jun 30, 2011 02:37 PM

                                          A good friend of mine can't abide places which seat you on top of other diners and can be made to feel very, very self-conscious if seated in close quarters. I don't like it much either but will tolerate it so long as there aren't children scattered nearby.

                                          Sure, there're places where I've felt out-of-place. For me it has to do with how comfortable the staff makes me. I'm not a rich guy and am sometimes made anxious by the kind of places where the ostentatious make a big show. That being said, I frequent several restaurants that are considered by many to be uber-expensive and somewhat exclusive; but I guarantee you that whether regular or new-comer, the staffs at these places will make the diner feel extremely comfortable from the get-go.

                                          1. i
                                            Isolda Jun 30, 2011 02:44 PM

                                            You were given the snob treatment. That was their problem, not yours, because polite people fit in more places than snobs.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Isolda
                                              Samalicious Jun 30, 2011 03:06 PM

                                              Yep. The only thing they proved was that their restaurant sucks.

                                            2. thew Jun 30, 2011 02:47 PM

                                              i think they should feel out of place if they can't handle me. their loss not mine.

                                              1. h
                                                Harters Jun 30, 2011 03:30 PM

                                                No, I've never felt uncomfortable dining at a new place, whatever its level.

                                                I'm as happy with myself in an ethnic dive, where I'm the only Anglo, to a Michelin three star place. I suppose the only times where I need to work hard at being relaxed is when my command of the local language is not sufficient to to ask for something.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Harters
                                                  Isolda Jul 3, 2011 02:38 PM

                                                  Harters, you really need to spend more time in the US eating in snooty restaurants with mediocre food and servers with attitude issues. ;)

                                                  I've never felt out of place in a restaurant in any other country but this one, but it does happen to me on occasion here. I never assume it's my fault, though.

                                                  1. re: Isolda
                                                    Harters Jul 3, 2011 03:03 PM

                                                    We're pencilling in a trip for next spring (New England for a change from our usual VA and southwards). Everything you say about crap restaurants - you're right to assume it's not your fault - it isnt!

                                                    I'm long enough in the tooth that I don't get given the attitude problems usually (although, when in the US, I do get a bit pissed off at people asking if I'm from New Zealand)

                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                      hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:14 PM

                                                      HA! in Europe because we're generally polite and have a midwest accent tempered by NY and California, we're assumed to be Canadian (and in some years that has been a somewhat welcome mistake - no messy questions about foreign policy) oh yeah we're from Calgary eh?

                                                2. Bill Hunt Jun 30, 2011 07:35 PM

                                                  It sounds like you encountered bad service.

                                                  That should just not happen.

                                                  Now, about the only time that I feel out of place, is when the restaurant is designed for "the beautiful people," and has a "happening scene." I am older, so do not fit into that motif, but that is not the restaurant's problem, but mine.

                                                  As far as my clothing, I am usually the one, who is over-dressed, though not always. I normally have my blazer and a tie, though in some restaurants, especially in Europe, or the UK, the gentlemen's dress might well be dark suits. Still, I should be able to squeak by, even there.

                                                  Sorry that you had a bad experience, and I hope that the alternate was more than satisfactory.



                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                    Harters Jul 1, 2011 02:56 AM

                                                    Interesting comment, Bill. I'd always have taken the view that, for mid-scale and up, an American restaurant was generally more formal for attire than what we have here in the UK. For example, I often see American websites stating that jackets are required for men yet I reckon you could easily count on both hands the number of places making such a requirement here.

                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                      Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2011 06:57 PM

                                                      There is possibly a "cut-off," and much can depend on the city in the US, but I find that the diners in the UK, and in much of Europe, to be better attired, than similar restaurants in the US.

                                                      Even in cities, like New Orleans (an odd mix of tradition and tourists), the gentleman's jacket requirement is fading into obscurity. In the UK, there are several restaurants, that require a jacket for gentlemen, even at lunch. Wilton's comes immediately to mind.

                                                      NYC still has a "jacket requirement" for gentlemen at dinner, in several restaurants, and many more, "suggest" a jacket. Same for other US cities. However, the easing of the "requirement" to a "suggestion" indicates that "the times, they are a changing."

                                                      Still, I travel with my blazer, and am seldom without it (one rainy lunch at Wilton's was an exception, but I remedied that quickly).

                                                      I just feel (seat-o-the-pants) that diners in the UK and much of Europe are a tad more formal than the US diners in pretty equal restaurants.

                                                      Have your experiences been different?



                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                        lemons Jul 2, 2011 07:09 PM

                                                        Hunt, I've been a fan of yours for several years as you offer common-sense thoughts. Thanks for that reminder to throw the blazer in the suitcase for our trip to the UK this summer. Himself would be thrilled with no hard shirts at all and wearing a polo shirt with it, but I'm thinking that just doesn't cut it in British dining rooms of a certain style, n'cest pas?

                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                          Harters Jul 3, 2011 02:12 AM

                                                          As I said, there are now but a handful of restaurants in the UK which require jacket, yet on my last trip to America (4 years ago), we frequently spotted restaurant websites which required one. Personally, the requirement says something to me about the place and I will not eat there.

                                                          Our leading published restaurant guide, the Good Food Guide (recommended to anyone travelling to the UK), dropped mentions of dress code back in 2007 as there were so few places still requiring the formality of jackets. As you say, there are are still a handful of "old timers" that still do - like Wiltons and La Gavroche in London, or Inverlochy Castle at Fort William.

                                                          Certainly visitors to the UK will find they can happily leave their jackets behind and still eb able to eat in our top restaurants without feeling the slightest bit out of place. Chinos/proper shoes/shirt will be fine - jeans/trainers/polo not fine at the top end.

                                                          This newspaper article discusses the subject further:

                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                            Bill Hunt Jul 3, 2011 09:02 PM

                                                            "we frequently spotted restaurant websites which required one. Personally, the requirement says something to me about the place and I will not eat there."

                                                            That could well be a shame. Depending on the restaurants, you may well have missed some great one.

                                                            A jacket is not a big deal. I travel in one, even when flying CRJ's to LAX, or SFO. Usually, the flight attendants are great about hanging it for me, or I fold it, inside out, and stow it in the overhead. No big deal. When flying trans-Atlantic, or trans-Pacific, the blazer is always hung up for me, and retrieved, just before landing. I would not travel without a jacket, and am seldom out of place.


                                                            PS - Enjoy New England, and travel safely.

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                              hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:27 PM

                                                              a jacket is never wrong and NOLA seems to be one of the few places in the US it wouldn't feel odd at all (except for the heat).

                                                              1. re: hill food
                                                                Bill Hunt Jul 4, 2011 05:25 PM

                                                                Ah yes, the heat. That IS a problem, but then I am from those environs, so learned many, many decades ago, that a gentleman never takes off his jacket.

                                                                In 40 years of marriage, and then 8 years of dating, my wife has only seen me do so perhaps 3 times, and with good reason for each.

                                                                Also, I am a bit more formal, and from a different time, and place, than many here, so I have a different frame of reference.

                                                                Still, dining, and especially "fine-dining," should be an experience, and a positive one, at that.


                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                  tracylee Jul 10, 2011 02:52 AM

                                                                  My Father has multiple sets of the same navy blue business suit (as well as some other suit jackets) and always wears a jacket to dinner when mid-priced and up. Our usual family vacation involves dining out from one end to the other, and for once, I brought enough dresses to accomodate that. Imagine my surprise when we were talking about an evening out amongst cooking most meals at the rental home, that he said that they didn't have the outfits for a nice restaurant! Oh well, the dresses are still on hangers and I just might have to take myself out to a nice place now that I'm back home.

                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                    sherriberry Jul 17, 2011 12:15 PM

                                                                    Agreed. Although a generation behind you, DH an I enjoy dressing gor dinner. We can't afford :fine dining" restos as often as we'd like, but when we do, we want it to feel special. When trying a new place, a jacket is always assumed, hubby only asks if he needs a tie. I always wear a dress, skirt or dress slacks w/ a nice blouse. Being dressed nicely enhances the experience for us and right or wrong, we seem to get better service.
                                                                    Of course, hubby was also one of the only spectators at the NCAA finals wearing a jacket, so there you go.

                                                                    1. re: sherriberry
                                                                      thew Jul 17, 2011 04:02 PM

                                                                      and no one faults you for your choice. but in terms of these conversations on CH, just remember that you dress slacks would have been more unwelcome and scandalous to a diner 75 years ago than the much abhored tanktopflipflop being discussed ad nauseum

                                                                      1. re: sherriberry
                                                                        Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:28 PM

                                                                        I believe that your hubby and I are on about the same page.

                                                                        "Tie, my dear?"
                                                                        "No. Open collar is fine."

                                                                        Nothing wrong (usually) with a gentleman wearing a jacket, or blazer, at least not in my book.


                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                        Wannabfoode Jul 18, 2011 08:32 AM

                                                                        I am of the younger generation, and one of my biggest pet peeves is going to a nice restaurant for a special occasion and being surrounded by people in shorts, ball caps and ratty tshirts. I feel similarly about the theater and ballet. Now, I'm not saying a jacket is always necessary, but I feel its important show a little respect, put in a little effort, when going to a restaurant where so much care is put in to the food and service. It's called fine dining for a reason

                                                                        MC Slim JB from the Boston board has a few posts on his blog on the subject.

                                                                        1. re: Wannabfoode
                                                                          josephnl Jul 18, 2011 09:21 AM


                                                                          1. re: Wannabfoode
                                                                            Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:29 PM

                                                                            I do see what you describe, all too often, but then times change. Maybe I am behind those times?


                                                            2. Veggo Jun 30, 2011 08:16 PM

                                                              Please, please, don't let that experience rattle your dignity and your absolute entitlement to be anywhere you want to be. Your decorum on this site is time-tested and proven.

                                                              The resto blew it, not you. Period.

                                                              1. r
                                                                ricepad Jun 30, 2011 10:49 PM

                                                                The only time I felt out of place was when I convinced some co-workers to join me at a local hole in the wall joint that had come highly recommended by a friend. Now, this friend was about three times my age, which should have been a tip-off. When my party and I walked through the door - four twenty-somethings in business attire (white shirts, ties, slacks) - EVERYBODY in the place turned to look at us. We were the only ones too young to be on Social Security, and also the only ones not wearing hats (all the other patrons were wearing an assortment of fedoras, buckets, or porkpies). It was like we stepped into the Original Geezer Club....or the Twilight Zone!

                                                                The food and service were good, prices were cheap, but I could never convince my co-workers to go back. When I told my friend that we tried it, he immediately started cracking up, and before I could say anything else, he blurted, "Nothing but old guys in hats, huh?"

                                                                22 Replies
                                                                1. re: ricepad
                                                                  Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2011 07:01 PM

                                                                  The gentlemen were wearing their hats indoors?!?!?

                                                                  I find that extremely odd, and though I often wear a hat, would have felt "out of place" too.


                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                    Veggo Jul 2, 2011 07:12 PM

                                                                    Hunt, I dread the thought of how many Ecuadorian Panama's I have left behind...I'm down to 2.

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                      hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:29 PM

                                                                      IIRC, according to the old rules if there were no women in the room then hats would be acceptable (I know - sexist and I was taught once in the door the hat comes off no matter what)

                                                                      1. re: hill food
                                                                        ricepad Jul 3, 2011 11:50 PM

                                                                        There were no ladies in the room. Nor gentlemen.

                                                                        1. re: ricepad
                                                                          hill food Jul 4, 2011 12:40 AM

                                                                          HA! then no rules were expected or broken...

                                                                          where was this? sounds like my kinda place. grumpy, unsatisfied, dissolute.


                                                                          1. re: hill food
                                                                            ricepad Jul 4, 2011 08:19 AM

                                                                            It was in Stockton, CA, about 25 years ago. About 10-12 years ago, it changed names (from "Park Cafe" to "John's Park Cafe"...I never got the name, tho...nowhere near a park, or even Park Street), but it's still in business. For all I know, the patrons could well be the same guys now as then!

                                                                        2. re: hill food
                                                                          Bill Hunt Jul 4, 2011 05:34 PM

                                                                          Hm-m, maybe I am just behind the times, but when a gentleman enters a building, the hat should come off.

                                                                          Now, I see many younger guys, who insist on wearing their trilbies indoors, along with their various baseball caps, but that is to be expected. If one is over about 20, they should remember that the hat, regardless of style, should come off, upon entering.

                                                                          Now, the ladies are a different story. Because of the hair, a lady is (or was?) allowed to dine with the hat.

                                                                          Again, one MUST remember that I come from a different time, and a different place. Much has become commonplace, where it never was before.

                                                                          I fly with a hat, but that comes off, when I enter the Red Carpet Club, or any restaurant. It is left on, in the concourses, but is taken off at TSA, or at the UAL counter, especially if dealing with a young lady. That is just the way that I do it.

                                                                          Besides the interior of a restaurant, I was taught that a gentleman would ALWAYS tip his hat, to a lady, even if on the street. I no longer really "tip" it, but do touch the brim, and nod. Most ladies just look at me in a very funny way, and probably flag down the nearest policeman?

                                                                          Just from somewhere else than here, and today.


                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                            Veggo Jul 4, 2011 11:57 PM

                                                                            Reminds me of Charlie Daniels singing Uneasy Rider: "You tip your hat to this lady, son".

                                                                            1. re: Veggo
                                                                              Bill Hunt Jul 5, 2011 06:19 PM

                                                                              Grin - and I still do...


                                                                            2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                              L.Nightshade Jul 9, 2011 01:09 PM

                                                                              I guess this makes me old fashioned, but I find these actions totally charming. If only there were more like you!

                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                monavano Jul 11, 2011 08:32 AM

                                                                                It always draws my attention when a male keeps his hat on indoors. And not in a good way '-)
                                                                                Tipping the hat is a nice touch. Very classy.

                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                  hazelhurst Jul 18, 2011 08:41 AM

                                                                                  I was also brought up that to take a hat off--or at least touch the brim--passing a church. Many of the grown-up men in New Orleans did that when I was a boy...I still try to do it.

                                                                                  A younger lady friend of mine, far from feeling uncomfortable,was delighted one day when two of us took her to lunch. My hat was on the hat hook, of course. She had never encountered men standing up whenever she left or returned to the table. Said it made her feel like royalty. For me it is simply what one does. I'm sure you are the same way. (A family friend, when he reached 70, would make a little "hop" in his seat when the lady stood up and say "gesture.")

                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                    thew Jul 18, 2011 11:28 AM

                                                                                    how about a synagogue? a mosque? a bahai temple?

                                                                                    1. re: thew
                                                                                      Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                                                      Being Jewish, definitely passing a synagogue, and any other place of religion, so long as I recognize it - some I do miss.


                                                                                    2. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                      Luna2372 Jul 18, 2011 08:25 PM

                                                                                      I think that is just about the most lovely thing. All young women should be taken out for lunch and treat in a respectful way.

                                                                                      And your eldery friend being so gallant....dreammy...just dreammy.

                                                                                      1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                        Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:30 PM

                                                                                        That SHOULD have made her feel like "royalty." That is part of it all. Pedestals, you know?


                                                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                        NellyNel Sep 14, 2011 12:46 PM

                                                                                        Love it!

                                                                                        I would be so charmed if a man tipped his hat at me!


                                                                                        Edit: this was a reply to Mr. Hunt's post.

                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                          Servorg Sep 14, 2011 12:55 PM

                                                                                          "I would be so charmed if a man tipped his hat at me!"

                                                                                          Once you've seen "The Full Monty" you might reconsider that thought... ;-D>

                                                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                                                            Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:34 PM

                                                                                            Now, it's been a decade, or more, but I do not pick up on the "hat-tipping" reference there. Probably went over my head.


                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                              hill food Sep 23, 2011 09:12 PM

                                                                                              oh Hunt there are definitely a few double entendres you've set up. let's just say it involved nudity and the hat about 2-3 feet south of where you're thinking...

                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                Servorg Sep 24, 2011 03:09 AM

                                                                                                "Probably went over my head."

                                                                                                Yes, but in this case not the head you were thinking of...(or being a man - with either).

                                                                                            2. re: NellyNel
                                                                                              Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:33 PM


                                                                                              Walk past me on the street, and you will usually get the "tip-o-the-hat," but that is just me.

                                                                                              As a matter of fact, I just put two Panamas into the shop, as I had tipped 'em too much, and needed a bit of repair, plus a cleaning.


                                                                                    3. c
                                                                                      chileheadmike Jul 1, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                                      Only once, and only for a moment.

                                                                                      It was a few years ago, my daughter, a friend, and I decided to do a taco crawl and do a write up about it on eGullet. I think the review is still there buried somewhere. We were convinced that the well known Southwest Blvd corridor in Kansas City, MO was inferior to the less traveled dive joints along Kansas Ave and Central in KCK for tacos and other Mexican food.

                                                                                      My daughter and I got to the meeting place first, but it had closed. There was a new restaurant close by and you couldn't miss the purple and yellow building, so I called my friend and told him to meet us there.

                                                                                      My daughter and I got there about 11am. We were the only white folks in the place. It was busy in there. Most of the tables were covered in empty beer bottles. When we walked through the door everything went silent and everyone turned to look at us. Heck, I think the juke box even quit playing. We were reconsidering, when a smiling waitress ran up to us with menus and showed us to our table. Not unlike the bar scene in Animal House.

                                                                                      Long story short, we had a great time, a great taco crawl. Food and service were great. I frequented that restaurant up until they closed a couple years ago. And we were right, better Mexican food is to be had in KCK.

                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: chileheadmike
                                                                                        Uncle Yabai Jul 2, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                                        Otis, my man! I can just imagine it....

                                                                                        1. re: Uncle Yabai
                                                                                          MattInNJ Jul 11, 2011 08:17 AM

                                                                                          Do you mind if we sample your tacos?

                                                                                          1. re: MattInNJ
                                                                                            Uncle Yabai Jul 11, 2011 10:36 PM

                                                                                            I think you meant "do you mind if we dance with yo' dates?"

                                                                                            1. re: Uncle Yabai
                                                                                              MattInNJ Jul 13, 2011 06:16 AM


                                                                                        2. re: chileheadmike
                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Jul 2, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                                                          Oh, that reminds me of checking out places in Oakland's "New Saigon" looking for banh mi. I went into one place where all the patrons were men and all the tables had game boards and/or keno tickets. And it was full of smoke (long after smoking was banned in California restaurants). The hostess stood in front of the menu board, looked me in the eye and denied they served food. I figured that it was really a gambling club that served sandwiches than an actual cafe.

                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                            hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:30 PM

                                                                                            oh spill Ruth SPILL! sounds like fun!

                                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Jul 4, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                                              Not much more to the story than that, except that I wandered into at least one other such place.

                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                hill food Jul 5, 2011 12:14 AM

                                                                                                so no name? I like it even more. next time I hit town I may need to poke around for a place like this. I woulda ordered drinks and started playing Keno in hopes that would bring a wait person around.

                                                                                                1. re: hill food
                                                                                                  512window Jul 5, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                                                                  If you're not Vietnamese, you will never get served unless you are accompanying someone else who is Vietnamese.

                                                                                                  1. re: 512window
                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Jul 5, 2011 12:10 PM

                                                                                                    And double that if you're a women! I don't remember the names but there were a couple of such places in the New Saigon neighborhood of Oakland, on East 12th opposite the park between 6th and 7th. If you don't manage to get served you can walk over to Chai Thai Noodles opposite the park on 6th.

                                                                                                    1. re: 512window
                                                                                                      hill food Jul 5, 2011 05:03 PM

                                                                                                      well shoot...

                                                                                          2. b
                                                                                            beevod Jul 1, 2011 08:10 AM

                                                                                            The last time I entered a restaurant, (with an editor, his treat) -- wearing slacks and a shirt that probably cost more than their meals -- the maitre d' said, "Sir, jackets are required." I explained I was there to eat, not attend a fashion show and off we went, to, in my opinion, a much better restaurant.

                                                                                            75 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: beevod
                                                                                              josephnl Jul 1, 2011 12:08 PM

                                                                                              There are some wonderful restaurants that have dress codes, and a few do require gentlemen to wear a coat. There are a handful of such restaurants in NYC (Le Bernardin immediately comes to mind) and in DC. Because for most persons, eating at these restaurants is a very special occasion, many guests (and the management) want to create an atmosphere of elegance. Quite frankly I like it, and for a very special occasion it's nice to be seated in a room where everyone is nicely dressed. Unfortunately nowadays without a dress code, this is unlikely to happen.

                                                                                              1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                thew Jul 1, 2011 04:50 PM

                                                                                                elegance does not need to be a jacket. it's been 2 generations since ww2. it's ok for things to change.

                                                                                                and - - i've been in many a nice place, without a dress code, and everyone is nicely dressed

                                                                                                1. re: thew
                                                                                                  josephnl Jul 1, 2011 08:37 PM

                                                                                                  Yes, maybe I am dated, and perhaps some relaxation of previous standards are in order, but...without specific dress requirements it's virtually impossible to maintain reasonable standards. I'm sorry but maybe I'm not "up to date with the standards of today", but when I recently took friends out to dinner to celebrate an anniversry at a formally dressy restaurant in San Diego, and slobs were seated next to us wearing shorts, t-shirts, plastic flip-flops, and baseball caps, I was embarrassed and offended. Yes, there are places where this dress may be appropriate, but unfortunately there are enough crude and thoughtless people around that some restaurants need to set appropriate dress codes...and yes, even coats for gentlemen may be appropriately required at some. I personally like seeing appropriate dress at fine dining restaurants which are clearly special occasion destinations. How best to accomplish this is clearly an unfortunate challenge in today's world.

                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                    Harters Jul 2, 2011 01:44 AM

                                                                                                    "How best to accomplish this is clearly an unfortunate challenge in today's world."

                                                                                                    Not at all. Much of my eating is towards the upper end of the scale and restaurants seem to have no problem is conveying the message they wish to convey about dress.

                                                                                                    Most wishing to set a dress code will use the simple phrase along the lines of "smart casual" . Everyone knows what that means. A local Michelin 1 star place uses this - and the only folk wearing jackets and ties are the staff . I have yet to see a customer wearing a jacket

                                                                                                    For the more prescriptive style, a fairly local "fine dining" (a usually meaningless phrase) place has this - "Whilst many gentlemen choose to wear a jacket and tie in the restaurant in the evening it is not obligatory. We welcome gentlemen wearing smart clothes, but trainers, t-shirts, tracksuits, shorts etc are NOT acceptable ." I have never felt the slightest out of place not wearing jacket or tie.

                                                                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                                                                      pine time Jul 2, 2011 10:12 AM

                                                                                                      I'd just adore any restaurant that uses the word "whilst"! When we were poor starving students, Mr. Pine and I went to a local fine dining establishment (on my parent's dime). Mr. P didn't own a dinner jacket, and we found that one was required. He was directed to the house jacket, which he happily donned (which increased his dinner jacket ownership--albeit temporarily--by 100%).

                                                                                                      Since then, over 3 decades ago, our now favorite dress-up dinner location recently dropped it's men-in-jackets (and TIES!) policy... and Mr. Pine is saddened.

                                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                                        josephnl Jul 2, 2011 04:06 PM

                                                                                                        I don't know where you live, but in southern California requiring "smart casual" is far too vague, and will be essentially impossible to enforce. Indeed, the San Diego restaurant I referred to above had a posted "smart casual" dress code. When I spoke with the manager about why persons wearing shorts, plastic flip- flops, t shirts and baseball caps were seated next to us, he simply admitted that enforcing the code would lead to arguments. He said that it was summer and we were in a resort location. Keep in mind that this was a very upscale restaurant where the servers were all wearing coats and ties, and where essentially all of the other guests were well dressed.

                                                                                                        Unfortunately in southern CA it is a challenge for a restaurant to enforce a dress code. What seems to work best are specific guidelines in addition to "smart casual"...no shorts, no tank tops, collared shirts required (although a beautiful turtleneck should be ok), etc. It's not that easy to do!

                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2011 07:17 PM

                                                                                                          Unfortunately, "smart casual" to many means cleaning off some of the sand, from their swim suites, prior to entering, but not all...

                                                                                                          We spend a great deal of time in Hawai`i, and especially on O`ahu, frequent four high-end restaurants. One insists that gentlemen have jackets, and that is enforced 100%, while the other three suggest it. Now, at the other three, I have seen many gentlemen, who are not wearing jackets, but are dressed neatly. All have always changed from their beach clothing to something more appropriate for dining out.

                                                                                                          Drop down a few notches in restaurants, and then it's "most of the sand is gone" mind set, but that is to be expected in our society.


                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                            pine time Jul 3, 2011 02:34 PM

                                                                                                            I AM in Southern CA, and agree with your observations. Also think that the touristy places wouldn't dare turn away flip-floppers for anything.

                                                                                                            1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                              hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:37 PM

                                                                                                              there was some British writer (Graham Greene maybe?) that wondered something to the effect of 'what is it about a holiday that makes otherwise sensible people want to dress like children?'

                                                                                                        2. re: thew
                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2011 07:10 PM

                                                                                                          And, things have changed in some places, but not in all.

                                                                                                          There ARE restaurants, that adhere to a "dress-code," and that is just the way that it is.

                                                                                                          It's rather like attending a black tie event, in jeans, and saying, "hey, people wear these all the time." Well, not everywhere.

                                                                                                          Though dress-codes have been relaxed in many places, I still see folk dressing, as though they were still in force. When one walks in with cut-offs and a tank top, they might be allowed to enter, but should feel quite out of place.


                                                                                                      2. re: beevod
                                                                                                        monavano Jul 1, 2011 12:19 PM

                                                                                                        Well, "jackets required" unfortunately trumped "expensive clothes required" on that occasion. I find the former a throwback to a more formal and genteel time and the latter a bit pretentious, actually.
                                                                                                        As Dolly Parton says, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap". Not that that's here or there, it just really fits her (and some places I've been in!)

                                                                                                        1. re: monavano
                                                                                                          Cachetes Jul 1, 2011 05:19 PM

                                                                                                          Great points. I would never typically choose to go to a place that is so formal it requires jackets for men (though I have been to such places on two occasions), but I respect that this is part of the experience at some places. And I've never understood why people automatically equate expensive with formality or elegance or, failing that, feel that expense trumps those qualities.

                                                                                                          1. re: Cachetes
                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2011 07:31 PM

                                                                                                            In my experiences, those places have been worth the effort to dress for dinner.

                                                                                                            Still, my ultimate dining experiences have been while wearing my blazer, or a suit.


                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                              Cachetes Jul 10, 2011 06:33 PM

                                                                                                              Oh, I enjoyed both experiences, but it's outside of my price range at the moment. Were I given the opportunity to have a special occasion meal somewhere that had such a dress code, I wouldn't hesitate (and in fact would enjoy the opportunity to suspend my regularly scheduled life!).

                                                                                                              1. re: Cachetes
                                                                                                                Bill Hunt Jul 10, 2011 07:52 PM

                                                                                                                The majority of my meals are taken on my lower patio, while wearing cargo shorts and an Hawaiian print knock-off shirts, with my dogs at my feet. Maybe that is why I enjoy dressing up, when I get to dine out! [Grin]

                                                                                                                In the end, it should be about one's personal comfort level. When I was very young, I was introduced to "fine dining" in New Orleans, and the family would take the train over from the Coast. My mother loved to dress "to the nines," and my father would dress like a Damon Runyon character, as he'd spend much of the day at the race track. I learned to always have a coat, tie and overcoat (the opening of the Fairgrounds was always cold), plus a hat. Guess that I looked like a "little Damon Runyon character." In general, our lives were very casual, but then we'd take that train over to the City, and dine out. Guess that it comes with the "territory?"


                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                  Cachetes Jul 12, 2011 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                  This is interesting. I wouldn't say that I was introduced to any fine dining places as a child, though my parents took us to nice restaurants. This thread reminds me that my Dad always always wore a jacket and slacks (actually, he did this to places that weren't even so-called "nice"), and Mom had a dress always as well. We kids were of course expected to dress well also. My parents were both kids of immigrants (not sure if this is relevant, but it might be), and even though neither of them had a fine wardrobe and were typically quite casual, they were taught that when one went out, one should be presentable. This thread also brought back the fond memory of the first time I flew - I was 16,, without my parents, and flying with a group of other kids. I was the only kid who showed up in something other than jeans, b/c my parents told me that one dresses to fly. Thanks for sparking the memories!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Cachetes
                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jul 13, 2011 07:47 PM

                                                                                                                    In my case, no "recent immigrants," at least not for a dozen generations. Still, and of very modest means, dressing up to dine out was just part of it. Of course, this was at a time, when gentlemen wore suites and hats, and ladies dresses, gloves and hats, to fly. Maybe just a sign of the times? Now, I still wear a coat, and have a hat, when we fly, though it IS getting harder to find storage for both, and especially on the CRJ's out of PHX to the hub-cities. At least my hat is a "travel model," so if someone puts their roller on top of it, it'll spring back into shape by the time I get to the luggage carousel.

                                                                                                                    Now, I do like it, when there is a closet to hang the jacket, but until one gets up to a CRJ-700 or larger, there is not such, and overhead is the best that I can do.

                                                                                                                    Nowadays, and even in FC, or BC, the folk around me are attired in sweaty gym shorts, and a tank top. Flying is about what the Greyhound bus was, 30 years ago.

                                                                                                                    Unfortunately, the same goes for restaurants, where a wet bathing suit and tank top are considered "dressing for dinner."

                                                                                                                    Just my archaic sensibilities, I suppose.

                                                                                                                    You are welcome for the memories - I love them too.


                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                      hill food Jul 13, 2011 09:49 PM

                                                                                                                      when I travel by air in summer, I wear the linen pants and maybe a sportscoat as they won't wrinkle any worse than packed, I will be overly air-conditioned and the shorts/kid stuff take up less room in the luggage (plus no accidentally touching the seatmates bare skin - ickonomy class here, meaning seated in badly designed dining chairs jammed up against an underdressed stranger and no food in sight)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                        josephnl Jul 13, 2011 10:08 PM

                                                                                                                        Bill..I have been following your posts for some time, and I'm sure we are of the same generation. Thanks for your many posts in which you honor the traditions of the past...I, for one, miss them. My dad wore a suit, white shirt and tie to work every day of his life (he had a lower management job in the New York State tax department). We were definitely very middle class and could afford to eat out only on very special occasions. We only went out as a family when my sister and I were old enough to behave, and only ate ate places appropriate for "the children". When we were 7 or 8, they were very casual restaurants, but later when we were 10 and 11, we went to much nicer places where my parents dressed up, and I (at 10!) wore at least nice pants, a white shirt and tie. My point is, I guess, that these were very different times, and I miss them very much. We were by no means affluent...middle class at best, and we ate out only a few times a year. Nevertheless, we all regarded it as special, dressed appropriately, and even us kids, did not need to be told to behave!

                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Jul 16, 2011 10:28 PM

                                                                                                                          Yes, they were different times (and in our cases, different places, but with similarities). Much has changed. I try mightily to not impose my archaic sensibilities on too many. Still, when "dress-codes" come up, I will try to state the published codes, plus what makes me comfortable, regarding what most others are likely to be wearing.

                                                                                                                          Let's take an example. With no published dress-code, one might think that anything goes. However, if that restaurant caters to business folk, who are likely in suits, and a diner arrives in cut-offs, a tank top and flip-flops, they may well feel very out of place, even if there is no dress-code cited. It is often about what is the "accepted," rather than the "stated."

                                                                                                                          Yes, being from "common roots," I still dress up a bit, but that is me. I seldom feel under-dressed, and that pleases me.

                                                                                                                          Hunt - your contemporary.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                            Harters Jul 17, 2011 03:14 AM

                                                                                                                            There is a place near me that used to be the "top place" in the area. That's years gone by, of course and it's now something of faded star.

                                                                                                                            We hadnt been since the 1980s but went a couple of years back. It still seemed very familiar. Even down to its menu which, when I ordered duck was told it only came "well done, as that's how most of our customers like it". So I ordered something else.

                                                                                                                            The place has no advertised dress code. But I was the only man not wearing a jacket. I was also the youngest man in the room - by some years. Did I feel out of place? Well, yes, I did. But not because of the jacket tosh - but just because I dont like overcooked duck.

                                                                                                                            John (aged 60 and 11 months)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:38 PM

                                                                                                                              Now, I am likely to prefer my duck (breast most often), a tad more cooked, than you - like a crispy fat layer, but sorry that you felt out of place. I often do, but in the other direction - but I can live with that.

                                                                                                                              For someone, who always has his jacket, I was beside myself about three trips to London back. I was with my lovely wife, and another charming lady. It was raining, and we all had our Burberrys, plus umbrellas. We ended up at Wilton's for a lunch, BUT my blazer was back in the room. Danged!!!! We went across the street, and had a lovely lunch, plus the rain stopped. Next time at Wilton's, guess who had his blazer? [Grin]


                                                                                                                            2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                              josephnl Jul 17, 2011 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                              Bill, unfortunately, I'm not so sure that the person showing up in tank top, shorts and flip-flops will necessarily feel out of place. In many instances, I think, these people really don't care what others think and care less about respecting the restaurant.

                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                thew Jul 17, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                                                                                                maybe those people are made as uncomfortable by your jacket as you are by their flipflops, and they assume you do not care about what they think, or the feelings of the restaurant?

                                                                                                                                1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                  huiray Jul 17, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                  So when a diner is the ONLY one in tank top & flipflops in a restaurant they should like it if all the other diners should take off their jackets and shoes and unbutton their shirts so the the tank top person can feel more comfortable?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                    Servorg Jul 17, 2011 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                                    I don't give a tinker's damn what others are wearing to dinner. When I show up in jeans, black tee shirt and my merrell's (I don't ever wear flip flops) or my cargo shorts, black tee shirt and my merrell's and the restaurant management doesn't want my business then all they have to do is tell me. I'll gladly strike them off my rotation now and for the future.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                      huiray Jul 17, 2011 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                      @ Servorg: So be it. Fare thee well.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                        josephnl Jul 17, 2011 02:54 PM

                                                                                                                                        Servorg, would you really show up at the top restaurants in let's say New York, Chicago, San Francisco, LA (I'm thinking Le Bernardin, Per Se, Everest, Gary Danko, Melisse, etc.) wearing cargo shorts, t-shirt and Merrell's? I can't imagine that you would. You certainly wouldn't be seated at these places, and yes, I think it would be terribly disrespectful to even try.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                          Servorg Jul 17, 2011 03:16 PM

                                                                                                                                          If they don't want me as a patron then I'll go on and eat somewhere that does. Respect is a two way street. I eat without getting food all over my tee shirt. I don't speak too loudly. I tip well and I keep my merrell's on at all times during dinner. Dressing casually is not a sign of disrespect as far as my value system is concerned. If your meal is going to be negatively affected by the way I dress then I hope you don't cross paths with me some night at an "upscale" place...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                            thew Jul 17, 2011 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                            and here in NY, many top tier places know that the guy in cargo shorts just might be a billionaire, while the guy in the armani might just be a guy in an armani

                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                              josephnl Jul 17, 2011 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                                              There is obviously no correlation between wealth and good manners.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                Servorg Jul 17, 2011 04:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                Just as there is no correlation between good manners and dress.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                  josephnl Jul 17, 2011 06:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I'm afraid that I must respectfully disagree. I think that going to an obviously upscale and dressy restaurant (I'm assuming that most of us know what this is) wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops is extraordinarily bad manners. Perhaps, I'm the only one who feels this way, but this is my honest opinion.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                    Veggo Jul 17, 2011 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I'm in your camp. There are ardent defenders here of the right to flaunt pit hair and toe cheese anywhere, and I assume they practice what they preach and they whine about how often it is discussed here but they do all the discussing.

                                                                                                                                                    I find it gross, but these people have rights, and I assume they support themselves without much mainstream interaction.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                      thew Jul 17, 2011 07:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                      i'm pretty sure there's more than just a fine line between jacket & tie and pit hair & toe cheese.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                        Veggo Jul 17, 2011 07:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Of course, but I see nothing in your posts to indicate it matters to you.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                          thew Jul 17, 2011 08:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                          i have my preferences - but i'm not going to let someone else's choices - even ones i consider poor choices, mar my enjoyment

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                            Veggo Jul 17, 2011 08:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                            thew, you are very much a live-and-let live guy, I have read you with respect for years. But I sense that without some guidelines for social conduct, including dress, behavior, language, and manners, that William Golding's Lord of the Flies is closing in.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                              thew Jul 18, 2011 04:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                              i'm not the anarchist i was at 19, and i do think there are needed guidelines. but again - i think the fine line between lord of the flies, and not wearing a jacket, is wider than the average american's middle aged spread

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                josephnl Jul 18, 2011 07:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                There's a huge difference between not wearing a jacket (which if fine in 99% of restaurants in the US), and showing up a upscale and dressy restaurant wearing cargo shorts, tank top and flip-flops which others have said is ok, and which I maintain is the height of disrespect and bad manners. This is not a fine line.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                                  Servorg Jul 18, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  And the restaurant gets a vote on this issue that is actually meaningful. The rest of this discussion is just an exercise in "how many tank top wearing angels can fit on the head of a flip flop."

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                    DGresh Jul 18, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm enough of a conformist that I don't typically "push the envelope" on casual dressing at a nice restaurant. HOWEVER, the fact that someone else might choose to wear something much more casual than I would matters not one whit to my enjoyment. How on earth could that "trample on my rights" or "force me to tolerate" as I've seen in some of these replies (sounds a bit like some current political arguments about other "stuff some people don't like").

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                                                                                      Servorg Jul 18, 2011 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      You'll never last here...much too logical and reasonable thinking on your part! ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                      Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      No, not really. It is about how many folk, dressed as you describe, must the restaurant turn away in an evening. In some cases, probably many, but then those admitted have a much better experience, and they pay the bills.


                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                                      thew Jul 18, 2011 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      i agree. but pretty much everyone weighing in on the jacket/dressing up side up this discussion frames at people dressing up vs tank top and flip flops. that is not the doing of those of us who do not care what others wear - it would be the equivalent of my framing it as casual clothes vs tuxedo monocle and top hat

                                                                                                                                                                      and it not being a fine line has been exactly my point - over and over again

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        You are certainly free to frame the discussion in any way that you choose. That is your prerogative.


                                                                                                                                                            2. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I think that the "fine line" might be between the people who are doing the dressing - the exact cloth is less important.


                                                                                                                                                          2. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                            Servorg Jul 17, 2011 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I'm afraid I must respectfully say I don't care. As Yakov Smirnof was heard to say on more than one occasion: "America! What a country!" Glad I live where my personal choices aren't up for a vote by you all. I don't think I'm the only one that feels that way, and that definitely is MY honest opinion.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                              Veggo Jul 17, 2011 09:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I'll care. Apathy leads to more entropy.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                                Servorg Jul 18, 2011 03:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Am I ignorant or just apathetic?

                                                                                                                                                                I don't know and I don't care...

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Whatever. So long as you are happy, what more can we say?


                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I do not recall anyone stating that there was. I feel that this might me a form of compensation, or rationalization, but could well be wrong.

                                                                                                                                                              Dress does not directly equate to manners. Net worth does not directly equate to class.


                                                                                                                                                            3. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                              thew Jul 17, 2011 05:18 PM


                                                                                                                                                            4. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Well, where I dine, the "billionaire" would have the class to dress appropriately. Otherwise, they might be on the street, looking for somewhere else to dine too. Class is not about $. One either has it, or they do not. Unfortunately, too many do not, regardless of their net worth.


                                                                                                                                                            5. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                              small h Jul 17, 2011 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I would much prefer dining next to a quiet person in cargo shorts over some suit-clad yahoo with his tie slung over his shoulder, bellowing like an angry ox. Good manners are revealed through behavior, not dress.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: small h
                                                                                                                                                                thew Jul 17, 2011 04:11 PM


                                                                                                                                                                1. re: small h
                                                                                                                                                                  LeoLioness Jul 17, 2011 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Are these the only options though? Ideally, I'd sit next to someone who is well-behaved and not of the mindset that shorts and flipflops are appropriate attire for all occasions.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LeoLioness
                                                                                                                                                                    small h Jul 18, 2011 04:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I can easily turn my back on a person if I don't want to see him. If I don't want to listen to him, though, I don't have many options beyond stuffing a napkin in his pie-hole or leaving the area myself. That's why I think appearance is less important than behavior. And the "mindset" of the person at the next table is none of my business.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: small h
                                                                                                                                                                      Harters Jul 18, 2011 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      My problem with other diners are the loudmouthed wankers who insist on boring the arse off their companions in tones sufficient to intrude on me. If only they'd have something interesting to talk about - be spies, perhaps, or conducting a juicy affair or know scanadal about a politician - it'd be OK but they usually want to talk to their companions about their latest wheeze for using Excel in the office.

                                                                                                                                                                      I could not give a stuff what they're wearing.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                        BN1 Jul 18, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Clothes mean nothing. You don't have to look, but you'll miss all that great body art that makes me nauseous. It’s those darn cell phone conversations to which I am forced to listen that spoil my meal.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BN1
                                                                                                                                                                          kpaxonite Jul 18, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          and people who don't realize that you don't have to speak 10 times louder for someone to hear you on a cellphone...

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: small h
                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Now, and has been stated up-thread, clothes do not insure class. That is something that one either has, or lacks - regardless of attire, or net worth.

                                                                                                                                                                    There are no guarantees in life - one plays the hand, as it is dealt - clothes, class and all.


                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, if you wish to buck tradition, that is your choice. You can vote with your $.


                                                                                                                                                              2. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                thew Jul 17, 2011 09:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                no. nor should the person in the tank top be forced to wear an ill-fitting jacket for the "comfort" of those besuited people who still dress for the 19th century. works both ways.

                                                                                                                                                                that's exactly my point.

                                                                                                                                                                what you wear to a restaurant impacts me pretty much not at all

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                  huiray Jul 17, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  @ thew: No, the tank top person need not be forced to wear a jacket. But, similarly, nor should a Jacket-wearing person be compelled to feel bad because there is a tank-top person at the next table. The tone of your (and others) posts suggested that this person should bend over to accommodate this tank-top person who cared not a whit for normal conventions.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                    thew Jul 17, 2011 11:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    not in the least.
                                                                                                                                                                    we should all bend over backwards and be bent over for, for each other (that sounds naughtier than intended) - it seems more like some of the bejacketed are not being compelled to feel bad, but instead choosing to feel bad, based on what some other person, at some other table, has on their feet.

                                                                                                                                                                    Normal conventions are a moving target. what seems to be being discussed are conventions that become less and less in use, ie less "normal". People have always complained as cultural mores change around them. Not so long ago the guy wanting to wear a jacket and slacks would have been seen by the tuxedoed as the tanktopped flipflop.

                                                                                                                                                                    as RA Wilson said : it only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                      Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, I care not one whit, what one might consider "normal," at any given time. I dress, as is befitting to the establishment, and let the host deal with the rest. That is their call.


                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    No, they should have chosen to wear a fitted jacket in the first place.


                                                                                                                                                                2. re: thew
                                                                                                                                                                  Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 08:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Then that is their problem, and they must learn to deal with it.


                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                            LeoLioness Jul 14, 2011 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I don't think your sensibilities are archaic, just not shared by everyone. I'm in my 30s and hear "you're so dressed up" on a weekly basis. My sartorial choices just lean towards the more formal.

                                                                                                                                                            I see plenty of people of (ahem) a certain age who aren't exactly dressed to impress.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Jul 14, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                              We still dress nicely to fly as well as to eat at "better" places (as well as in general, I'm a dress girl, nothing cooler in the summer).

                                                                                                                                                              Our dressing to fly stems from our longhaired student days when a bejeaned and tshirted traveller was more likely to be hassled than one more traditionally dressed.

                                                                                                                                                              It's definitely a relic of our upbringing, when dressing for something meant it was special and made it a bit more so.

                                                                                                                                                              David Sedaris said it best recently, in re today's travel attire, in an article in the New Yorker - paraphrasing - "I was in line behind a woman who looked as if she had been cleaning shoe polish off a pig and just said "F*ck it, I'm going to Los Angeles'".

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                meatn3 Jul 18, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                You describe my position quite well. I lived a very mobile life in the longhaired days and avoided a lot of grief by dressing more traditionally, especially when passing through more conservative areas.

                                                                                                                                                                As a child shorts were only for wearing in your backyard - never to visit a friend or go shopping, let alone dine out. It took me many years into adulthood to get comfortable wearing shorts to the grocery or garden center.

                                                                                                                                                                Dining out was not the norm and there really wasn't much in the way of casual dining except drive-ins and fast food. The only people who seemed to eat in restaurants regularly were having business lunches downtown. When we went out it was a special occasion and we dressed and behaved to match.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: monavano
                                                                                                                                                    Veggo Jul 2, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                    When Resorts International, the first casino in Atlantic City, opened on Memorial Day weekend, 1978, I was there with my reprobate golf buddies. Jackets were required on the casino floor and their fine dining restaurant, Le Palais. Hardly any man there had his own sport jacket. They had racks of rentals in all sizes for $3, all a burnt orange color. The casino and the restaurant looked like a pumpkin patch. Individually we looked like idiots, but collectively, the casino policy looked idiotic and was soon dropped.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                      im_nomad Jul 2, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                      lol, that's quite the mental image.

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: beevod
                                                                                                                                                    Isolda Jul 3, 2011 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                    In general, I agree that "jackets required" shouldn't be necessary, there is some research that shows people behave better when they're dressed up. That's why a lot of private schools have uniforms, or at least require collared shirts. Maybe some restaurants think half-strangled men in itchy jackets will have better manners?

                                                                                                                                                    What really ticks me off is the hypocrisy of some of those jacket-required restos. Years ago, when my husband and I were in our 20s, we wound up in one, and since my husband didn't have a jacket, they trotted out one of their ill-fitting ones for him. He put it on, but as soon as we sat down, I noticed a young woman wearing a seriously ratty, too short denim skirt with a frayed hem and holes walking into the dining room beside her uncomfortable-looking partner, also attired in one of the restaurant's jackets. It would have been nicer if they'd offer the coat to her.

                                                                                                                                                  4. j
                                                                                                                                                    jlhinwa Jul 1, 2011 06:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Wow, that is really unfortunate. I agree with everyone who said it was the restaurant's issue and not yours. Shame on them.

                                                                                                                                                    I thankfully have not had such an experience to date, but I definitely have had a time or two at a bar or lounge when I felt that I and (and presumably my companions) were too old/uncool/unhip for a particular place. I think I am just getting old and I don't enjoy a lot of the craziness that goes on in more trendy type of watering holes.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jlhinwa
                                                                                                                                                      lemons Jul 2, 2011 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                      We are not uncommonly the oldest folks in a restaurant or bar. Haven't noticed anyone staring at us, but we take great enjoyment from the people watching. that means WE stare at THEM. Unobtrusively, of course, but fun. Sociology, of course, not nosiness....

                                                                                                                                                    2. alliegator Jul 2, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I'm really sorry that happened, and there is nothing that excuses it. You just have to think of it as a "their loss" situation. You were there to enjoy a good meal. Period.
                                                                                                                                                      I feel that if anyone is well behaved and dresses neatly, it really should not matter if they bought their threads at Neiman Marcus or Old Navy.
                                                                                                                                                      I hope you don't give up and take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way to experience a great meal.
                                                                                                                                                      I'm sure I've made a fair amount of gaffes in all types of restaurants, but have never really felt out of place. But I'm the type that just kind of blunders into any situation and finds a way to make it work, haha!
                                                                                                                                                      The poor service is absolutely on them and not you.

                                                                                                                                                      1. LorenM Jul 2, 2011 11:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I currently work in the resort industry for a company that owns some really fine resorts and also used to work in high-end golf apparel industry. Both of which involved being around clientele who are in a much higher tax-bracket than I. I currently get a very nice employee rate at our own resorts and visit at least once or twice a year for vacations.

                                                                                                                                                        I actually learned to embrace being the beer drinker in the champagne crowd and am not bothered by it at all (if they are, that's their business). I like many of the same things- just not the pretentiousness. So far I have not been kicked out of any place for not being "classy" enough and am pretty comfy in my own skin in almost all situations.

                                                                                                                                                        1. b
                                                                                                                                                          BN1 Jul 2, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I see from your profile that you are from Canada, which could make a difference. I wear jeans. The only place I’ve ever gotten “the look” was from a woman in a full-length fur coat from South Carolina (I overheard) while having cocktails in the Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy. The drinks were tasty, a friend insisted on paying, so life was good. I stay often at the Huntington Ritz Carlton (now Langham) in Pasadena where people mess-up their new clothes to look like mine, which really amuses me.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BN1
                                                                                                                                                            hill food Jul 3, 2011 09:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                            now a full-length fur in SC or Venice sounds wildly out of place (unless she was from the SC mountains or in Venice in completely the 'off' season and even so a slicker sounds more sensible or a nice burberry)

                                                                                                                                                          2. lessleyellen Jul 3, 2011 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                            My husband and I walked into Zuni Cafe last year, completely bedraggled by the rain. We must have looked like homeless people. Only the difference was, we were very prepared, and in fact quite pumped up, to drop a bunch of money on a nice bottle of wine and dinner. They proceeded to ignore us at the hostess desk, and then begrudgingly sat us at a table in the bar, where people ignored us so long that we finally just got up and left, and went to Suppenkuche, where we were treated like family. Nice family.

                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lessleyellen
                                                                                                                                                              josephnl Jul 3, 2011 09:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Very surprising in that Zuni although wonderful in the food department, is hardly what anyone would call elegant. Although as you can tell from my posts, I enjoy dressing up for dinner, I wouldn't think twice about going to the Zuni wearing nice jeans, sport shirt & sweater!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lessleyellen
                                                                                                                                                                hill food Jul 3, 2011 10:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                that IS surprising as I'd categorize Zuni as the godhead of California Casual and given the nabe the real homeless are easy to ID and not likely to even try. (but Suppenkuche is a personal favorite so I prob. would have gone there in the first place).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lessleyellen
                                                                                                                                                                  monavano Jul 4, 2011 06:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Zuni's loss and good for you. You had a great dinner because you took the bull by the horns. If I get ignored at a restaurant for long enough, my inclination is to leave and hit another restaurant or hell, even a drive through to take care of my hunger and just call it a night.
                                                                                                                                                                  I'd rather get a burger and fries at Micky D's before I lay out my money at a restaurant that treats me poorly.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Servorg Jul 4, 2011 08:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I've had this happen once in a while over the years. Especially in higher end dining places such as your example of a five star hotel/resort, the issue turned out to be a simple mix up in the server(s) not being assigned to that table we've either chosen, or been assigned to. When someone was finally made aware of the service gap (usually by my getting up and tracking down a manager - or even another server - to let them know we weren't seeing menus or getting drinks or what have you) things then got rectified in a hurry (with all due apologies rendered).

                                                                                                                                                                  1. g
                                                                                                                                                                    givemecarbs Jul 5, 2011 01:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Wow that was a harsh experience nomad. Well this spring my friend dragged me to a raw vegan cafe. He had only tried the green smoothies there and wanted to brave the rest of the raw food menu. I knew about this place, the sign said it was a raw bar and I was curious about it for years. I thought they served clams and oysters on the half shell for the longest time.
                                                                                                                                                                    We got there about four oh five pm and the cafe part closed at five. The store itself closes at six. My friend was overwhelmed by the strange menu and we were the only customers on a sleepy cold monday late afternoon. The employee wanted to take our order but my friend was having trouble choosing. I was staying out of it and just willing to try some of what ever he got. I told my friend to take his time as I felt he was being rushed. She said "well we close at five." My response was oh what time is it now? in a very mild tone, knowing full well it wasn't even four twenty yet. This works on most people and they back off but she glanced at her watch and then simply didn't answer my question. I was pretty annoyed but kept my mouth shut somehow. This was my friend's adventure. My friend ordered fairly soon after and the dish we tried was interesting and tasty. We've been back many time since, in fact we are planning to go tomorrow for lunch, so I'm glad we were patient. That employee caused quite a few more awkward moments but has thankfully quit. We also found out the business was in a slump that spring and the owner was not in his usual good mood as well. Things have since rallied. It is kind of sad to think that they really needed our business then but very nearly sent us running out of there. It is a very strange place. I'm not always really up to going there but since my friend loves it I prep myself by pretending that I am teleporting into another dimension. Seems to help. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                                      Luna2372 Jul 5, 2011 04:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I love trying new restaurants, and being the bold yet polite type, always seemed to have a lovely expierence, whether or not the food was to my liking. Until I went to Venice, alone, as a single woman. On the first day I tried 3 restaurants along the Grand Canal. Each time I was seated in a crap spot, given a menu...and then ignored for at least 1/2 hour. Ppl seated after me where being served entrees and I hadn't even been aproached yet. Finally half mad with starvation I bumped into a man I had met on the plane the night before, told my story in a sort half joking way, and with in 10 minutes we were seated in a place I had just left, had a chilly proseco in had and a dissapointing entree on the the way. The next day I traveled with a nother single woman from my hotel who had the same problem, and we particular about going to place with women working as servers and seem to get ok service.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                        givemecarbs Jul 6, 2011 12:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Wow Luna, I believe you. My mom traveled alone to London and had some similar experiences. She went to some carvery place which was very masculine and everyone glowered at her. She was not a woman to be intimidated by anyone but being ganged up on like that was bad for her self-esteem.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                                          Peg Jul 6, 2011 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I've visited Venice and London alone (I'm a British woman of, um, middling years) and I have never ever had an issue at any restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                          Venice Grand Canal places are very tourist - they'd want to maximise the customers per table per hour - and I didn't eat at them, nor at a London carvery. Maybe it depends on the type of venue and when travelling alone one should focus on places that are more into the food than the easy money.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Peg
                                                                                                                                                                            Luna2372 Jul 6, 2011 09:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            The reason I went to the places on the Grand Canal is that I was a tourist. I Really Really Really want to have lunch on the GRAND CANAL in VENICE! Sorry I have no problems admiting to being enamoured of the places I want to visist.

                                                                                                                                                                            I have also gotten really bad service in London...


                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                                            Harters Jul 6, 2011 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Are not London carveries inherently tourist traps that will despise any single diner, regardless of gender?

                                                                                                                                                                            (NB: Rhetorical question)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                              Peg Jul 6, 2011 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, doh!
                                                                                                                                                                              (Rhetotically, of course)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Peg
                                                                                                                                                                                Harters Jul 6, 2011 02:16 PM


                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: givemecarbs
                                                                                                                                                                              Luna2372 Jul 6, 2011 09:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              I do believe that pretty much everyone who is bold enough to love good food will be willing to go and brave a new place.

                                                                                                                                                                              I have been in despartate places and been given a meager meal that made me feel amazing. In Venice...not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                              In that 4 week trip from Amserdam to Florence..the only time I was truly baffled or down right refused was in Venice. It's true..it HAPPENED... I was lucky enoght to meet up with a nice man who seemed to have what it took to get attention.

                                                                                                                                                                              But my god..it sucked to be in a city that you had dreamed about and such negligent service that you felt invisible...It was shocking.

                                                                                                                                                                              My only bad experience of that trip. But it did shake me to the core.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. f
                                                                                                                                                                          Floridagirl Jul 5, 2011 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I like to be dressed up. First time I went to New Orleans it was a convention. I was dressed casual, my boss and I were walking around and she decided we had to go now, right away, to Antoines. No showering, changing, etc. My boss had been many times before. I never felt so underdressed in my life and I'm sure tourists dress like that all the time but it's not ok with me

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Floridagirl
                                                                                                                                                                            Luna2372 Jul 5, 2011 07:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            It does make me feel less able to relax if I am over or underdressed for a place. I do try not dress like a tourist if I am traveling. The give away is always the shoes. Hard to walk for hours in very styley shoes. Not like if you just hop down the block or out of the car. I am goind to tuck spikey shoes in my bag on my next walking tour type vacation.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. tracylee Jul 18, 2011 06:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I thought of this thread last night. I saw a special listed that I was interested in at a local bar and grill that I'd never been to. I cleaned up a bit for it. I walked in and sat at a small table near the bar. It became pretty clear that the bartender was also the wait staff, but my presence wasn't noted by him, that I could tell. I decided I'd go order at the bar, and while I was there, the chair I'd been using was picked up and moved by a regular who wanted to use it to sit with his friends. Not exactly a warm welcome. So I moved to another area, and soon a friend I knew was affiliated with the bar showed up. She's the co-owner with her husband, and it's funny how wecoming the staff and regulars were after that.

                                                                                                                                                                            I definitely felt out of place.

                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tracylee
                                                                                                                                                                              Luna2372 Jul 18, 2011 08:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              That is sad for your friend, that with out her patronage, new customers are not given the service she obviously would like for her guests.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                                tracylee Jul 18, 2011 08:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, it was awkward enough that I didn't mention it, since I hadn't seen her in person in 8 years, since our last class reunion. She's a friend on Facebook, however, so I knew she had something to do with the establishment. It just hadn't been clear that she owns it.

                                                                                                                                                                                And it sounds like she works her tail off running the place. Too bad, 'cause it's very close to where I currently live.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tracylee
                                                                                                                                                                                  Luna2372 Jul 18, 2011 09:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I would try it again and see how everyone treats you now. If it's good..well count your blessings to find a good place close to home.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If it's bad the second time...tell your friend. It really is important for her to know this. How bad would it be to lose you shirt cuz no one would step up and tell the truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                                    tracylee Jul 19, 2011 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the suggestion. She said the special will happen weekly (OK, so it's a visiting BBQ truck that pulls up out front), so I'll keep an eye out for it. I'll be moving next month, but still in the same general area. The location of the bar is great, and iwhen it was a previous restaurant and genre, it was a place that I'd stop at at least once a week.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. crowmuncher Jul 23, 2011 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              My experience has mostly been that when I am most "out of place" - if that means people culturally different from me- I am served with extra attention and for me that's a good thing since that means I won't have to read a menu in Chinese or figure out what to order. The servers/owners know what they do best and they want to please you so you come back.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                monafelice Sep 13, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Sure, I think we've all had an experience such as yours. But, then there's the flipside when you try out a new place and strike gold. Three of us recently went to a new little Jamaican place I saw featured on a local tv show. I was impressed by the owner's story and magnetic personality, making me want to try it out. We did feel a little awkward when we arrived and we were the only...well...white people. There. I said it. However, the servers were very attentive, other patrons made recommendations on what dishes to try, and the owner came out to greet us. We ordered Kingston wings while we perused the menu. Before you know it, the owner came out with a plate for each of us, each with a dollop of each of 4 stew-type dishes to sample. Wow. That's how to get a customer for life. That's why we tend to frequent smaller, non-chain restaurants. If you had brought the oversight to the server's attention it could have gone either way- they'd have apologized and gone out of their way to be attentive & make you feel welcome...or, sadly, more likely, they'd have acted like you were a bother and at the end of the meal you'd be wishing that you had walked out!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. mucho gordo Sep 13, 2011 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I still get plenty of "looks" when I'm the only "white face" in the place, be it Thai, Chinese, Mexican or soul food.

                                                                                                                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                                                                                                                    hill food Sep 13, 2011 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    yeah I do too but I don't give a sh*t, they just find it unusual (and sometimes amusing). I compare that to the open hostility 'non-white' or seemingly gay friends have experienced walking into some places.

                                                                                                                                                                                    sure I stand out but I'm not worried I'm going to get knee-capped or worse. it's an important perspective to maintain IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                      lemons Sep 14, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      +1, hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                        huiray Sep 14, 2011 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's a thread from some months ago, which was locked and thus not readily accessible through the usual CH search on CH:

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                          mucho gordo Sep 14, 2011 10:34 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                                                                                                                                            Luna2372 Sep 14, 2011 08:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            There is a world of difference between feeling "out of place" and feeling "threatened", I have many gay freinds who have the "bad" feeling when they walk into a new place.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Sep 14, 2011 10:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              and you don't even have to really be gay to get that treatment/feeling

                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray - I'd forgotten about that thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                                                mucho gordo Sep 15, 2011 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                True. I don't believe I have ever felt threatened. My younger son is gay; I'll have to ask him if he's ever felt threatened in a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                                                  PotatoHouse Sep 15, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  [Quote] I have many gay freinds who have the "bad" feeling when they walk into a new place. [/Quote]

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why? Do they walk around with "Kiss me, I'm Gay" t-shirts on or something? Most of the gay people I have known (And I've known quite a few since my brother was gay) don't immediately and loudly announce their sexual preference upon walking into a new eating establishment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Sep 15, 2011 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If I want to hold my wife's hand or put my arm around her shoulder as I walk into a restaurant, I do so without self-consciousness. Likewise, if I walk around in a cruddy unfashionable t-shirt, I might feel underdressed, but I don't worry that my fashion choice broadcasts my heterosexuality to people who might hate me for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you're gay and live in an area where your sexuality isn't completely accepted, you don't necessarily have the same luxuries I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's also the school of thought held by some within the gay community that a gay person should wear their sexuality loud and proud - one of those 'don't let the bastards win' type things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                      hill food Sep 15, 2011 05:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ya don't have to 'announce' anything, people make assumptions. you can be as discreet and 'ok' as you try, but a gesture, an inflection, a choice of adjective or shoes are all enough to set off some. I'm living out in the sticks right now and I've noticed I get much more friendly service unshaven and dressed in grubby clothes than clean cut and in my Brooks Brothers. heck even my speech patterns are changing. shit yeah, I tell you what I ain't gonna walk around in my Rockport loafers and DKNY jeans into the Depot Diner and ask if they don't got no decaf latte.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      the nearest town has one, ONE Black family and I wonder how they feel going about their daily business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                                                      josephnl Sep 15, 2011 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Doesn't make sense at all why gay people should feel out of place anywhere. Unless they are wearing a "I am gay" sign, or being demonstrably over-affectionate (which is in equally bad taste for all persons, straight or gay), how would anyone even surmise they are gay. I have never heard any such comments from any of the many gay people I know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                                                                        LeoLioness Sep 15, 2011 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It doesn't make sense, but unfortunately it happens when a same-sex couple is being so "over-affectionate" as to hold hands or sit with an arm slung over one's partner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness
                                                                                                                                                                                                          josephnl Sep 15, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unfortunately, you are correct that in many instances gay couples do not have the same freedom as straight couples to show any affection such as holding hands, a peck on the cheek when meeting in a restaurant, etc. This is, IMHO, really quite sad. That being said, most gay people I know are smart enough to "obey the rules" and are not made to feel uncomfortable when dining out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                                                                            huiray Sep 15, 2011 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Unfortunately, you are correct that in many instances gay couples do not have the same freedom as straight couples to show any affection such as holding hands, a peck on the cheek when meeting in a restaurant, etc. This is, IMHO, really quite sad. That being said, most gay people I know are smart enough to "obey the rules" and are not made to feel uncomfortable when dining out."
                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is one of the most infuriating statements I have read on this forum. In effect you ARE saying that gay folks should just disappear into the woodwork, concealing their sexuality according to "the rules" for gay folks in a straight (homophobic?) environment, while heterosexual folks are free to hold hands and give each other a peck on the lips or cheeks without any thought about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray
                                                                                                                                                                                                              josephnl Sep 15, 2011 03:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray...I think you should read my post again. You have seriously misinterpreted my words. I have said that it is unfortunate and sad that gay people are not able to exercise the same "freedom" that straight people can, in expressing affection. This is, of course, wrong and very troubling. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that in many situations (restaurants in the U.S. especially, and with regional differences) the display of affection between two men, or two women may well elicit unpleasant responses from other guests. And yes, for this reason most gay couples avoid public displays of affection. That gay couples need to act differently than do straight couples so as to avoid stares, or worse, is very wrong and yes, despicable, but is nevertheless a fact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                huiray Sep 15, 2011 07:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am glad that I am mistaken about what you meant to say. Thank you for the clarification. Let us hope that there would not be such "rules" in the near future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Luna2372
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Sep 23, 2011 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, things can cut two ways. Not that long ago, when dining solo, I had made reservations, based on food reviews. When I walked in, I realized that the majority of the patrons were gay. At first, I was uncomfortable, but upon reflection, had no reason to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        When all was said and done, the food WAS excellent, as was the service. Though I had felt the "outsider," the servers never missed a beat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Obviously, a straight person can feel "out of place" too, but there was no reason to question that restaurant - they were just top-notch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, the staff might still be telling stories of my foray, but with the food, I do not care.


                                                                                                                                                                                                2. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                  NicoleFriedman Sep 15, 2011 04:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm trying to understand why instead of the question you're asking, you didn't ask yourself "What can I do to let the restaurant know that I was given such horrible treatment?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                    emilyjh75 Sep 15, 2011 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess I'm what you 'Hounders would call a great home cook. I'm very poor, live in a rural area, and have always been poor. However, I am an excellent cook and have a decent repertoire, considering my background and culture. I am college-educated and speak a couple of languages. Nevertheless, I've never been to what I would call a "fancy" restaurant, as I could certainly never afford it, and even if I could, would have no idea how to behave once I got there. So became my awkward dining experience:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was vacationing with my family in Chicago a few years ago (first and only time ever, actually, having a real vacation in a real city). I spotted an Indian restaurant, and was keen to go get some, as I love love LOVE Indian food. But, of course, where I live there is none to be had, unless I cook it myself. Well, we yokel tourists went in, dressed in jeans and hoodies, and dragging a surly teenager, a toddler, and an infant behind us. The moment we were seated I knew this was absolutely not the appropriate place to be 1) wearing casual clothes (although there were other similarly-dressed tourists there, it was obviously a fine dining establishment), or 2) bringing small children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    After about 10 minutes of reading the menu (which I clearly could not afford much of), fending off the teen's growls, and desperately exhorting my toddler to stop playing with the china and the napkins, I started to get tunnel vision, like what happens in horror movies when the person realizes the monster is coming for them. I was on the point of jumping up and dragging my family out of there and heading down to MickeyD's where we obviously belonged....when I realized that dammit, I was on vacation! I had some money, anyway, and while none of my family could really appreciate quality food, *I* could. And since there was no possibility of getting such delicious food for perhaps many years to come, I decided to just make the best of it. We ordered a few appetizer plates to share between the 5 of us, and it was one of the most delicious food experiences of my life!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the end, it worked out. The staff were perfectly hospitable, and the service was excellent. There weren't even any glares or intimations, even though the toddler alone probably merited at least one. I found out that my infant was a budding foodie, and even liked spicy food. I am divorced now and a single parent, back to my little kitchen in a small apartment on the poorer side of town, where my little ethnic dishes will have to be made by only myself, and probably mostly eaten by myself, since there's only three of us at home now. And unless I marry into money, I am sure I will never again be able to attend any place that has a dress code. But if I never do, at least that one time I got to eat real gourmet food! It was totally worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: emilyjh75
                                                                                                                                                                                                      hill food Sep 15, 2011 08:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      never ever let socio-economic status intimidate you out of anything. ever. every US dollar is just as green as the next, I know, few and far between for all of us these days, I barely get to hit a mom n pop place more than once a month. but when we're in the position to spend a little again we will walk right through the front door with heads held high.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. susancinsf Sep 25, 2011 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think I have read this entire thread, and it surprises me that as far as I can tell no one has mentioned, at least directly, what I think is the most likely explanation for the way the OP was treated, and it has nothing to do with their dress or the feel of the place but a lot to do with communication and how the place was organized: since they were asked to 'seat themselves' I suspect they never really got assigned a server: the various servers on the patio thought someone else was serving them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If I had been in that situation, I would have gone to find a server or the host/hostess and asked if there was a reason we'd been waiting so long without a menu or service, before giving up and walking out. Indeed, the last time something like this happened to me, the situation was rectified as soon as my husband went to the host stand to say something (after sitting without menus for about 15 minutes watching lots of activity around us). No, we weren't deliberately being ignored: each server literally thought the other had been assigned to our table, and because they were busy, they didn't really stop to notice that we didn't have menus or food. As I say, not only was the situation rectified, but we got sincere and effusive apologies from the host, the server, and the manager, who also comp'd two drinks and a bottle of wine! (which went way beyond what I was expecting, which was a simple apology and quick bringing of the menus.). (Oh yeah, and the food was great: I'd go back to the spot in a heartbeat).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Servorg Sep 25, 2011 09:10 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                                                          susancinsf Sep 25, 2011 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          thanks, Servorg. It did seem odd to me that no one had mentioned that....somehow I missed your post in all the discussion about dress and the like. I think sometimes when things go south it is human nature to internalize the reason, but often the explanation is much simpler.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Servorg Sep 25, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            How to get overlooked on CH. Display no (and avoid buying into) rampant paranoia. Avoid histrionics by trying not to fan the flames of a situation, but rather point out an obvious and unexciting possible explanation for the problem. Repeat... ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                                                              susancinsf Sep 25, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              or, as my husband is fond of reminding me: it is usually a mistake to attribute to others' evil natures, what is truly just cluelessness.... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                              huiray Sep 25, 2011 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              "...in all the discussion about dress and the like."
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think the discussion involved more than just "dress and the like".

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