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California Restaurant Stories

We recently moved from NYC to California and noticed a difference in the way California restaurants present themselves. I can’t avoid sounding like a snob by saying this, but there’s a high standard for restaurants in NYC. It’s much harder to survive as a business.

  • We walk into an Indian restaurant the decor is nice but there is only one employee visible. He is watching a movie on his iPad with earbuds plugged in. Sitting down not too far from us and not giving us much attention. My wife says “hi” he replies, “I’m on break!”
  • A pizza shop has its doors open at around 10:30 AM. There was one woman behind the bar, another man is cleaning glasses. There are so far no customers there. After a couple looks from them, but no greeting, my wife asks, “can we see a menu?” The man simply responds, “we’re closed.” My wife responds again “I know. Can we see a menu?” The bartender takes a single page plastic laminated menu and throws it over the bar for us to see.
  • My wife goes to dinner with several of her colleagues and her boss. There are about six of them or more. Several of them order steak which arrives very rare and has to be sent back. One of them asks, “why didn’t you ask how we wanted our steak?” The waiter responds, “we don’t ask for parties of this size.”
  • A group of about five of us go to a white tablecloth restaurant. We order lots of food and wine. It’s about 9 PM now and we don’t see a lot of other customers in the restaurant. Then this guy keeps coming over to the bar which is nearby our table and is seemingly doing things just to make loud noises. It becomes hard to hear each other. After mixing a margarita or something with a lot of ice and noisy things in it not too far from our table, he finally mustered up the courage to come over to our table and just tell us, “hey guys. Sorry. We’re closed now.” It was about 9:30 PM