Chow Bella

8 Stupid Questions You Should Never Ask Your Server

They schlep food to and fro. They explain the meaning of al dente. They clean up after your kid, who left behind a giant pile of cracker crumbs.

Here, in hopes of making you appear less ridiculous to restaurant waiters, are eight stupid things you should never ask your server.

1. "Is the fried chicken good?"

Do you suppose your waiter is going to reply, "No, it isn't. It’s crap. Don’t order that!"? He works there. And he’s been trained not to disparage the food he’s paid to sell — even when he doesn’t like it.

2. "What's the most popular item on your menu?"

Because who cares what you feel like eating, or what you hate to eat, or what you're allergic to. You want to eat what other people like! This isn’t a question that makes you sound like an erudite foodie. It makes you sound like an idiot.

3. “Do you know if there’s tomatoes in that?”

Yes, she knows. She works there. She knows the chef. And, unlike you, she’s read the menu — including the part that says that the entrée you’re asking about contains tomatoes.

4. “How spicy is the ____________?”

Even a fourth-grader knows that what’s spicy for you isn’t necessarily spicy for me. If you’re worried about spicy, order the chicken fried steak.

5. “Do you have a bathroom?”

No, they don’t. This is the only restaurant in the civilized world that managed to get around those pesky building codes. They don’t have anywhere for patrons or staff to empty their bladders. That would be gross.

6. “Can you turn down the music?”

No. Because you’re not the only person dining in the restaurant. The other people, who perhaps like the volume of the music, or aren’t bothered by it, or aren’t colossal assholes, are also eating here tonight. Want to eat in peace and quiet? Go home, where you get to control everything.

7. “Can we sit somewhere else?”

Yes, you can. But you weren’t seated at that cramped two-top in the corner by the restrooms because the hostess doesn’t like you. You were seated there because it’s your server’s turn to get a table. News flash: Not everything is going to go your way all the time.

8. “Can you just make me a cheese sandwich?”

Well, let’s see. Their kitchen has cheese in it. Bread, too. But the way that restaurants work is that you order the food that the chef is preparing, or you stay home. Then again, if you did that, who would ask your server all these stupid questions?
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela