Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Apr 1, 2014 01:03 PM

Would you eat sans bathroom?

The thread on unisex bathrooms made me think of a frustration I have; as a woman with a weak bladder, I almost never eat anywhere without a bathroom. There have been a few not so fun occasions when I didn't think to ask and I had go restaurant to restaurant for several blocks looking for a place to go while I left my friends by themselves. I can understand restaurants, especially small ones, turning away non paying customers, but if you're sitting in, do you think they should let you use their bathroom? Somehow I doubt the workers are running across the street on their breaks:)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. finding a public restroom these days anywhere is nearly impossible. a fast food joint with 4 seats in the house or a take out joint without any seats should be required to offer a clean restroom for the general public, not just for customers.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gastronomos

      So that when I'm eating somewhere I would be required to see and hear Mr. and Mrs. General Public and their squalling brood tromping by my table just so they can use the restroom? I don't think so. For customers, yes, for the general public no.

      1. re: Gastronomos

        Why? A restaurant has a right to reserve their restrooms for paying customers.

        That being said, I only eat in a restaurant that has working and relatively clean bathrooms

        1. re: Gastronomos

          Let's compromise on this issue, I do NOT feel small fast food places or take out joints should be required to offer clean rest rooms to the public. However I would say, landlords or commercial property owners, should have an obligation to provide public rest rooms in their buildings. If the location of the bathroom is in a space occupied by a small take out restaurant, the sq foot should not be chargeable from landlord to tenant. The tenant then opens the bathroom to the public. Don't squeeze the lil man.

          How's that?

        2. Where street food reigns, yes.

          Actually, I need a sink more often, and in East Asia I haven't had a problem finding one. Now, locating soap...

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. Not if it's a dine-in place. I need to be able to wash my hands. I guess I could always bring the purel with me...

              1. Don't all restaurants or eating establishments have bathrooms? Isn't it absolutely unsanitary to not have one? Besides the weak bladder scenario, what about just needing to wash your hands? I imagine it's illegal to have a resto without a bathroom.

                11 Replies
                1. re: Wawsanham

                  At least in VA, a sit down restaurant has to have a customer bathroom to operate. I assume it's the same for all states, but I can only speak to VA with certainty.

                    1. re: NicoleFriedman

                      NYC law sez:

                      "All food service establishments with a seating capacity of 20 or more except those in operation on or before December 5, 1977 must provide appropriately identified and maintained toilet facilities for their patrons. Employee toilet facilities may be used by patrons only if they do not pass through a food preparation or utensil washing area to access them and there are separate facilities for each sex."

                      I've been in a fair number restaurants that don't obey the second sentence, but I don't think I've ever seen a place with 20+ seats that had no bathroom at all. You have?

                      1. re: jeanmarieok

                        Boston is like New York....very small or old restaurants are grandfathered. I try to avoid those restaurants for this very reason.

                      2. re: Wawsanham

                        Where I live, if there are seats there has to be a bathroom by law. If I really need one I am more than happy to buy something for the privilege. Toilet paper and soap don't come free!

                        1. re: Wawsanham

                          Less than a certain number of seats allows them to avoid having a restroom for the public/customers

                          1. re: Gastronomos

                            <having a restroom for the public/customers>

                            But the public isn't a customer. No…
                            Don't agree that a restaurant has an obligation to take care of the public. I've been in restaurants where it's 'customers only' and the non customer is properly vetted by the establishment…no problem with that.
                            Maintaining a restroom for the customer is difficult enough let alone the entire non customer population.

                          2. re: Wawsanham

                            They are required to have bathrooms available for the STAFF but they are not required to have them for customers.

                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                              Here are the regulations in my county:

                              Toilet facilities shall be easily accessible from the interior of the establishment.

                              Toilets shall be provided to patrons where on-premises food consumption is provided.

                              Patrons may not gain access to toilets by passing through food preparation, food storage, or utensil washing areas.

                              Toilets must be mechanically vented, have sinks with mixing valves, dispensed soap, hand-drying facilities and self-closing doors.

                              (Note: It would be advisable to plan for patron toilet(s) if
                              considering applying for future on-premise food consumption.)

                              It's a pretty big decision when you're opening a brand new, little take out joint, whether to pop in a table or two.

                            2. re: Wawsanham

                              Some are grandfathered in so they don't have to provide restrooms.