s/o of sharing tables - do you eat at these types of restaurants?

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Posted 10/5/2012 by aprilfay21 in NSBR Board
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aprilfay21
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Posted: 10/5/2012 10:21:56 AM
Two of our favorite places here have very large, long tables that are meant to be shared by 10-20 people.

Rudy's BBQ and Ragin' Cajun.

Or do you avoid these types of places because of the lack of clear boundaries?




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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:11:48 AM
I've never been to one like that, but if the food is good it wouldn't keep me away.


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kellybelly77
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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:22:36 AM
I love places like that! But then again the Peas would probably hate me because I am a personal space invader.... I am a hugger, a talker and a toucher! I have always been that way.

My cousin started a restaurant in San Fran last year and he put in a couple of community tables in the middle. You just sit down where you can find a spot. I think its a great way to meet people!


Kelly

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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:29:47 AM
We don't always opt for them, but communal/community tables are fairly popular in foodie Portland. Most restaurants that have them also have "regular" tables. It depends on our mood whether we go for a table just for us or a community table. It is a lot of fun to share a meal with new people sometimes

myshelly
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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:31:35 AM
No, I would hate that and it would be enough to make me avoid the restaurant.

I choose restaurants that have high dividers between booths so that I don't have to see or hear anyone else. Or restaurants that have isolated corner booths. I go at off hours (like 3-4pm) to avoid as many people as possible.

I don't like people noises. I don't want to be able to hear other people's conversations or hear them chewing or talk on their cell phones. I hate hearing people cough. I don't like people who don't know how to use an indoor voice. I don't like people with annoying laughs. I don't understand people who let their kids be loud or throw fits in public.




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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:32:52 AM
I would but I have never seen a restaurant like that where I live. Sharing a table with another set of diners would not bother me. It is actually one of my favorite parts about going on cruises.

eebud
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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:33:22 AM
I sometimes go to Hibachi grill restaurants. We are always seated with others.





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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:33:59 AM
I'm more than happy to go to places like this, as long as it suits the type of food being served. If I was going for a posh dinner, I wouldn't like it.


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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:36:13 AM
That doesn't bother me.. we don't avoid them but we don't go out of our way to go there either... I think the only place I have been like that went out of business anyways... We went there several times.. it was more of a place to bring your relatives for fun.



aprilfay21
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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:38:14 AM

I don't like people noises. I don't want to be able to hear other people's conversations or hear them chewing or talk on their cell phones. I hate hearing people cough. I don't like people who don't know how to use an indoor voice. I don't like people with annoying laughs. I don't understand people who let their kids be loud or throw fits in public.
So basically, you don't like people?




This is Texas. We don't have regular seasons here. We have Summer 1, Summer 2, Summer 3 and January.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:39:06 AM

I am a hugger, a talker and a toucher!
There's a cure for that. I'd love to sit at your table! You'd be fun!

And yeah, if there's BBQ which required you to sit at a long table with strangers, I'm FINE with that. Just don't want them to eat MY share!



myshelly
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Posted: 10/5/2012 11:40:44 AM

So basically, you don't like people?


I like quiet people

But I have no desire to meet or interact with strangers in a restaurant.



angievp
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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:31:46 PM
Yes, I would avoid these these types of places without boundaries, and I'm a touchy feely Hispanic/Latina. We are touchy feely with people we know and like, not with strangers.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:39:19 PM
dh would be all over it and I would avoid it.



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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:45:53 PM
I prefer to avoid them. I always seems to get stuck by the screaming child from -.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:50:16 PM
For breakfast and lunch, yes. For dinner, maybe not so much.


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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:51:21 PM
I do not like communal tables.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:51:30 PM
Never even heard of those restaurants.



2boysandwill
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Posted: 10/5/2012 12:56:08 PM
Yeah, sure..why not?

I go to restaurants for food and ambience. If you find yourself analyzing the seating arrangements then it's a sign you shouldn't be there.

myshelly
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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:20:56 PM

I go to restaurants for food and ambience. If you find yourself analyzing the seating arrangements then it's a sign you shouldn't be there.



I don't understand this statement.

You say you go to restaurants for ambience. Seating is part of ambience. How can you decide if you like the ambience if you don't analyze seating?

I analyze everything about eerything and I admit that I don't really "get" people who don't.


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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:27:00 PM
Mmmm..BBQ.



So basically, you don't like people?



I like quiet people

But I have no desire to meet or interact with strangers in a restaurant.



So you don't like people who talk to loud? You wouldn't last a minute with my family. That's if you made it through all the hugs and kisses you would get as soon as you walked through the door.

As long as your not a gross eater you can sit next to me, but if you do one thing that grosses me out you need to leave.


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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:28:27 PM
I don't mind restaurants like that. It's really no different than sitting at a lunch counter somewhere. But, I'm also the kind of person who can strike up a conversation with just about anyone - anywhere.



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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:32:20 PM
One of the most fun meals we've had was in Lancaster, PA at a "family style Amish" restaurant...you sit at long tables with people you don't know and pass all the dishes family style. You don't even get to order as the menu is fixed and you simply take what looks interesting to you on that day.

I am a people person and I would definitely give those places a try. Of course, if it's my wedding anniversary or some other intimate event I may opt to go someplace else but would definitely give it a try for every day dining.


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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:42:54 PM
I love hibachi and sushi bars and never sat by anyone that bothered me.

For some holidays my MIL takes us to a banquet hall for a buffet and we have to sit at long tables with strangers. I like it more private for holidays, even if it's our own table. It feels like we are cattle and we are being herded to the trough when they call the groups in. Otherwise I don't mind those types of restaurants.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:45:13 PM
I would avoid places like this. I like my personal space. And I don't like to have to make small talk with strangers while I'm eating.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 1:47:40 PM

You say you go to restaurants for ambience. Seating is part of ambience. How can you decide if you like the ambience if you don't analyze seating?

I analyze everything about eerything and I admit that I don't really "get" people who don't.


I guess we approach things differently. Admittedly, seating for me is last on the checklist primarily because the food would draw me in first, service next, ambience last.

On occasion, when we decide to dine at a new unfamiliar place, I don't think about anything at all, I just hope to enjoy the food and service. Where and whom I sit with come last because I don't know what to expect until I'm already there. And sitting in a group setting isn't enough to deter me.

My comment about you not going at all was harsh and I apologize. Everyone has that right to check. I'm curious though...do you NOT then do things on a whim? Nothing spur of the moment?

myshelly
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Posted: 10/5/2012 2:15:31 PM

My comment about you not going at all was harsh and I apologize. Everyone has that right to check. I'm curious though...do you NOT then do things on a whim? Nothing spur of the moment?


No, I'm not really a spur of the moment type person. I'm a planner.

If I try a new restaurant I look up the menu online first. If they don't have a website I'll ask for a menu and read it before I get a table. If I can't tell what the seating area is like from the hostess stand I will say something like "I'm meeting a friend, can I go look and see if she's here yet?" Then I'll walk around the dining room to check it out before getting a table. Usually I'll scope things out, pick a table, and then ask for that specific one.

At the restaurants I go to regularly I know the servers and know their schedules/days off. I'll ask for a specific table and a specific server.

Yep, I'm a planner. And a control freak.




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Posted: 10/5/2012 2:24:21 PM
There used to be a Shane's Rib Shack near us that had some tables set up like that. If the food is good enough, I don't have a problem with it. Unfortunately, the quality went down hill and they've closed up shop.






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Posted: 10/5/2012 2:41:38 PM
It's not my favorite kind of seating but I don't mind it. There is this absolutely fabulous restaurant on Michigan Ave. here in Chicago called the "The Purple Pig". Most of the inside tables are long, shared tables. It's not what I would call fine dining in terms of atmosphere but it is definitely upscale food served tapas style. I think the sharing of tables fits with the theme of sharing small plates of awesome food.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 2:46:27 PM
Yes, I'm afraid I do. We have a number of Japanese restaurants in town and they are not my favorite places. We only go to them when it's a group arranged event.

aprilfay21
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Posted: 10/5/2012 3:54:13 PM
Here are pictures of the two places I was referring to. In both places they have a few smaller tables that seat 4 (RC) and picnic tables that seat 2-6 (RBBQ) but they are limited in both places.

Rudy's BBQ



Ragin' Cajun





This is Texas. We don't have regular seasons here. We have Summer 1, Summer 2, Summer 3 and January.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 4:09:01 PM
Communal dining is pretty popular in Portland and definitely isn't limited to only casual restaurants.

A couple good ones:
simpatica dining hall
Sample menu:
1st-Seared Pork Rillettes, Chicories, Chopped Egg and Mustard Vinaigrette
2nd-Grilled Truffle Cheese and Beet Soup with Chive Cream
3rd-Seared Halibut with Caper Brown Butter, Wild Mushrooms, Delicata Squash, Lemon and Tarragon
4th-Peach Leaf Panna Cotta with Stone Fruits

BEAST (Naomi Pomeroy's restaurant, for those familiar with Top Chef Masters)

Sample menu:
celery veloute
corn & pickled mustard seed relish
Pibaleau Cremant de Loire Brut NV
LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE

CHARCUTERIE PLATE:
FOIE-GRAS BON-BON, SAUTERNES GELÉE
CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE, LEAF LARD CRACKER
STEAK TARTARE, QUAIL EGG TOAST
PORK & PISTACHIO PATE
FENNEL CURED SALMON & TETE DE COCHON
WILLI SCHAEFFER ESTATE RIESLING 2009
MOSEL, GERMANY

lava lake lamb loin chop
potato & chive dumplings
chanterelle ragout
fall herb sauce verte
DOMAINE DE DURBAN BEAUMES DE VENISE ROUGE 2011
RHONE VALLEY, FRANCE

heirloom tomatoes
scallop crudo
shellfish & chervil vinaigrette
DOMAINE MAESTRACCI E PROVE ROSE 2011
ISLE OF CORSICA, FRANCE

SELECTION OF CHEESES FROM STEVE AT CHEESE BAR
FIG PRESERVES, CANDIED HAZELNUTS
ANISE SHORTBREAD, WILD FLOWER HONEY
SCHLOSS SAARSTEIN WEISSBURGUNDER 2009
MOSEL, GERMANY

FALL RASPBERRY & BROWN BUTTER TART
MALT ICE CREAM
FRANCIS TANNAHILL PASSITO 2008
COLUMBIA GORGE, WASHINGTON

We've had great meals at both and really enjoyed dining with other people who were also into food. Great conversations and learned about some new restaurants, wines, beers, cooking techniques, etc.. Fun stuff for us.

GiaRenee
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Posted: 10/5/2012 4:13:52 PM
INTJs v. ENFJs....


at any rate - I am a very outgoing person and I can strike up a conversation anywhere.

having said that, I do not prefer these types of establishments. There is something about me wanting my food time to myself (and my companion) (maybe i was a dog in another life?)

Laurel Jean
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Posted: 10/5/2012 4:17:36 PM
Doesn't bother me at all. And I'm an INPF.

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Posted: 10/5/2012 4:20:16 PM
I have been seated at that type of table twice at the original Pancake House.
Both times the person next to me coughed all over the place.
Both times I ended up leaving more than half my Neal uneaten because I was so grossed out
I will never sit like that again


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Posted: 10/5/2012 4:51:40 PM
We eat at the hibachi restaurants and diners with counters and dining hall style restaurants. If it's the food we are going for...not a problem.

If we want a quieter experience in booths with high backs, that's what we choose.

This is just not a worry for us.

I'm one of those people who never meets a stranger.


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Posted: 10/6/2012 4:01:08 AM
I have never heard of or been in a restaurant like that. I wouldn't like it, I'd sit at one of the smaller tables.

I'll sit with a companion at a bar for a drink while waiting for a table, but I wouldn't sit at a bar in a row with other people to actually eat.

I'd eat at a lunch counter (can't remember the last time I saw one though_ if it was at the mall or something and I was there alone shopping and stopped for a bite.

If I'm out dining with someone else though, a friend or dh, I'm not just there for food, I'm there to have conversation and some special one on one time with them. So the idea of a communal table does not work for me.

It wouldn't bother me to have my personal space invaded as it were. I don't mind sitting elbow to elbow at a sporting event, and having the occasional related chit chat with people sitting nearby.

But I wouldn't have any interest in dining and looking up and making constant eye contact with other patrons, or having them initiate conversation, etc. To me it would be a distraction. I prefer a booth when eating out, but need at least a private table.

If I went out for dinner with a companion)s and walked into a place that had only communal seating, I probably wouldn't stay.


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lisabb
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Posted: 10/6/2012 4:12:17 AM

INTJs v. ENFJs....


I did one of these tests for the first time yesterday and I am an INTP, so I'll throw that into the mix.

For the record, I stated earlier in the thread that it wouldn't bother me as long as it suited the style of food being served.


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Posted: 10/6/2012 9:55:16 AM
I sometimes go to Hibachi grill restaurants. We are always seated with others.



We do as well. The particular restaurant we frequent is Ooka. They also offer the option of sitting in a dining if you don't want the Hibachi grill experience.


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Posted: 10/6/2012 10:57:34 AM
I don't think we have any restraunts like that in our area, however, we previously lived near a Rudy's BBQ and would go there sometimes. I didn't really mind the seating too much but we always sat with a bit of space between us and other people. I did always make me feel like we needed to be more careful with our coversations than I would have if we were sitting alone.

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Posted: 10/6/2012 11:11:16 AM
I think I need to take a trip to Oregon!

We go to a small Italian restaurant that's family style with a communal table. There's a byob policy and a separate family area for those with kids. (That area has no communal tables) we really like the atmosphere and it almost feels like family except the nutters are harder to recognize. It's often a hey, pass the salad please kinda place.



crayolamamaa
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Posted: 10/6/2012 12:17:19 PM
I just read a great book by Susan Cain, QUIET. Its interesting to see the reactions to Myshelly. I bet she is an introvert who gets drained by people and rejuvenated by being alone or with a few people at a time. There is nothing wrong with that. It just that its the minority in this country and not understood by many extroverts.

I'm an introvert also. I LOVE people but prefer them in small doses. I love to go out for tea with a few close friends over going to a party with lots of people. I prefer a booth in a restaurant over a long table with people everywhere. I like intimate conversation over small talk and joking around.

I have a dd like me and another who lives for new crowds of people to meet. Its all about acceptance.

As far as the places that provide long tables over booths or individual tables...I don't like them. Our remodeled Starbucks is like that and most people are sitting next to each other on computers. Every other space is unoccupied. Maybe the people on computers like personal space but the designers weren't thinking that way. I know it doesn't have the same artsy vibe it use to have. We still go. Another place that has gone to long tables is this yummy burrito place called Chipoteles. Its uncomfortable for me and I long for a small table for two. The food is the best though so I tolerate it.

GiaRenee
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Posted: 10/6/2012 1:53:44 PM
Yep. My point was different strokes for different folks. Doesn't make it right or wrong if someone prefers the non-communal seating.

And I'm an ENFJ and I really have to be in the mood for a place like that

I dont mind hibachi style, though.
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Posted: 10/6/2012 2:03:26 PM
Or do you avoid these types of places because of the lack of clear boundaries? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I avoid them during busy times. It certainly isn't something that will pull me in as a customer. I might stop in for a very late lunch after the lunch crowd is done but before the dinner crowd is coming in. Or, more likely, I 'll pick another place where I don't have to think about how crowded they might be.


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Posted: 10/6/2012 2:23:51 PM
I have never been to a restaurant with a communal table ... I'd be fine with it though

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Posted: 10/6/2012 2:37:27 PM
Busypea - we love Portland and communal dining! We had one of the most fun meals at Le Pigeon because of out tablemates. We ended up trying each others food and even became friends on Yelp.

We wanted the same type of experience at Beast, but no one really interacted with us at our table. Communal dining can be hit or miss sometimes.

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Posted: 10/6/2012 2:49:07 PM
I think it would be fun once in a while, esp if the food is really good.

However I'd have to be in the mood for it. I'm an extremely shy introvert and can only handle crowded and loud places once in a while if I'm in a really good mood, well rested (I struggle with insomnia) etc. Talking to strangers is really difficult and loud noise for any length of time makes my head feel funny. It doesn't give me a headache exactly, I just feel overwhelmed, everything I hear starts to blur into one big noise and I can't think etc.

But I like the idea of it and wish I could handle crowds and interacting with strangers because it could be fun for many I'm sure.

Funnily enough my dh is much more extroverted but he hates the idea of a place like this. I want to try a Japanese restaurant but he hates the idea of sitting with strangers. He doesn't mind the noise or crowds, or even talking to people he doesn't know. But he's easily grossed out by people's eating and drinking noises and habits lol.


Laurie

Mom to Lia Grace age 13

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Steph (D)Rebel
I'm what the *buzz* is all about!

PeaNut 69,964
February 2003
Posts: 21,132
Layouts: 213
Loc: South Centralish Ohio

Posted: 10/6/2012 2:56:48 PM
I LOVE it- it's so much fun to meet new people.

We don't go to restaurants a lot during the summer/fall but we hit a lot of festivals, fish fry events, fundraiser dinners, etc and most of the time it's long tables.

"Seats taken? How are y'all doing today? " makes me seriously happy




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busypea
boring + nerdy

PeaNut 52,817
October 2002
Posts: 27,974
Layouts: 145
Loc: Oregon

Posted: 10/6/2012 4:02:36 PM
We wanted the same type of experience at Beast, but no one really interacted with us at our table. Communal dining can be hit or miss sometimes.
******

You know, I was wondering if that had changed after she got more nationally known and likely has more tourist traffic than she used to. That makes me sad to hear that people didn't interact.


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maryannscraps
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 75,215
March 2003
Posts: 7,548
Layouts: 2
Loc: massachusetts

Posted: 10/6/2012 6:08:54 PM
If I was by myself, it would be fun. With DH, not so much. He's really hard of hearing, so we always fuss around about the seating so we can actually have a conversation. Communal tables wouldn't work at all for us. Actually, noisy restaurants don't work at all for us either.
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