Is it time to retire Edison bulbs, reclaimed wood, communal tables, stools as seating, and other restaurant decor trends seen here? Photo © W Dallas via Flickr.
We need to talk about contemporary restaurant interiors. In cities from New York to Austin to Los Angeles, trends in food—especially the farm-to-table movement and other locavore, organic, and artisanal menu offerings—have encouraged an ironically bland sameness in restaurant interior design (think long, “communal” tables and benches, and reclaimed wood galore). To add insult to injury, as this fantastic piece by Eater critic Robert Sietsema charting the decline of restaurant comfortability points out, restaurants just aren’t as hospitable as they once were. The goal of many restaurants—especially ones in the mid to lower end of the spectrum—seems to just be getting diners in and out. Certain decor choices serve as effective means to that end.