Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Restaurant 4'33

As in John Cage's 4'33"
  (+39, -28)(+39, -28)
(+39, -28)
  [vote for,

The sign reads: "This restaurant is a no speaking establishment."
The building is soundproofed, and once passing through the anteroom and speaking with the Maitre'd who explains the rules and the purpose, you are quietly escorted to your table.

The only audible sounds are those of silverware clinking off of plates. The warm environment holds no patience with cellular phones, does not condone conversations through mouthfuls of masticated meats, and is almost exclusively staffed by deaf and/or mute individuals.

The menus are all designed with this thought in mind, with large-print words next to dishes like Rare, MediumRare, Medium, MediumWell, and WellDone. You will not need to struggle to communicate that you want the rice pilaf instead of the garlic mashed potatoes . . .

The process is indeed a solemn one - - but you can still enjoy a glass of wine with only a gesture. The dessert trays are always well laid.

Here, you can eat in peace, alone or with a loved one, free of the pervasive hum of a room full of people speaking with otherwise occupied mouths. You are free, here, to focus your senses fully on the aroma and taste, and the act of dining.

contracts, Nov 29 2004

(?) 4'33" http://www.azstarne.../~solo/4min33se.htm
A Brief History of John Cage's Song [contracts, Nov 29 2004]

(?) Some Nazi School
Good god they're strict, check about a quarter way down "no talking allowed." Halfbaked. [Blumster, Nov 29 2004]

CNN: Composer pays for piece of silence http://archives.cnn...c/09/23/uk.silence/
[krelnik, Nov 29 2004]

(?) Another solution http://store.intern...om/02ao3121252.html
[Worldgineer, Nov 30 2004]

For an evening of abuse http://www.activedi...epage.cfm?CID=28976
Come to Dick's Last Resort. [contracts, Nov 30 2004]

SHHH! NO TALKING! http://www.rebfile.com/qpnypost.htm
A quiet party. "Talking is so early '90s." [bristolz, Dec 02 2004]

Eating in the Dark http://cornellcolle...ner_dans_le_no.html
"Dans Le Noir"; "[A]bout 10 guests have 'freaked out' and left because they couldn't dine in such a manner." [contracts, Dec 02 2004]

Bris' Quiet Party http://www.quietparty.com/
This is the site for more info about bris' article. [contracts, Dec 02 2004]


       As one used to dining with children I would applaud this...   

       It'd be the last choice on my list of dining choices. I go to restaurants for more than chewing food. This place would be glum. I vote minus.
bristolz, Nov 29 2004

       Bravo. A more suitable name for this idea would be Utopia. Bun.
Blumster, Nov 29 2004

       You would have me move to a desert island near a leper colony where everyone has their tongues cut out and join them because I would enjoy a silent meal once in a while?

When did live and let live become live and let quietly putrefy?

       complaining about something might prove interesting.
po, Nov 29 2004

       Four feet and thirty three inches of silence?
harderthanjesus, Nov 29 2004

       Four minutes and 33 seconds. I didn't write the song :-)   

       [UnaBubba], I think it's a stretch to equivocate a 'themed restaurant that encourages delving into the experience of eating' to 'being cast away on an island with lepers and having your tongue cut out'. I go to some restaurants for more than eating - - but very often I find myself wishing I could have a well-cooked (i.e. not cooked by me) meal in peace and quiet.
contracts, Nov 29 2004

       You had better license the name, or expect a lawyer visit. Another artist that included a short cut of complete silence on his album as a "tribute" to Cage, was sued by Cage's estate for copyright infringement. Yes, copyright infringement on SILENCE. He ended up paying a six figure settlement. See link.
krelnik, Nov 29 2004

       //being cast away on an island with lepers and having your tongue cut out// I've been to restaurants like this.
harderthanjesus, Nov 29 2004

       Odd. Lennon and Ono had a minute of silence on one of their albums.
bristolz, Nov 29 2004

       1' ?
FarmerJohn, Nov 29 2004

       I think this guy's mistake was he gave partial writing credit on the song to Cage in the liner notes. Well, if you co-wrote the song, then you are supposed to get paid half the royalties, eh? Still pretty dumb, though.
krelnik, Nov 29 2004

       If the food's good, I tend to eat quietly anyway. Have my fishbones though, because the silence would be oppressive.
david_scothern, Nov 29 2004

       I think that you are confusing your desire to speak with others' desire to hear you speak - - that is not meant as an insult. I want to go to dinner at a place where I don't have to hear people like you say things like that. I could see how that would make you think of me as a stereotypical loser. I can't see, however, why you would associate carry-out with a fresh meal served to you, hot, in a restaurant, nor why the lack of sound translates into sitting "at home in the dark" for you.
contracts, Nov 29 2004

       How about the PRS get on our backs everytime we observe a minute's silence? For performing parts of Cage's "song" live?
spiritualized, Nov 29 2004

yabba do yabba dabba, Nov 29 2004

       This might work if live entertainment was offered. Might also appeal to married couples who no longer engage in conversation. I've never thought of a restaurant as anything other than a social environment. The buzz of the others is often what makes it a cozy experience, for me anyway.   

       The Ragin' Cajun, late of Seattle's Pike Place Market area, was staffed almost exclusively by the deaf, including the owner and chef. Very excellent food but one could talk there. Interestingly, the order process was very efficient in that the waiter could sign the order across the restaurant immediately.   

       So, would sign language be allowed at your establishment or would communication be limited to winks, facial expressions and sex in the booths?
bristolz, Nov 29 2004

       Communication isn't what is trying to be avoided; for example, gesturing at menus. The purpose is to cut out the distraction from the senses that are utilized to enjoy the act of consuming the meal. While sight is used, it is not omni-directional like hearing is. I would think that the inclusion or even encouragement of the use of sign language wouldn't be counterproductive to the experience.   

       The sex-booths would have to be in a separate room, unfortunately. More than likely, in a separate restaurant. See: Ethnotica.
contracts, Nov 29 2004

       And don't nobody order anything crunchy.
moomintroll, Nov 29 2004

       So you prefer listening to people *eat* than talk? Such auditory delights as:   

       * The guy at the next table smacking his mouth in anticipation of his steak   

       * The lady behind you slurping her soup   

       * The man across from you crunching his celery   

       * The girl "somewhere" glooping her mashed potatoes   

       I get my fill of that watching the Cookie Monster on Sesame Street... [-]
MrWrong, Nov 29 2004

       Intersting idea but I'd never go to a restaurant like that myself (eek!). But I'm sure it would attract a certain clientele which would love this, so [+]. This kinda reminds me of an article I read recently (don't remember in which mag) about a restaurant in Paris where the dining area is so dark you can't even see your hand if it's poking you in the eye and the entire wait staff is blind (no, not from being poked in the eye in a dark restaurant). Oh, I remember now, it was in People magazine from a few weeks ago with Princes Harry and William on the cover.
Machiavelli, Nov 30 2004

       Some people make movie theatres a venue for socialization. I'd rather enjoy my meal, or my show - - and the company of friends - - without gabbing. At present, you're right that there isn't anywhere to do it except at home. For the chitchat, we'll just hit a bar afterward ;-)   

       As regards rhapsodizing over the expectation . . . I do my best to hit restaurants at the slowest times possible so I can eat peacefully. It ain't a fantasy.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       Whats happens to trouble makers who can't stop laughing?
umm0i, Nov 30 2004

       Their kneecaps are removed and used as ball-gags.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       I'm kind of with [contracts] here (not least because of the plugging of Ethnotica - although I must state for licencing reasons, the sex is only actually engaged in by over-excited couples in the car-park outside) - but there would need to be some form of distraction or silence-inspiring ambience, like you find in an art gallery where people are too busy enjoying the experience to want to spoil it by engaging in meaningless chatter.   

       I hate talking in art galleries, and having people come up to me and spoil my looking at something by asking me what I think about it, or do I want a sandwich - I want to loose myself, to escape for a while into a silent appreciation of experience.   

       Assuming this ambience was created, either by the food, or the deportment of the staff, or the layout of the building. I think this could work out nicely. I see a very light place, lots of sunlight coming in through huge crystal windows, a very high ceiling, white tablecloths and a splash of greenery at the edges - like a glass cathedral of gastronomy.   

       If the food in the restaurant really was that good, then I'd come to this restaurant too - though I'd likely be suspicious it was some kind of emperor's new clothes-like situation - but if I came, I'd probably come on my own.   

       I might feel the need to make the occasional satified noise to myself, but would hope these occasional lapses would be largely overlooked by the understanding staff.   

       As soon as I get off this red-wine diet, I may splash out at 4'33"
zen_tom, Nov 30 2004

       Coming late to this one, but it gets my croissant. I once spent a week at a monastery where the monks ate dinner in silence, while one of their number read from a book. A wonderful experience - a contemplative retreat from the meaningless noise of our daily lives.   

       (Fittingly for the Halfbakery, the monastery had little mice carved into all the woodwork, but that's another story.)
DrCurry, Nov 30 2004

       Read aloud from the book? That's profoundly different than sitting amongst a bunch of silent strangers, listening to them chewing. It's okay, though, as UnaBubba and I will just open the Katzenjammer Cafe next door to the 4'33". It will be brash, vital and resplendent in it's noise and hubbub. The waiters will sing the orders to the kitchen and encourage adjacent table debates. Appetizers will arrive in iron skillets upon beds of sizzling rice. Wireless mics will be passed around for random announcements over the P.A. from patrons. English crackers will be placed at each setting and confetti will fall at random times.   

       You won't be able to get reservations any sooner than a month in advance.
bristolz, Nov 30 2004

       Turn this into a cinema and I'll bun it!
not_only_but_also, Nov 30 2004

       //The waiters will sing the orders to the kitchen and engage adjacent tables in cross-group debates. You won't be able to get reservations any sooner than a month in advance.// I think that's a non-sequitur. Who likes being harrassed when they're trying to eat?
The best waitstaff I've seen were they who didn't intrude on the meal with questions or frivolities. If my glass is nearly empty, it's a certainty that an attentive waiter can cast a questioning glance and get the response "fill 'er up" with a no more than a nod on my part.

       [n_o_b_a], I think cinemas are supposed to be like this.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       You just frequent the dried up restaurants, my dear [contracts]. I want character when I dine. I want an impertinent waiter who'll proposition me instead of retiring into the mists. I want to dine with the young and vibrant not the old and intolerant.
bristolz, Nov 30 2004

       [bris], I'm sure there's a market for brazen and brash obnoxious nonsense at dinner. Actually, I've been there. [link] It had a touch of amusement value. I'm talking about a meal, though, and not another TGIFridays, how-much-flair-can-you-wear, can't sit down in peace and just experience your meal kinda place. Regardless, I suppose, there's no accounting for taste. <edit> Is the Herb Farm somewhere that I'll get propositioned by people who should be providing attentive and non-invasive service?</e>
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       TGIF? That's horrid and perhaps accounts for why you've gone so far the other way.   

       Try the Herb Farm. Okay, so it's $450 a plate prix-fixe and you're scrunched together with others but, you know what, it's great. People leaning into other's conversations. The staff assembling and announcing each course in detail. Festive. An occasion. I can get silence at Denny's.   

       And you're right, there is no accounting for tastes.   

       Actually, I'm just giving you shit.
bristolz, Nov 30 2004

       I must say, I had no idea the controversy such a simple half-baked idea could cause. ;-) Thanks for the interesting discourse, everyone.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       bris: agreed with your last line, anyway.
DrCurry, Nov 30 2004

       You do get shit, every day of the week, at TGIF. I'm not sure if it's intentional or not.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       We have local restaurants that are quiet and easy places to enjoy. In fact, they are more numerous that McDonalds -- we call them Chinese restaurants. Well, maybe the difference is those wooden knife and fork sticks.   

       In the spirit of the present discussion, I'd grant you there is a niche for an establishment that seats by reservation only and that prescreens guests by age: refusing to seat under-20s. Let me just state that what irks me is fights over the kids and about the kids -- I'd just as soon go to a place for kiddies if the staff surprises a family with a little "Hansel & Gretel" passion play.
reensure, Nov 30 2004

       Do you really think this would work? I've been in social situations where mature adults should know when it's respectful to be quiet-- i.e during speeches, prayers, important announcements-- and it seems like there are always 2 or 3 whispering or laughing back and forth. Plus, if a majority of your staff are deaf, how will they catch and stop the talkers?
tchaikovsky, Nov 30 2004

       Go eat at the library.
waugsqueke, Nov 30 2004

       It's rarely kids that cause me bother in restaurants. What causes me bother is the ever present coven of roots-showing, dyed orange skinned, leathery hags cackling and hooting like disgrunted macaques, completely oblivious to the fact that their raucous screeches are ruining the ambiance for e v e r y o n e else.   

       Perhaps I need to go to different restaurants or perhaps a restaurant should come equipped with discreet decibel meters, which signal to the waiting staff the when noise at a table reaches and persists at a level likely to harm the enjoyment of other diners. This level could be set and varied by the waiting staff, depending on the time of day/intended atmos. Thus polite conversation can continue (or, if the meters are so set, be eliminated) and wait staff don't have to wait until someone complains.   

       As for the idea itself, I'm not sure I would eat in a restaurant that was totally silent, unless it was up a stick in a field, or something.
calum, Nov 30 2004

       judging from the votes, there's a need for this, but I wouldn't go there, not up for Katzenjammers just yet either. I'm looking for something in between.
dentworth, Nov 30 2004

       As a noisy, animated type, I think this would be an excellent place to go once in a while. In between visits to Katzenjammers too. I think the two would complement each other nicely.
DocBrown, Nov 30 2004

       Sounds pretty dreadful to me. A bit like the scene in Batman where Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale are having dinner in a cavernous dining hall, seated at opposite ends of an enormously long table. Utter silence interrupted only by the occasional clink of cutlery upon crockery.

Today's special is fish.
DrBob, Nov 30 2004

       Years ago, there used to be a popular and romantic fine restaurant in my city that was notable because it had extra-large, high-backed upholstered booths with sheer drapes that users could pull close for an intimate dining experience . While it was quite a large and busy restaurant, the drapes were very effective at providing a sense of privacy, without actually providing any real barrier to the rest of the restaurant at all.   

       The restaurant prospered in this location without major changes and without major incident for nearly three decades until one day neo-conservatives decided that this arrangement amounted to a sort of "attractive nuisance" or invitation to practice illicit sex.   

       Despite never previously having had a complaint lodged against it for lax management or poor oversight in the security and comfort of its patrons, the restaurant was ordered to remove the diaphanous curtains that had become its trademark and make the booths entirely visible from any point in the room.   

       While the food continued to be good, the restaurant no longer had anything to particularly differentiate it from the dozens of other high-end traditional restaurants in the middle of the city, and it closed its doors within a year.   

       The closure of the restaurant was a loss to me. I always enjoyed their food and discreet service, but particularly enjoyed the sense of romance that the environment provided: virtual intimacy within a completely public setting. I think that's what John Cage (in his own deconstructionist way) was really trying to achieve with 4'33", and what he would appreciate in a restaurant like this. But, then again, perhaps [contracts] is too literal a musicologist to agree with me.
jurist, Nov 30 2004

       I wouldn't say that intimacy was primarily Cage's consideration, but I do think attempting to evoke a sense of presence/sense of self in a normally voyeuristic event was a key part, which ties in to what you say.   

       Who ordered the business to revise their decor, and under what authority? I would hate for someone to come in and say that speaking was required at Restaurant 4'33" or that tables must be stationary at Kramnik's Kafe.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       //The girl "somewhere" glooping her mashed potatoes //
What exactly is the sound made by //glooping// mashed potatoes?

//I want to dine with the young and vibrant not the old and intolerant.//
So do I, but I usually bring them with me, and I think being propositioned by an someone who can't even remember how I wanted my steak done will be annoying no matter what the atmosphere the restaurant has.

Anyway [+]
Not a place I would go to all the time, but it would definitely be worth a try. I would try Katzenjammer’s also, but I think quietly contemplative would be better than annoyingly brash (plus there seem to be many places that already have one or the other of these traits if not both).
Back to the idea—since it will be impossible to have absolute silence, perhaps some background white noise would be in order, if only to avoid hearing your neighbor gloop her potatoes.

Aside: Probably not a good first date place—take a girl out to dinner and a movie, and you can go the whole night with only saying hello and goodbye.
brodie, Nov 30 2004

       [half], I would refer you to the first link for a conceptual aid.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       The slightest noise would be so annoying; amplified, even. A screeched knife across a plate would attract angry glances. I suppose a good fart would be out of the question.
Ling, Nov 30 2004

       A screeched knife across a plate would join into the din of many, many implements of consumption being similarly used.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       It isn't pure silence, it just isn't conversational. Have I been unclear or are y'all being difficult? It can't be silent and isn't designed to be silent. It's designed to be an environment that promotes close focus on the act of dining. It promotes close focus on the flavors of the food, putting the meal at center stage instead of 'just a way to put fuel in your belly while going to lengths to distract yourself from it.' Obviously some people directly associate speaking with eating, and just as many do not.   

       Finally, this is not a library. It's a restaurant.
contracts, Nov 30 2004

       Perhaps this idea should be taken still further and turned into a sensory deprivation restaurant. Blindfolded, earplugged and anaesthetised from the neck down, the only stimulus available would be that of the food being fed to you by waiters you will never see.
lyserge, Nov 30 2004

       Sorry, this sounds absolutely dreadful. Perhaps some folks would enjoy this, but I am not among them. If you want to eat with a total lack of vocal communication, why bother even going out? I don't get it, I guess.   

       What happens if someone just starts talking? It's not like they can 'ask' you to leave. What will they do, vigorously point at "Shut up!" signs?   

       // Obviously some people directly associate speaking with eating, and just as many do not. //   

       No, that's not it. I think it's that people generally don't associate eating with not-speaking.
waugsqueke, Dec 01 2004

       //If you want to eat with a total lack of vocal communication, why bother even going out?//   

       Having a nice and indulgent meal prepared for you by a professional chef with a stock of quality ingredients and having the result presented to you on a platter, enjoying it with someone you love and reveling in each other's enjoyment; having someone pour your drink, and take care of the dishes . . . you still believe that all of these elements (which are just a scant few) of dining out are pointless unless you're talking at someone and listening to a room full of other people do the same??   

       The act of eating is not defined by a conversation, nor is the act of dining out. Enjoying someone's company can be holding hands just as readily as talking. You say that you don't associate eating with talking, but it certainly seems like there is some line that you cannot cross which I don't understand :-)
contracts, Dec 01 2004

       All this was starting to ring a familiar chord when it suddenly hit me: [contracts], you should read an interesting book called "Bowling Alone." The author, Robert Putnam, using information taken from almost a half million interviews of Americans, in essence issues a warning that "our stock of social capital - the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities ... we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often."   

       This restaurant, The 4'33", could be featured on the cover of the book.
bristolz, Dec 01 2004

       Perhaps the real decline is the lack of "quality time" that people spend together. Hollow and meaningless conversations just for the sake of conversation?
contracts, Dec 01 2004

       This would be a great place for wedding receptions involving perpetually feuding families. And parents who cannot be trusted to make a socially acceptable speech.
Detly, Dec 01 2004

       I never participate in hollow and meaningless discussions at meals. I save those for here.
bristolz, Dec 01 2004

       I think that's stretching it a little [bris]. If we accept that social capital is falling, then it is doing so in a society where the majority of eateries are far closer to Katzenjammer's than 4'33".

Going to a place like this once in a while with a group of friends would be an experience far more memorable than the average meal out -
"Do you remember the night when we invented that code for 'pass the salt' at 4'33"s?"
"Yeah, and then played Scissor, Paper, Stone for hours."
"I felt so...connected."
DocBrown, Dec 01 2004

       // You say that you don't associate eating with talking, but it certainly seems like there is some line that you cannot cross which I don't understand. //   

       I think the reason you are not understanding it is because you are accusing your detractors of making an association here that, in fact, it appears only you are making. You are distilling our argument against as an eating <-> talking thing, and none of us are saying that .   

       What I am saying, and I think others are suggesting, is that doing anything at all with a group of people whose company one enjoys, and deliberately not talking to any of them during the whole time is an inherently unnatural act. Why is that even desirable?   

       Typically, of course - there are always exceptions, activities that require individual concentration such as reading - but eating is certainly not one of them.
waugsqueke, Dec 01 2004

       Reading does require individual attention, but many actions that do not require it per se could benefit from it.   

       //If you want to eat with a total lack of vocal communication, why bother even going out?// That must be where I was misreading you - - the association between talking and dining-out, not just talking and eating. Further, it isn't intended as an accusation, just me trying to posit others' positions, in firm terms, to get clarification of their odd reluctance to eat quietly in a public place. :-)   

       Alas, I feel this is beginning to get a bit overbaked. I smell smoke.
contracts, Dec 01 2004

       I got the purpose fairly early on, though it didn't completely sink in immediately, and was just giving you crap.   

       An unsolicited observation: In my (unskilled, non-writer, non-editor, generally non-communicative) opinion, this might not have been received as clearly as you expected because the intended purpose is buried in the last paragraph, indeed the last sentence.   

       The text spends the first 80% talking about the environment and the rules, which comes across as oppressive, and the adjustments (and sacrifices in some minds, obviously) that need to be made to function within the environment.   

       Had the purpose, more specifically the benefits, been explained right after this -> "...the Maitre'd who explains the rules and the purpose...", it may have been clearer how the constraints were intended enhance the dining experience. I think it ended up sounding like "Shut up so I can eat my meal in peace!"   

       (Just a half opinion. Feel very free to delete this annotation.)
half, Dec 01 2004

       That's a fair observation. Inverting the structure would probably have made it more universally lauded, easily understood, and attractive (though the idea would have remained the same.) Starting with "a restaurant designed to promote close attention to the meal" and explaining the vehicle to accomplish such afterward would have been better.
contracts, Dec 01 2004

       + As a person who regularly eats out with friends, this would make an interestingly 'different' evening out. I wouldn't necessarily want to go regularly as I do enjoy good conversation when I eat.   

       Remember all ye detractors that the idea is not to ban talking in *all* restaurants. I think there is definitely room for one of these at least in London. If you don't like it then don't go there.   

       One thing that has been bugging me as I read this though: If I was dining at this restaurant in silence with some friends and there was a couple dining at the next table having an animated conversation in sign language would it irritate me? I think the answer is yes but I'm not sure why.
stupop, Dec 01 2004

       // I feel this is beginning to get a bit overbaked. //   

       I don't, not at all. I think it gets to the very heart of your idea, actually. You have suggested an idea for a vocally silent restaurant, and the only reason you have stated for the silence is so people could focus more on the meal. That does not seem like a very good reason to me.   

       Sitting silent with people I know and whose company I enjoy would not be a desirable experience. The people here who have lauded the idea have not really indicated why they would enjoy this. I would far more enjoy a meal if I could comment to my cohorts about it, and ask them how their dish is. In your restaurant, people are reduced to pointing and giving thumbs up or down. Or not interfacing with each other at all.   

       I have never found that conversation has distracted me from a good meal out. On the contrary, I have enjoyed them all the more because I could share the enjoyment with my table mates.   

       As well, I can't imagine the sort of person for whom - and/or type of circumstance under which - not speaking = better meal. So I am perplexed at the whole premise of your idea.   

       Since I don't see any good to this, there's nothing left to see but the the bad of it. I am certain that I would enjoy even the best meal considerably less so if I was concentrating on not uttering a word the entire time.   

       You'll be out of business in a week, tops.
waugsqueke, Dec 02 2004

       You shouldn't have to concentrate on not talking. But it's okay! You don't have to dine there. I'm sure many people would've said the same thing about Hooters, Dick's Last Resort, TGIFridays, Bennigans, Dave and Busters, and probably even McDonalds.
contracts, Dec 02 2004

       But would anyone? Or enough to sustain a business? Would it have regulars or repeat customers or would it be treated only as a lark or freak dining experience?   

       Maybe it'd work even better if there were no lighting, either. Blind and deaf eating.
bristolz, Dec 02 2004

       Even art galleries aren't completely silent - without discussion and descriptive communication you can be missing parts of a gormet meal no matter how seriously you are taking the experience. Perhaps you should limit verbal communication to quiet talk about the food itself only. Though even then I don't think I'd eat there. (looks at [bz]'s link) Ah, writing. That could work.   

       Now can everyone please be quiet? This idea would have been much better without all this annoying text everywhere.
Worldgineer, Dec 02 2004

       Six links and eighty-two annotations.....it amazes me the way this idea has garnered so much attention. I'd never make it there, I'm too much of a sushi bar socializer [not to be confused with sushi bar socialists].   

normzone, Dec 02 2004

       Sorry. I didn't bother reading the rest of the annos (because they're too many and because I am about to go to bed) so I don't know if somebody else has already commented this: if you don't want noise, stay home.
Pericles, Dec 02 2004

       // I'm sure many people would've said the same thing about Hooters, Dick's Last Resort, TGIFridays, Bennigans, Dave and Busters, and probably even McDonalds. //   

       Can't imagine why. You can talk in all those places.
waugsqueke, Dec 02 2004

       [Bris] - - Nice link! The sightless-eating thing is already baked. No lights whatsoever; pitch black. [Machiavelli] mentioned this place a few annos up. I did some research, and apparently the restaurant is a huge success. [link]   

       Not to steal anyone's thunder, but "if you want to eat in the dark, stay home" and "I can't imagine the sort of person for whom no light means a better meal." Apparently, quite a few people.   

       Just because the idea doesn't mesh with what you're used to doesn't mean that you might not enjoy it . . . have an open mind and come 'round 4'33". Free dessert if you can manage to stay quiet all night. ;-)
contracts, Dec 02 2004

       The statement "If you don't want [x], stay home" is remarkably proscriptive and evidences (but does not prove) an absence of entrepreneurial spirit. Surely contracts's formation "If you don't want noise and there are others who are similarly inclined, why not exploit the potential of this untapped market?" is a more positive and inclusive one as it allows people to do what they want, without impinging on the desires of others.
calum, Dec 02 2004

       //explains the process behind the development of the recipe, ingredient sourcing and cooking process//
Knowing how to cook a good meal is something that I like. Eating a good meal is something that I like. The only time that I can see one having any effect on the other is when I need to cook a good meal to eat a good meal (precisely the opposite of what I expect in a restaurant).

//the best way to ensure people concentrate on the dining experience would be to engage the diners more fully in the experience//
I think the whole point of the idea is to have people more engaged in the dining experience. The setup seems to ensure the diners are more engaged in the experience because there is nothing to take their concentration away from the food (except maybe the blonde in the corner).

There would be some (many) people who would try this and find that they could not enjoy the food to the extent where it could occupy them for the whole meal. Anyone not able to focus solely on the food would not enjoy themselves, and would not return (hopefully instead having an enjoyable time at Katzenjammer’s Cafe around the block, or the Extreme Baristas on the corner), but there would also be many who would make this a regular stop, even if not a weekly one.
I can only see two problems:
1) People who can on a lark, decide that they don’t like the idea, and disobey the rules, ruining the atmosphere for everyone else. Easiest solution- take them to a back room, and come back with a new special delicacy, Fouson de Jeff (or Jane, Allie, Bill, Mark Susie, etc.).
2) The food at 4’33” would have to be amazing. Hard Rock café, Planet Hollywood and many other restaurants get away with having pretty lousy food by taking the patrons attention off the food so they don’t care what the eat. One bad day, or even one bad dish at 4’33” would ruin the whole point. Can you imagine sitting for an hour with nothing to do but eat a mediocre meal?

I still think some quiet background noise, though not necessary, and getting a little away from the barebones idea, would be helpful to drown the belches of the lady at the next table, and to soften the ringing of sliver to china from all over the restaurant.
brodie, Dec 02 2004

       I'm wondering how many people ever go out for dinner on their own (I used to regularly on account of my job) and whether people's correlation between dinner, company and conversation is due to the fact that many people only ever eat-out in the company of others.
zen_tom, Dec 02 2004

       So in response to my comments, "if you don't like it, stay home" is the best you can do to advertise the place. That is a clear indication that are aren't many positive selling points.
waugsqueke, Dec 03 2004

       [waugsqueke] This idea has been covered in extremely laborious depth. If you don't understand it after all of the discussion so far, I'm certainly not going to waste any more of Jutta's disk space trying to explain it to you.   

       Tell you what - - just start at the top, re-read all of the annotations, and if you still don't understand, send me an e-mail with your specific questions.
contracts, Dec 03 2004

       Nope [waugs], I have to differ. I reckon complete silence is a USP. I admit that eating out is generally a social experience and 4'33 would probably need an adjoining bar where people can meet and chat before going in, and possibly escape before dessert if necessary, but this would go down well with foodies who believe that food is an art form (eg me). It would be kept afloat financially by the sort of up-their-own-arses city bankers that will pay £20,000 for a vintage wine for the sheer cachet of it. The food would have to be *really* good though, if it was in any way mediocre you would just be spending the evening in purgatory. <edit> This would probably only work if it was unique, I can't imagine a thriving chain that fed the masses </e>
wagster, Dec 03 2004

       I like watching the vote race above, where alternately the boisterous bones or buttoned-up buns pull ahead.
FarmerJohn, Dec 03 2004

       Go buns go!!!
brodie, Dec 03 2004

       //This would probably only work if it was unique, I can't imagine a thriving chain that fed the masses// Yeah, this probably wouldn't go over well in most US west coast or midwestern states and probably couldn't carve a niche in the way say a Katzenjammers could, but for the puckered yanks (like myself) in places like DC and New York, this could stand up.   

       I'm rooting for the buns, too. I have a giant foam "We're Number Bun!" croissant on my hand.
contracts, Dec 03 2004

       Voting's still pretty tight. Perhaps you should demand a recount.
bristolz, Dec 03 2004

       I might give this a dry run by eating out with earplugs.
wagster, Dec 03 2004

       Oh my god. There must be a name for this phenomenon: the feeling one gets when skimming down recent 'bakery annotations as one's mind sticks on a contradiction like ["people generally don't associate eating with not-speaking." -- waugsqueke]   

       ... and one's mind flashes to one's grandmother throwing up a hand and yelling "BINGO!".   

reensure, Dec 03 2004

       (psst... I think [re]'s losing it)
Worldgineer, Dec 03 2004

       Don't talk with your mouth full.   

       Just wanted to pitch in my 2 cents worth. Whoever suggested live entertainment could only have been thinking of mimes, and for that alone I must fishbone this idea.   

       Besides, how would you complain about the fly in your soup? Semaphore?
Canuck, Dec 05 2004

       I guess it's a shame you can't bone annotations, seeing as how live entertainment would be counterproductive to the idea.
contracts, Dec 05 2004

       I like it, if only to escape that annoying habit of restaurants to play awful "music" in the background. It seems like this radical solution is necessary to keep them from doing that.
Saruman, Dec 06 2004

       There are only so many times you can hear Steely Dan's "FM", done lounge-style, when you're dining out.
contracts, Dec 06 2004

       I can't help imagining eating in a future restaurant booth or at home with 3D OLED video wallpaper connected to selectable dinner guests such as yourselves on the internet.
mensmaximus, Dec 06 2004

       It's interesting reading everyone's views about whether or not they would enjoy a silent restaurant, but in terms of whether or not it's a good idea, the only way to find out for sure is to open it and see if people come.   

       Despite the huge amount of annotation above nobody seems to have asked what is certainly the most important question of all - can I smoke or not?
dobtabulous, Dec 06 2004

       \\can I smoke or not\\
\\focus your senses fully on the aroma and taste\\
I'm not sure you could focus solely on the food if smoking was allowed in the restaurant (especially the non-smokers).
brodie, Dec 06 2004

       Wonderful idea! Lets also go further and use rubber-coated plates to reduce the noise of cutlery and use some noise-cancelling equipment disguised as decorations to get rid of the smacking, crunching, glooping etc. A non-crunchy croissant for you..
SleepWalker, Dec 23 2004

       Why not just have a normal restaurant and issue earplugs (possibly fancy noise-cancelling ones) at the door for those who want silence
Random832, Mar 28 2005

       I once went to a restaurant in Brussells where all waiters and waitresses were blind. Was half expecting multiple accidents to occur that night, but surprisingly it was a rather memorable experience.
shinobi, Dec 04 2006

       Seems like a good idea. i always fancied a day of silence to practice sign language. a few of my friends and I studied it for a year and had lots of fun back in collage signing to each other during lunch hours while everyone else sat there trying to eavesdrop on what they couldnt hear.   

       Trying to communicate without talking seems to me a very personal thing, lots of fun and makes me realise how lucky I am to be able to hear the world around me.
Helixthecat, Dec 04 2006

       // staffed by deaf and/or mute individuals //   

       What about deaf people who unknowingly make incoherent utterances while using sign language? I can see a really BIG lawsuit regarding ADA compliance issues.
Jscotty, Dec 04 2006

       //signing to each other during lunch hours while everyone else sat there trying to eavesdrop on what they couldnt hear.//   

       Hah. I was once on a ferry where there were a bunch of deaf/mute people when I was very little, so I didn't understand why they were making funny guestures. One guy was a really ordinary surfy sort of guy you'd expect to find on the beach chatting up some girls, and he had a beer in one hand and was signing to the guy next to him with the other hand.   

       My friend Sarah taught me the Australian sign alphabet and the words/signs for cat, dog, fish and turtle - it's great for cheating at charades.
froglet, Dec 05 2006

       To be in the true spirit of John Cage's original, the restaruant would not have music. His basic premis was to listen to the sounds that occur when a group of people gather together. On the other hand I'd vote for nearly anything that invovled banning mobile phones from dining rooms. They're banned from ours at home.
esperance, Dec 05 2006

       //Turn this into a cinema and I'll bun it!//
I've been to one, the food was horrible. (I'm pretty sure it came out of a box and was microwaved. From the prices they charged, I did not expect that.)
Zimmy, Dec 05 2006

       This would actually be pretty neat. Perhaps a restaurant would just do it every once in a while. You know, a "4'33 Event". I'd probably go, it would be interesting to focus entirely on the food and the surroundings. Almost an art piece, actually. I will bun this because it intrigues me. An experiment in the human conscious; oops, you ordered the crunchiest thing on the menu and you know everyone's staring. You can hear your blood in your ears.   

       Ooo. Avant-garde eateries.   

Abusementpark, Dec 10 2006

       I wouldn't want to eat at this place because I would cough and be embarrassed.   

       While your at it, why not make the silverware and dishes silent too? and only serve silent food?
BJS, Oct 12 2007

       Hey! Where's [contracts] gone? He was ok.
wagster, Oct 12 2007

       No no no! No! If you want to eat in silence, go buy a Pot Noodle and close the doors.   

       If you are making the point that many restaurants are full of ignorant louts talking on mobile phones, or humouring their ill-behaved brats, then point taken. The solution is to go find a restaurant where people know how to behave. Banning conversation in a restaurant is barbaric.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2007

       //What I am saying, and I think others are suggesting, is that doing anything at all with a group of people whose company one enjoys, and deliberately not talking to any of them during the whole time is an inherently unnatural act. Why is that even desirable?//   

       In the right mood I thoroughly enjoy some types of inherently unnatural acts. I would eat here, once, just for perhaps the amplification and emphasis it would place on the food itself. But then again, I also have been known to meditate (read 'sleep') frequently.
RayfordSteele, Jul 28 2009

       What [MrWrong] said.The problem here is the sounds of breathing whilst chewing would quickly become prominent and annoying. It needs heavy sound-absorbing surfaces everywhere.
Voice, Nov 23 2016

       I thought it would be a restaurant without food. Everybody sits around, being served empty plates.
FlyingToaster, Nov 23 2016


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