NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Planning on dining out? You might need to keep your cell phone tucked away at some spots.
Some restaurant owners are losing their appetite for customers who don’t disconnect during dinner. Especially in a city where people are seemingly addicted to talking and texting, some eateries are requesting diners put down the phone and focus on the person or people in front of you.
John Winterman of Bâtard in TriBeCa was so frustrated by the behavior, he wrote a tongue-in-cheek Facebook post saying he’s beginning to feel it’s his duty to grab people by the scruff if their neck and introduce them to their dining companions.
“You walk by a table and there’s somebody playing a video game,” Winterman told CBS2. “Or people made a note they’re celebrating their anniversary and you barely see them speak to each other over the course of the two and a half hour dinner.”
The post reflects more of an observation than a rule at the chic spot for European cuisine, but the owner of Il Triangolo Ristorante in Queens makes no bones about his hardline ban.
“No cell phones on the table, at dinner, everyone talks,” Mario Gigliotti said. “This is my home, and when you come into my home that’s how we run our restaurant.”
Gigliotti admits his policy has rubbed some people the wrong way, but one Tuesday night table of five adored the more intimate atmosphere.
“By having the phone in my bag I know I’m with the people I’m talking to, and speaking to them and being more present in the moment,” Kew Gardens resident Mary Cannone Scott said.
Important calls or texts from the babysitter or boss will of course come up, but most restaurant owners say especially in a fine dining situation there’s rarely a case where you can’t excuse yourself and use your phone outside.
Still, there are some who continue to defend using their devices while dining. To them, the owners say just remember to connect with the people in your company.