|Lovely dining room, right? Check out the rows of hard, straight chairs.|
One evening I dined at Levant for a special group dining experience. Levant's Mediterranean cuisine was amazing and the wine pairings were perfect. But what I still recall about our rather lengthy evening (four hours) is that I needed to stand several times because, well... my tush hurt! Levant had lovely, sleek chairs. Many new restaurants have "lovely sleek chairs." But what they don't realize, as they decorate their lovely sleek dining rooms, is that these chairs can be as hard as a rock when you sit on them. To be honest, there are cushy banquettes at Levant but those seats were taken by diners wiser than I.
Other nights, it was off to new restaurants with industrial chic looks... and more really hard chairs. But the most recent hard chair experience was a shorter dining experience. This really helped. I was so entranced with the creativity of the food that I hardly (pun intended) noticed the hard seating.
In a recent conversation with fellow diners it was mentioned that chain restaurants like Chipotle may actually install hard tall chairs that are super uncomfortable (along with chilly temps and loud acoustics) so diners move along quickly. I do recall sitting outdoors on the patio of a Tualatin Chipotle to avoid the noise and mess inside.
Note to restaurant owners: Portland, Oregon is full of delightful, minimalist-decor restaurants with hard straight chairs. While this looks great, how about seating some of your older family members in those chairs for, say... a couple of hours before purchasing the chairs. See what they say. Are they comfortable or are they doing the "hard chair squirm?"
Me? I'll be looking for banquette seating every chance I get.
Photo Essay: New York's Most Comfortable Restaurant Chairs