Communal tables

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by shroomgirl, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    For the past couple of months I've been reading about restaurants that have communal tables...now it's not exactly new. There were several back in the 70's, I was in Santa Fe in May and one of the main restaurants has a big 10-12 top that's communal.

    Anyway it's become trendy again. What are your thoughts? I think it's a wonderful way to use space as well as have a community feel....for a median priced restaurant it makes alot of sense.
     
  2. blueschef

    blueschef

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    I think it is great! Although it is probably stressfull for people who are not to extroverted! Paul Prudehomme did it when he first opened K-Pauls (and closed on weekends and for Mardi gras!).
     
  3. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    oh I remember that....you know after living down there for so many years I never did eat at K Pauls.....now I did have his food at events (there was a wonderful one in the Spring in the Qtr.), and I did go to his sister's place in Opelousa....once stood in line for a little while......but there were so many places to eat and I had most of Chef Paul's cookbooks.....just not into lines I guess.

    I'd rather sit at a communal table than at a bar unless of course I know the bartender or as in one of my fav places the kitchen is open to the bar and I get to talk to the chef/owner during the lulls.
     
  4. andrew563

    andrew563

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    what is a communal table?
     
  5. markv

    markv

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    Andrew:

    If I'm correct, I assume Shroomgirl means a restaurant that has large tables, let's say a table for 8, and will put two parties of 4 at the same table.

    Restaurant mangers love this idea because it's efficient. IF, (and this a big if), the guests will agree you minimize the number of empty seats.

    However, there are plenty of people who do not wish to share their dining experience with others. I think it's fair to say that most people dining out would prefer the privacy of their own table as opposed to having to share it with strangers, be more self-concscious, make small talk, feel inhibited to discuss intimate things with their own friends/family, etc. etc. etc.

    Mark
     
  6. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    well, sort of.....actually there's a communal table in Santa Fe (now was it Pink Adobe ?) seated 10-12...many of us were 2 or 3....it turned more often obviously and we met some wonderful people and talked about what those before us had ordered and what was special.
    There are new restaurants in the NW that are strictly communal tables, they are hitting the industry magazines.....a restaurant Cochon in NO that was developed by the chef at Spicers place in the CBD, Herbsaint, was communal seating.....Katrina has messed up opening. What a wonderful concept, a pig restaurant in NO, it'll be a hit I'm sure.

    So, the young 30ish restaurant owners that are being called hip and novel are starting to open restaurants with communal tables. Thus this thread.
     
  7. blueschef

    blueschef

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    I love Pauls cooking and he was one of my big insperations (one **** of a nice guy too). His books are great as well. Well my opnion of Communal seating is, as long at the customer knows it before comming through the door it is fine. I have always felt when eating (and drinking) the more the marryer! Just stay away from politics and religion, as a matter of fact just stick to food and drinking conversation. Sometimes people need to lighten up a bit. this is a bit off topic but I remember reading an interview with some chef that will give odd numbers of peices of food to "play" with the guest and make it so there was 1 or 2 peices of something left on am app plate, just for fun.
    Tom
     
  8. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Several restaurants have both.....a communal table for a packed place just makes sense....you don't have a single or dbl taking up more space than they need...there's always the optional wait for a two top, and if you're on a date it maybe worth the wait....but having the option is nice.
     
  9. panini

    panini

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    For myself NO!
    We have a long time neighborhood place where our shop is located that seats 10-14. each table with maybe 140 max.The food is home style, and fabulous. Years ago we probably ate there at least once a week. The joint was always jammin! and full! but with little wait for there were very few empty seats.
    I know I'm going to sound like an old grouch(probably true!) but over the last 4-5 years it seems to have become a place where the yuppie families gather and feel that it is not necessary to watch over their children. They just chat while the little ones are bouncing off the walls.
    I know this sounds stupid, but if your eating and their are little ones crawling under the table, well. I think the last time I was there I came home with mashed potatoes on the calves of my jeans. And the parents think this is sooo cute.
    anyway, I think it affected the growth of the restaurant because the owner bought a house along side and has take out. I still stop by for the smothered pork chops. I think the take out does more then the rest.
    This is just one place, I know.
    pan
     
  10. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    in that case it grow old quickly......seems like the places that I've been to recently don't cater to the small children set.....I think alot of yuppies and their puppies go for chains because they are more apt to have kid menus, kiddy entertainment (crayons, color sheets) than independants. Hmph, kinda funny to realize the small child aspect.....
    I tend to eat later than small kids too.
     
  11. markv

    markv

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    OK, I know I'm running the risk of being chased by an outraged crowd with torches but here goes...............

    NOTHING is worse than kids in a restaurant. The servers hate them because they add more work with disproportionately less tip. Similarly, they are more work for the bus boys as well.

    The cooks hate them (at least at the restaurants I've worked), because kiddie menus, (and the special requests about the kiddie food from the parents) are a pain in the ***.

    The other patrons hate them because they're making noise and are disruptive.

    And the hostess is no fan because he/she has to track down high chairs, kiddie seats, etc.

    Mark
     
  12. panini

    panini

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    The place I was refering to was exposed as the family place. Which was true.
    The old fart, A. Bunker here. I think it's generational. My 14 yr old has been out to eat with us since infancy. He now enjoys a myriad of menues.
    I just feel that the new parenting has led these younger families to rely on the institutions for babysitting their children. From schools, restaurants, Church etc. EDITH!!!
    heck, in my day, before I could eat, my parents would shove a bread stick into my mouth. As with my kid,If it went on the floor, I was lifted out of the chair to pick it up and put it in a napkin.

    had to add this, crazy day yesterday, VD. Took the crew out to eat. We watched a young mom give her baby some saltines out of those little packages. Well, it was on the floor in an instant. She opened another, only to have the same thing happer. Well this went on and on and she even requested more crackers. It seemed like two moms yapping and one kiddo. The mess was incredible. They up and left like it was nothing. I was pleased to hear the younger ones in our group, trash this bit-h, as they put it.
     
  13. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    not sure when discipline became a bad word.....probably when cooking left the home kitchen.

    Trully sad that other's poor behavior would affect dining out.....from all the people around not just other guests.

    I've seen other threads on different sites flame abhorrent children in restaurants....interesting responses. You almost want to send alittle note to their table buying them a "vowel"....honey grab a clue your child is trashing the place and your enabling him, here's an upcharge to take care of your cleaning bill.
     
  14. blueschef

    blueschef

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    Ahhh, the days when if you were young and you did something stupid and got caught by another adult, who called your mom, who whooped your but, and when your dad got home you got it worse. We were brought up to respect others and ESPICALLY other adults, yes mam, no thank you, yes sir and if you did not do that, well ............ LOL you knew what was comming. Parents need to parent the kids, and stop blameing everyone else for there kids problems or misbehavior.
    Personaly I do that today, it is nice and it makes everyone feel good. Although I am also the rare one who holds the door for people, helps them if they are stuck on the road, helps them with there groceries in there car, etc. As a chef I do not tolerate any conflict with the front of the house and back of the house, we are here for one thing, regardless of the "style" of restaraunt, to take care of the customer (and to keep them comming back to spend money), everyone MUST keep that goal in mind.
    As far as "kid friendly" restauraunts, hey if they keep the business going cool, however, yes parents need to keep there kids in line and make tem act right.
    If you bring your kids to a "nice" restauraunt you tel them they need to act like young adults. If they act up, do what my parents did put you in the car (after whooping you and embarasing you in front of everyone in the place) till they are done. I think it is nice to see a young person in a "nice" restauraunt acting like a young adult. It gives me hope for the future!
     
  15. panini

    panini

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