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September 12, 2011 at 8:36 AM

The Ten Commandments of restaurant behavior, redux

I’m away from the blog again this week working on the fall dining guide. The following column, written in 2005 — with professional commentary from some of the city’s restaurant managers — offers advice that still stands today. Have something to add? Feel free. The comments box is open for business.

When it comes to bad behavior in restaurants, I’ve seen and heard it all — from restaurant patrons as well as those they’ve patronized.

One incredulous reader wrote in dismay after a waitress at a neighborhood sushi bar screamed “Shut up!” to an otherwise well-behaved toddler. The child’s sole offense? Making a joyful noise from the comfort of her high-chair. Then there was the restaurateur who called at wits’ end, citing an egregious example of table-hogging: a woman who came and went in the course of her stay, running personal errands while a pal held “their” table for hours, oblivious to customers who stood waiting, and waiting, for their reservations to be honored.

As a critic, I acknowledge that there are three sides to every story: the patron’s, the restaurant’s and the truth. But as a former waitress, I’m inclined to wag my finger at those who’ve taken the “hospitality business” hostage and beg: “Oh, behave!” To that end, I offer this list of common courtesies that should help make dining out a more civilized endeavor for everyone involved. [Read the column in full, and that list, here].

[Seattle Times illustration/Paul Schmid]

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