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Do Waiters Serve Young Diners Differently?

Over on his blog this week, Michael Bauer, the San Francisco Chronicle's restaurant critic,

sent to him by a young waiter. The guy writes that when he and his girlfriend go to upscale restaurants, they often get crappy service that the waiter suspects is due to his age. Bauer wonders, was it just bad service? Was it the way the guy and his girlfriend were dressed?

That post reminded me of the days when I first started reviewing restaurants -- fresh out of the kitchen, in my late 20s, a journeyman cook. This was in the Bay Area during the height of the dot-com bubble, so people even younger than me (and just as dressed-down) were flinging around platinum cards like numchucks at a ninja competition. Even then, I noticed that waiters in certain restaurants were definitely spending more time with parties of older diners than with me and my friends. A few times, when the brushoff was too egregious (Chez Panisse Cafe, ahem), I'd retaliate by grilling the waiter over the wine list and the menu for 15 minutes. Since I moved to Seattle at an age where people assume I'm a regular restaurant-goer, I've never noticed the problem here. I assume bad service is bad service.

Have any of you gotten dismissed as diners because of your age? Where?

 
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