Shut Up And Eat: New York Restaurant Bars Conversation By Patrons

220px-MahavratasIt seems that restaurants are struggling to find any novel fad to gain recognition but this one has been baffled.  People get together with friends for a Friday night dinner and they go to Brooklyn’s “Eat” restaurant where they are promptly told that they must eat their meal in silence.  Could be a bit rough on a first date.

However, it would be perfect for estranged or hostile couples.

“Eat” restaurant chef Nicholas Nauman is quoted as saying (presumably not in his restaurant) that he was inspired to ban talking after spending time with Buddhist monks in India. He might have needed a little more time with the monks who would have asked him if he was planning an ashram or an eatery. Nauman insists however that silence will allow people to focus on the food. It is an incredible food-centric (if not ego-centric) view since most people view the dining experience as being to interact with other people and not just their dishes. Indeed, some people like to talk about the meal. I am not clear how one orders but I assume pointing and grunting is allowed for the $40 cost for 4 courses.

I assume that, with a smoking area outside, there will be a conversation area where you can take your date to say that you are having a really good time.

The biggest problem however is that the restaurant can hardly rely on the usual “word of mouth” to attract customers, at least not in the restaurant itself.

27 thoughts on “Shut Up And Eat: New York Restaurant Bars Conversation By Patrons”

  1. dredd i thank you for laugh. today was a particularly hard day after the chemo treatment and i came here to read the articles and of course the comments and though i smiled at others. yours made me laugh out loud.

  2. I really don’t see an issue. There are many types of restaurants, with many specialties. As leejcaroll said, some blindfold customers. Some go so far as chaining customers and treating them like convicts. Why not a non-speaking restaurant? If you are not interested in a quiet meal, just don’t go…

  3. considering how much some people text, i don’t believe it will make much difference.

    and how do you call your waiter, hold up your hand and snap your fingers.

    with all the patrons texting constantly and snapping their fingers to be noticed maybe they should just change the name to “douche”.

  4. I hope the restaurant survives, it would be a good place to hold “negotiations” with John “Agent Orange” Boehner.

  5. Stupid is as stupid does. As suggested by Gene, this establishment will soon be a tattoo parlor!

  6. If this group ever gets together for a meal[Vegas has odds @ 10,000,000-1], this place would be my choice.

  7. Wonder what their rule is on rude body noises. How about cell phones ringing? I am pretty sure my daughter’s ringtone for me would get her thrown out.

  8. Tony,

    I was being generous. I was actually thinking 6-8 months. That and I figured since I was talking about them in the first place, I had better say something nice-ish or I wouldn’t get any pudding.

  9. Um, what is the penalty for actually talking?

    Can I eat, start talking, and get kicked out of the restaurant without paying my bill? Sounds like a plan…

    Can I use sign language?

    Can I pass notes at the table, or text my dinner date?

  10. Sounds like a variant on the restaurants that have the blind nights where customers get a blindfold and eat without being able to see the food.

  11. I don’t get it … Gene has a deep understanding of Buddhism and he talks all the time. :mrgreen:

  12. The article says it is only offered a few times a month. And it got media sounds like the owner is a good PR person.

  13. The lack of conversation wouldn’t be a problem, it means you don’t hear people who talk with their mouths full, smacking and snorting. But it does mean there’s no ambient sounds covering up the open-mouthed eaters, who are equally disgusting. I wonder how they feel about headphones and MP3 players.

    It might work if it were an old-style diner with stools and booths, where most people go to eat lunch alone. But as tables with “fine dining”? Not so much.

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