What are things that you look for in a restaurant? Beyond the food.
Everybody appreciates a good, affordable meal, likely with good service and a wonderful ambiance. But what exactly is incorporated in ambiance? I find lighting to be the greatest issue currently plaguing restaurants across the world but that’s a conversation for another time. Ambiance can include a number of things: how well heated or cooled the restaurant is, how well spaced the tables are, the decor, and very important for me, the music.
You can go into any restaurant and listen to some smooth jazz stylings but I always find myself to be truly amazed and happy when a restaurant has a real soundtrack. Songs with lyrics that match the feeling they want their food to give you. This is part of the all encompassing restaurant experience. Every sense should have its time in the sun when you eat out, and your ears shouldn’t get left behind just because everything else is having a good time.
Most people think that only bars and clubs should have a good soundtrack or a DJ but I will tell you that every restaurant, obviously catering to their clientele and ~vibe~ should have a good soundtrack. When I was bartending in DC I was allowed for one night to take over the playlist for the restaurant below and the rooftop bar. God bless Spotify because it was a great time and my playlist held me down. While this is a dream for me (I am the queen of taking over playlists everywhere and requesting jams at clubs) but it really showed me how much music choice adds to your aesthetic in a restaurant. Food and music go hand in hand. While cooking you need to listen to music and its always great to listen to music while you eat (though sparkling conversation can substitute in as well). You really can’t call yourself a complete restaurant without taking into account how everything you display is taken by all five senses.
Two restaurants that have taken this challenge head-on and succeeded every single time I’ve been there, are Jacob’s Pickles and Maison Pickle (they happen to be owned by the same people, they must really have great taste). Beyond their delicious southern food and amazing cocktails, I always walk out of every experience at either establishment remembering how well the food paired with the music. I always find it delightful when I feel the need to ask my server what song is playing because I have to add it to my playlist. Better yet, when I go back and don’t hear the same playlist again and again, its always nice to know that seasonal eating can pertain to more than just the ingredients. I could write essays about how much I love each of these restaurants and if you’re ever in the city you should absolutely go because they achieve and often forgotten and ill-ascribed goal, the holy trinity of food, cocktails, and music.
Eat well and jam out piggies.