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Central Standard

Food Critics: Restaurant Etiquette


Coming up on Central Standard Friday, host Charles Ferruzza and the Food Critics offer up a lesson in dining etiquette – from what to do with your cell phone, to how to eat BBQ with your boss.

This topic was inspired an e-mail we received from listener Mak (thanks!) who wrote us with this question:

I was born in a different country. After a few years listening to your program, I'd like to learn more about restaurant etiquette for a trip to a local BBQ joint or Lidia's cafe. Maybe learn how it is done in America.

This week's panel includes host Charles Ferruzza, of The Pitch and Fat City Blog, Chris Becicka, of Ingram's Magazine, Emily Farris, of Feed Me KC, and Gloria Gale, of 435 South Magazine.


Fresh made margaritas. Lines out the door. Can feed you for two meals.

Remedy Food + Drink (500 W. 75th St., Waldo)
Fresh food. Very pretty. Delish. Emily recommends the eggplant fries, but Charles found them very salty. Not soggy. Lightly battered, with honey at the bottom. Emily says this is the "best preparation of eggplant I've ever had." She enjoyed the pork shoulder - says it's like a steak and fell of her fork. Amazing. Charles was surprised by how much he enjoyed their cauliflower steak. They will be serving brunch in  few more weeks.

Very fun place. The pork thai chili kiefer lime is actually spicy! Also enjoyed the rabbit sausage. Buns from farm to market, and sausage from Alex Pope at the Local Pig. Piles of handcut fries.

Los Alamos Market (1667 Summit, KCMO)
The owner has shortened the bodega aisles and expanded their taco service. Good food! Staff was friendly. Perfect for lunch. They sell wine and beer but you can’t buy it for your table. Fresh tasty food.

The Chesterfield Bar in the Alamo Drafthouse (1400 Main Street, KCMO)
Handcrafted cocktails. Great atmosphere. Pitch review.

Little Freshie (811 West 17th Street, KCMO)
Gloria checked it out and says there were lines out the door! A refreshing place to go.

Chez Elle (1713 Summit Street, KCMO)
Great events for writers and artists.

Fortune Wok and Sushi (14537 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS)
Big and delicious. Has everything you’d ever want on the menu.

Pachamamas (800 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence, KS)
Delicious and beautiful.

Etiquette Tips:

For ribs, you should pick them up and eat them with your hands.

Keep your cell phone off the table. This sends a bad message to your companions.

If a restaurant is too dark to read the menu, you can take out your phone and use it like a flash light.

Tipping! For regular service tip at least 20%. At a coffee shop, if the barista pulls a shot for you should tip about a dollar. If you order carryout, you should still tip about 10% for the person who packaged your food.

If you make special requests of the server of kitchen, you should tip a bit more.

When dining with someone who’s a horrible tipper, you should try to slip cash to the server under your water glass, or after your company leaves. But you probably shouldn't start a family feud over this, especially if your relatives treated.

You shouldn’t linger too long on a Friday or Saturday night. If you do stay for a while, think of it like renting the table and tip extra.

If the kitchen is closing in under an hour, it’s ok to still go in and order food. If you are the last table, you should try to tip 30% or more.

If you’re dining partner is rude to servers, you shouldn’t go out with that friend anymore.

If you’re ordering a couple pizzas, you can just tip a couple bucks.

If there’s no tip jar, you can still put it in the server’s hand.

Pet Peevs of Reviewers:

When server addresses the table as “we” – as in, “What are we ordering tonight?”

When people can’t spell on menus or websites. For example, Emily points out that martinis are not possessive!

Bad bathrooms. Charles says if the restroom is dirty then the kitchen will be too.

When cleaning equipment is left out.

When the restaurant reeks of cleaning solution.

You should order a steak the way the chef recommends, unless you're at the Golden Corral.

Servers should share the price of the specials when they describe them.

An over-attentive server is almost as bad as not enough service.

Pet Peevs of Listeners:

Shared plate charges.

Loud muzak.

Menus with pictures of food.

When the waiter’s fingers or their water pitcher touches the edge of your glass.

Utensils should be brought out in a napkin.

When you put a $20 bill out on an $8 tab and the server asks, “Do you need change?”

Being asked “Are you still working on it?” Sounds like you’re working construction instead of enjoying a meal.

When the server asks “Is everything tasting alright,” as if nothing else about dining matters.

When the waiter gets down eye-level with the table.