I'm sure I'll be disappointing more people with the title of this post. I feel bad for the people who come to my blog via various search terms like "girls fistfighting" or "picture of someone freaking out with a knife" or any other search term that doesn't really relate to what I write about. OK, maybe someone freaking out with a knife does fit. Just depends when you catch me.
Anyway, this isn't about three Bush-bashing, fiddle-toting, banjo-picking gals but about one of our greatest assets and at times biggest drawback. Our dining room is huge. On sleepy winter nights it can feel pretty lonely. But it's the space we've got. We have one wall of south facing windows and one wall of east facing windows, both of which look over main streets in our town. The way the space is set up we can't block off part of the dining room without losing the curb appeal of diners sitting in the windows, which brings other diners in.
The building is a gorgeous old Craftsman with redwood you will never see again in your lifetime. Pure heart timbers, approaching 100 years old. Our floor is quarter inch old growth madrone, a wood no one even mills any more because of the difficulty and expense involved. Under that is 2 X 6 redwood decking and under that 6 X 6 redwood tongue and groove. The ceilings soar and when the sun goes down the whole room is a golden glow.
But all this space has its price. First, we always have to more staff than is really practical, because it's a long haul from the kitchen to our east facing windows, which are of course, perceived as the most desirable tables. Second, it makes some people uncomfortable. Rather than seeing the space as majestic and grand (which is how I look at it), they see it as one diner commented tonight via our comment card, as "empty and vacuous". Never mind the incorrect use of the word. Our listing in Zagat describes us as "cavernous". Same idea. Caverns are underground, we're upstairs. I'd say cathedral-like would be more appropriate.
You thinks the chef doth protest too much? Perhaps, because it's something we can't do anything about and wasn't our "choice" to begin with. It was our choice in that we opened a restaurant in it, but the space was there long before us. I can understand an underpopulated place making people uncomfortable. But I'd rather have a little room (or in our case a lot of room) in between tables rather than having the waiter's ass cheek resting on my table while he's taking an order at the next table (which happened at Chapeau).
It's all in perception. The best solution would be for us to become so busy we have to add tables.