When you bring a date to a restaurant, you have an audience the whole time: the ever-watching staff. It’s time we learned something from them.
I reached out to a range of restauranteurs, servers and hosts, all of whom have seen the best and worst of our wining and dining behavior, to get their tips and etiquette insights on dining out with a date. We’ll be releasing the results over the course of the next two weeks.
Who pays the bill? ( The gentleman on first date and next few? Or dutch from the beginning?)
Julian Brizzi (Co-owner, Rucola, Brooklyn): The guy should always plan to cover the whole meal unless she offers to go dutch. Don’t be aggressive in your insistance on paying if she offers to split. There is a thin line between chivalrous and chauvinist.
Erica Schwartzberg (Host, Isa, Brooklyn): I am a believer that the guys should pay. One hundred percent for the first date and maybe even for the next few dates after. If a guy is asking a girl out to dinner, that is usually assumed. Don’t try to go above your means. Be creative if it is a strain on your wallet. I have to say, it is a turn-on to be treated and it will make a girl smile.
Michael Terlecki (Manager, L’Orignal, Montreal): I’m a bit old fashioned. I like to treat my date. That said, going to the washroom just before it’s time for the check gives you a chance to see what she’s about. If she takes the bill before you do, she’s a keeper.
Chloe Harrison (Server, La Superior, Brooklyn): I’d rather split the bill. Working in the service industry, it’s a big deal for me to see how he tips.
Alexandria LaPorte (Manager, Cafe Mogador, Brooklyn): I’m old fashioned I guess, dudes should pay on the first couple dates. But girls should offer and put up a believable fight when he insists. It’s all part of the game.
Traylor Phelps (Server, Sombre Mexican Kitchen, Ridgeland, MS): The man always pays the bill (on the first date). It’s the gentleman thing to do and that’s that.
Eileen Curran (Server, Cooper’s Craft and Kitchen, Manhattan): I went on a blind date recently and he payed the first bill. Girls like to be taken care of. This (practice) leaves the night on a positive note. Second date, I think the girl should pay or maybe split the bill.
Daniel Notkin (restauranteur and oysterman, Old Port Oyster Co., Montreal: Touchy. Nowadays, it can go both ways. But I always pay. Chivalry shouldn’t be dead. But don’t let someone take advantage of you either. When she insists on paying the next time or takes you out to ice cream, that’s a keeper.
Check back tomorrow for the next installment of Table for Two! Previously:
Read more from Ben at BK + MTL Kitchens.