Why people get thrown out of restaurants? A highly ‘tellable’ somewhat embarrasing tale.

A friend recently remarked that this blog had been missing its usual gossipy feel for some time. Well, I perhaps have one of the more bizarre incidents I can recall in recent times. And yes a first person account!

I went with 3 other friends (2 had been once before) to a restaurant in Chicago, which claims to be the oldest Indian food place in the Chicago area. The owner recognized the 2 (who had been before), greeted and we got a table. The place offered an Indian Buffet which we decided to order.  (Of course how these Indian food buffets in Chicago remind me of the late 80s early 90s catered from a tent house food at Indian weddings is another story). Naan was the only bread included in the buffet.

Wanting to have a conversation with other Desis, the owner himself decided to take our order:

Harsh: Can I have roti instead of the Naan
Server: No! Because it takes a separate dough …………..blah blah…but you can order it separately
Harsh looks into the menu for the price …..
Server: Are you a PhD student?
Harsh: Yes
Server: I knew it… that’s why you are analyzing so much! ..

At this stage I lost my cool somewhat..

Harsh: I am analyzing if this is my last visit to the restaurant
Server: What?Why?
Harsh: Most places are able to make this accommodation. I am surprised why you are so inflexible
Server: Well ! Ok if you so insist I can do it a special favor for you
Harsh: I don’t want favors. I will go with what you offer. Just perhaps won’t come here again

A lady came to wait at our table. He asked her if he could have a word with her, and said he would be back with us in a minute.

Server ( to Harsh): I have made a decision. You are not allowed in my restaurant.
Harsh: Thank you, I am happy to leave.
Server: I can serve the other 3 gentleman
Harsh: Absolutely, it’s their choice if they still want to be here

The four of us get up and leave

Server: I have never been so humiliated in life, that too by educated people. I go to Booth (school of Business) to teach ………………


As I said somewhat embarrasing, but highly tellable. Raised a lot of concerns with me. I must mention that at no stage was the tone of voice harsh or the pitch elevated. Also what prompted that “this is my last time’ reaction from me was that he ‘judged me’ by asking if I was a PhD student and he thought so because I was being analytical about the menu.I thought he had crossed his boundary as a client and as a customer I had the privilege of space which he did not allow me.

Anyway I just laugh when I reflect on the whole incident. I wish the restaurant all the best.


Author: harshT

Assistant Professor

10 thoughts on “Why people get thrown out of restaurants? A highly ‘tellable’ somewhat embarrasing tale.”

  1. As an Allergy specialist I always advise my patients to analyze the food thoroughly even at restaurant, they must take the liberty to ask the details and modifications to suit their requirements. If they do not do so their life can be at risk. The anaphylactic reation can kill a person immediatelyjust on touching or smelling the food which he is allergic to. A person with coeliac disease is not allowed to touch wheat , oat , barley , malt and so many gluten containing things. A person with milk allergy can not take nan as dough is needed with curd. So he would always need wheat chapati and not naan. How would a person know about the cooked food unless it is detailed in the menu. And even if it is, it is doctors strong advise to esquire up to the point of even being critical and also demand the modifications to suit your requirements. Life is more precious , the restaurants are many!
    Its good to have this good habit even if one is not allergic.
    Well done Harsh and Cheers , wish the owner of restaurant is not sued one day for food anaphylaxis related death in his premises!

  2. Harsh — would have loved to be there while this was happening. :)) … let’s do it again when you visit CA, or I visit there.

    Hi marc williams — my name is “basic intelligence.” We haven’t met before…

  3. Marc – The fact is that you have neither understood the blog nor the people involved. This piece was not about the “White” people (neither the author nor the resturant owner is “White”). However, it is people like you who reinforce the very notion about White Bias with your stupidly silly and kiddish statements about “freeloading”.

    All I wish for is that your English Teacher in school could have paid more attention to your Reading and Comprehension skills. Unfortunately both are missing in you! I wonder if you even know the difference between the two “Indian Breads” in question here.

  4. After reading your absolute shitty article about “white” people and the way you slandered this restaurant, I doubt you even went to high school. Its hard to believe that you are a PHD student. In fact, if it was my restaurant, I would have called the chicago police dept and had you arrested for being a “beggar” or a “freeloader”. Next time you want to eat cheap, go to Devon, where they will kick your ass to the curb and charge you for asking to make substitutions.

    1. Marc, thanks for your comment. I will leave the school, the department, potential reviewers and my dissertation committee to decide whether I am a worthy PhD student or not.
      Regarding the behavior of the restaurant owner – Am I as a customer not entitled to ‘ask’ for a substitute – Don’t you ask McDonalds if they can give coffee in a combo instead.
      Roti and Na’an cost exactly the same on this restaurant’s menu and which is why I merely asked him for making a substitution. So I do not understand how was I freeloading. Does that solicit the need to express judgment on what I study or what I do? Do I visit a restaurant to be publicly judged by someone who serves me?
      With regards to Devon, most of those restaurants have made such accomodations for me and others in the past.
      The owner of the restaurant was not “white” and one does not need to be in a PhD program to learn what is polite speech.
      Thanks for your comment once again!Hope you enjoy your next meal whether at Devon or at this Restaurant 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s