Restaurant Etiquette

While I am passionate about counseling, I’m also passionate about food. I’m looking forward to honing my skills this summer as cooking over a coal-fired grill takes practice. If I’m not eating at home, I’m out someplace. I enjoy the chains but also local eateries that offer something different. If you’re on Facebook, check out my restaurant reviews. If you love food, follow my lead and you can’t miss, but if the smell of blackened red snapper turns your stomach, don’t listen to me. While writing this I actually made reservations at one of my favorite stops. Malita and I will be going there with two very dear friends on June 26.

I suppose my love for restaurants started with my grandfather, a.k.a. Big-Daddy. Every time mom, dad, and myself visited him and Weezy, we would pile into the Park Avenue, then head to Bonanza, The Hungry Fisherman, or even all the way up from Antioch to the Catfish House in Springfield. Big-Daddy was serious about his catfish. I always remember having a good time with him, even when the service was bad which wasn’t too often. Big-Daddy frequented the same places and was a good tipper. At least he thought so.

A meal out with family and friends can be the rejuvenation your life needs. In the movie, Kate & Leopold, Hugh Jackman’s character said, “Where I come from, a meal is the result of reflection and study. It’s said without the culinary arts, the crudeness of reality would be unbearable. Life is not solely composed of tasks, but tastes. “ There’s nothing like food to slow the hectic pace of our lives down. I learned this with Big-Daddy and three trips to the sundae bar at Bonanza and I still practice it today as I enjoyed a marvelous breakfast with my wife this morning.

A meal in a public place can also be dreadful, as snippy customers demand a spotless fork, light-speed service, and mind-reading capabilities from the manager. I don’t care how good the steak is or even if the breadbasket is endless, a person like this in your party can ruin an otherwise decent meal. Here are some tips to make your dinner worth every moment.

  1. Don’t be the person I described in the last paragraph.
  2. Remember your waiter’s name and use it when you need something. He may have just left your table and you realized you did need something. Calling his name is very effective in getting better service because everyone likes to hear the sound of his/her own name. “More tea, sir?”
  3. Give the young, obviously pregnant, waitress a break. She’s doing the best she can and the others are too. You don’t know their story or what they’re dealing with right now and it could be tons more important than whether or not you wanted seasoned or crinkle fries.
  4. That being said, I have seen very few examples of true incompetence in a restaurant. Most all servers want to do a good job and unless it’s obvious that they’re not trying, be patient. If you’re in a hurry, you should have went to McDonald’s.
  5. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Request a special table or some places will have roses waiting for you by request (and payment of course). Many will do their very best to accommodate you. Especially at privately owned establishments, where their reputation is everything, they want you to be totally satisfied. If something doesn’t taste good, tell them. At one such location the waiter suggested blueberry cake for dessert. Well, I wanted bread pudding. Big mistake. I told the waiter it wasn’t good and he graciously brought me the blueberry cake. In reference to number 4, our server did a stupendous job and got an even better tip for going the extra mile.
I don’t know why anyone would make an effort to destroy a meal, but hopefully these tips will help you eat well and have a good time doing it.