not shanking your dining neighbor, overheard in restaurants, queers in the kitchen

"It’s a lesbian restaurant.."

Things that can be gay (in the not equated to ‘stupid’ way as has become the vernacular of the times..also ‘queer’ can be interchanged here) :

  1. People
  2. Penguins
  3. Bars
  4. Parades (like the one this coming week in Portland)
  5. Rainbows

But a restaurant? I ask this because of a conversation overheard the other night @ Yosaku as my partner and I sat next to a table of 4 (1 older male, 2 mid-40’s females and a 16yr old boy). As the older gentleman seemed to be trying to flex his foodie muscles, though miserably failing as a good bit of the information he was telling his companions about different places was complete and utter bullshit, they started naming places they really enjoyed. One of the women, who apparently had tried to be a local food writer at one time, brought up a west end restaurant as one of her choices. To which the gentleman replied:

“It’s more of a lesbian restaurant, really, isn’t it? That’s what I see it as.”

It was then that I was glad there was no cutlery at the table, though I did ponder how quickly I could whittle down one of the chopsticks into a weapon and cause bodily harm to him. So, in my minds eye, because I could not cause a scene in the restaurant and be so disrespectful of the chef and staff, I chastised him for basing his decision on the sexuality of the owners and a handful of the staff, rather than the food. In my mind I also went on to correct all of his misinformation and, for the fuck of it, verbally emasculate him for all of his ignorance…. again, in my mind I did this. In reality, I just pondered–through the boiling rage–how, to him, it wasn’t an Italian, Japanese, French or American restaurant… it was Lesbian. No mention of the chef’s years in the business or even his opinion on the food, just the overall sexuality of the restaurant.

Even a week later, I’m still dumbfounded by the conversation–not to mention the other hour of vapid conversation about grinding at the prom, the older man wanting to start his own dining group called ‘The A-Team’ and how the adults wanted the kid to ‘get them in’ at a popular local restaurant that is pretty damn easy to get a reservation at if you just call a few days ahead. Truthfully, the 16 year old was the most articulate one at the table but this could possibly be because he didn’t consume the martini’s that the adults did(I hope he got the keys from them after the meal).

Granted, the guy was a douche wagon, but I can’t help but admit that he has me wondering how other gay owned restaurants are perceived by others. Is it something that comes up in conversation when deciding what restaurant to make reservations at, “Honey, do you want to go to the Twice Married Heterosexual Males Restaurant or the Coupled Lesbian Bistro?”

Is Arrows seen as a gay restaurant?
Will Figa be?

Most importantly, does it honestly matter?

My apologies for an endless, simmering ramble.


5 thoughts on “"It’s a lesbian restaurant.."

  1. I try to only eat at places where I can be certain that my food was prepared by family.In all seriousness, there will always be people who judge places, heck, entire cities by the gender, orientation, race, etc. of the occupants. I'm so sorry they ruined your otherwise awesome dinner! /:

  2. I realize that I am coming into this WAY late in the game, but as an employee of this so-called "lesbian restaurant", it hasn't escaped my mind. Indeed, I've been wanting to respond for weeks, but have been struggling to do so tactfully.Your disdain for this guy is entirely justified. However, after reading your account of the event, my initial emotional response (aside from pity) was, "THANK YOU JESUS that his crazy notions prevent him from dining at our 'lesbian' restaurant." In earnest, I am lucky enough to serve some of the best customers in Portland (and beyond). Our following has little to do with the sexual preferences of the owners, but the goddamn awesome job they (and the rest of our little family, for that matter) do at making everyone feel welcome; and for coming up with some of the most inventive, fun, affordable, sexy food in town. Something I overheard from a customer at the bar this weekend that motivated me to respond, speaking at another restaurant in town that shall be left unnamed: "They could have the best food in the world. But I still won't go there if the people behind it are bad." This is the type of customer we are delighted to entertain. Demanding palates AND morals! We ❤ them.So, to this man I would say, please please PLEASE continue to choose somewhere else to dine. You may be the only type of person that we would not welcome with open arms.

  3. Anon… Thank you. A million times over, thank you. I am glad that you replied to this post and, as a patron of this restaurant, there is very few places in town who do service and food better.

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