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Dining Out On Valentine's Day? I Have Reservations

I typically avoid giving out romantic advice. However as Valentine's Day approaches, I feel compelled to ask you to consider staying at home and ordering a nice romantic dinner from Table Manners.

I'm not necessarily anti Valentine's Day and I'm certainly pro local restaurant but for the love of Stanley Tucci, stay home and avoid the restaurant hype on Valentine's Day.

Trust me, I'm a professional. I have worked and served and cooked enough dinner services on February 14th to know of what I speak. First of all, there are the other diners. On Valentine’s Day, restaurants are filled with once-a-year romantics forcing themselves to have a good time, packed in cheek by jowl at tables that barely fit the space. What you intended as a romantic dinner ends up feeling more like trying to eat on the Green line at rush hour. And make no mistake: a room full of couples does not make for a lively atmosphere. Put six friends around a table and you have a gregarious hum of conversation and laughter. Put three couples at separate tables and you create a soundtrack of embarrassed whispers and uneasy enjoyment – hardly the language of love.

Then, of course, there’s the food. Even decent restaurants underperform on Valentine’s Day. On the ‘special menu’, designed to cause the kitchen minimum inconvenience, you can expect the regulation ‘aphrodisiacs’: Oysters, Chocolate, Steak (nothing makes me feel more amorous than housing a 45 ounce Tomahawk) and of course strawberries. Never mind that strawberries in February could hardly be more out of season. Are strawberries in winter really what we want to use to symbolize our love? red, heart-shaped, tasteless and a little bit sad?

And did I mention the price? It’s redonkulously high. Valentine’s Day is a cash cow for restaurants in the dark days of winter and you can’t blame them for milking it. But the truth is, that ‘free’ glass of pink fizz and scattering of petals on the table cost you more than they cost them.

It’s all delivered with, at best, a mild air of panic and, at worse, a discontented scowl. The staff don’t want to be there. They’d much rather be at home with the one they love or out with their mates. They’re stressed because a restaurant full of couples all wanting to eat at the same time plays havoc with service. The staff are also peeved because there are more complaints than usual – partly because Valentine’s Day comes with unrealistic expectations of a perfect evening that few restaurants could ever deliver; mostly because it brings in the sort of irregular diners who think it’s clever to make a fuss and never tip.


Now before you think to yourself, "When did Christopher become such a "Debbie Downer""? Let me assure you that I'm still the same chubby happy-go-lucky little guy that I've always been and I'm here to help. I come bearing options (and gratuitous promotion) to make your life a little easier and a lot more delicious. Table Manners has customizable dinner packages for two. Hell, if you're single and just really hungry it can work for you too! We also have an assortment of decadent chocolate desserts and heart shaped treats if you get into that kind of thing.

So my advice to you? " Stay in. Order In from Table Manners. Go out another time -- any other time."

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