The 10 Most Annoying Restaurant Trends, we’ve decided to give you the latest batch of restaurant-world developments that really get under our skin. Which one of these irks you the most? Get ready to hit the comment button to chime in with your thoughts.
1. Dogs in Cafes/Outdoor Restaurants
Sometime during the early aughts, toting around your dog in your purse became acceptable social behavior (along with texting during dinner and talking about Twilight). As a result, it seems more and more restaurants started bending health code rules to please overly entitled "pooch pushers" who insist on dragging their smelly mutts around with them 24/7. Don't get us wrong, we love animals, we just don't need to eat dinner next to them. Still not convinced that this trend has gone too far? There are restaurants now offering doggy menus. (We rest our case.)
2. Tables Ridiculously Close Together
Unless you have a 22-in. waist à la Lara Flynn Boyle, squeezing out of your seat is nigh impossible in most restaurants these days. We appreciate that eateries are often dealing with high rents, tiny spaces and a need to squeeze as many seats into a space as possible - but seriously, guys, could we space the tables out a little here? Not to mention that if restaurants want to keep their glassware intact, putting tables four inches apart may not be the best move - it’s almost impossible to get out from a banquette without knocking over the next table’s entire place setting in the process.
3. Overzealous Wine Pouring
If there’s one thing we definitely don’t need help with, it’s pouring our own alcohol. We hate when servers are constantly topping off our glasses (clearly in an effort to sell more booze) when they’re already mostly full - leaving our wine/beer to get warm and stale in the process.
4. Designer Ice
While bigger, fewer ice cubes help keep drinks cool without watering them down, we're really not a fan of those giant ice blocks that knock against our teeth as we’re sipping. Also note to restaurants - no one needs an ice cube in the shape of a dodecahedron.
5. Enormous Wine Glasses
What’s with the humongo glasses? We realize a bigger glass makes for tastier wine, blah blah blah, but when the table is barely 12 in. across, those gigantic wine glasses leave little room for the more important stuff - the food! Plus, using bigger glasses makes the wine pours looks smaller, which can’t be a good thing in terms of pleasing customers.
6. Ketchup Snobbery
We don’t care if your homemade ketchup was hand-squished from eight different types of artisanal heirloom tomatoes. With a burger and fries, just give us good old-fashioned Heinz. "A" for effort, guys, but we cringe hearing things like this: “Oh, we don’t have ketchup but we do have our homemade organic red pepper jam.” Um, no. We also hate when a restaurant is too snobby to provide regular ketchup at all! Meanwhile they're serving burgers, fries and other commonly ketchup-ed items. Lame.
7. Sparkling, Flat or Filtered Tap?
Is this a trick question? We realize that the dreaded water question must be asked - but seriously, there’s gotta be a better way to phrase it, because restaurants that make their servers say this seem to be trying to trick their customers into ordering a pricey bottle of water. If we want bottled water, we know how to ask for it.
8. Unisex Restrooms
Restaurants with unisex bathrooms are just asking for a lawsuit (or some raunchy bathroom situations at the very least). It’s one thing if it’s a unisex, single room kind of situation, but personally it really weirds us out when we’re doing our business in the stall and we see a member of the opposite sex washing their hands just outside. Awkward!
9. Excessive Punctuation/Lower-Case Letters in Restaurant Names, Menu Items
Wh.at is up wi.th all the pe.ri.ods? When you’re trying to look up a restaurant name that happens to have a few extra periods thrown in, the excessive punctuation can make it a little bit tricky. Also, when restaurants type up their menus in all lower-case (often with a period after each price), do they think it makes the cost seem more reasonable? Let’s face it, guys, you’re not fooling anyone. Period.
10. Wood-Infused Food
Lately "wood" is having its moment in the spotlight as some rustic New American restaurants are offering dishes prepare using various "wood infusions," some going as far as to spotlight a different type of wood each day. Interesting idea, but in reality the food comes out half-cooked and smelling like a humidor.