Today’s Food Newsbits: Bruni Talks Tables, Vegas Restaurants Struggle, Bottled Water Ban in Australia

Ever curious why the waiter seats you by the bathroom in an empty dining room? Revered restaurant reviewer Frank Bruni posted a bit yesterday on the mystery of receiving a bad table in a nearly deserted restaurant. While the inquiring customer seemed baffled by the mis-seating, Bruni notes that it’s rather common, with most restaurants leaving empty tables for no-show reservations, late night VIPs, and kitchen relief.

“All of that said, you could be sitting at a bad table at a bad time in a half-full restaurant because the restaurant is invested its own haughtiness, and because it didn’t tag you as the kind of cool catch it wanted to place front and center. Some restaurants can simply be jerks like that.”

The New York Times is reporting this week that restaurants in Las Vegas, like much of the rest of the country, are struggling through the economic recovery. Due to the reduced visitor numbers, many development projects have fallen prey to bankruptcy, and a few new restaurants with them, including a new David Chang project.  From Batali to Moonen, many chefs have noticed the decline as well, revamping menus and catering to the more moderate spenders. While most Vegas restaurateurs are able to survive the decline, the trickle-down effect is the most difficult to swallow, with local front-of-the-house service staff reporting a loss of 20-50% of their regular income.

Some chefs don’t mind the halt in further restaurant development, however, with Chef Paul Bartolotta commenting, “I don’t wish ill to anyone, but do we need 20 more restaurants? No.”

The small Australian town of Bundanoon recently voted to ban the importation of bottled water into their city limits. Residents of the town are hoping the ban will help to reduce the town’s environmental impact as a whole.  While many hail the sustainable move, others are noting that it’s important to ‘keep it in perspective’ by remembering that all tap water is not created equal and there’s a greater need to reduce the footprint of imported goods across the board.

“The environmental footprint of one bottle of water of locally produced water would be much smaller than a tin of canned tomatoes imported from overseas, some imported cheese, or French champagne,” [Geoff Parker, director of the Australasian Bottled Water Institute Inc.] told Reuters.

Tomorrow, I’ll be guest posting over at Be sure to stop on by!

~Jennifer Heigl

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