Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Light My Fire
OK, I'm about to step back on my soapbox again. Let's talk a bit about the sexist attitudes of some restaurant owners and in addition, the complete disregard for wheelchair users at those same restaurants.
My younger kids were back in school today, but I had another day before having to go back to work. Chip is still on college break, so he and I decided to try a new restaurant near where we live. The name of the restaurant is Halligan's, and the one near us is actually the second one of these restaurants. The first Halligan's opened in our city's downtown area back in 2008, but the one we visited opened just a month ago.
The Halligan's website states that they, "capture the essence and mystique of what it truly means to be in the fire service. The restaurant is a virtual museum and tribute to past and present firefighters of all jurisdictions. We have accomplished this by creating an atmosphere that is comfortable to all members of the fire service as well as an awe inspiring ambience for the general public."
Further, the website introduces the owner as a current county firefighter, someone with 20 years of service who decided in 2008 to open his first restaurant. Sounds like a good plan if you believe the rumors often heard of firefighters being great cooks. And the food we had at lunch today was really good, some of the best I have had recently. I just wish two other very important aspects of the restaurant were not so bad.
First, what do I mean about sexist? Well, if I were a female firefighter I believe I would have a problem with the female serving staff dressing in barely-cover-the-butt khaki skirts. Everyone working in the restaurant dresses in an interpretation of firefighter uniforms. Everyone that is not female wears khaki pants, blue teeshirts, and red suspenders. But if you are female, you wear the microskirt, a tight teeshirt and the red suspenders. Yes, it's a bar, but still, the owner doesn't have his male servers in tight pants and even tighter teeshirts. Again, if I were a female firefighter, I don't think I would choose to support the restaurant.
Secondly, there was a complete disregard for the accommodation of wheelchair users. Every, and I mean EVERY table in the place was a high bar-style table. Absolutely impossible for a wheelchair user to sit at and eat or drink. I asked the server about the tables, and she said that the owner "didn't think about that until some patrons showed up in wheelchairs."
Really...you've been a firefighter for 20 years...a firefighter that more than likely had to help people with disabilities over the years, and you didn't think about that when opening your restaurant??? Or just discount the fact that you are a firefighter. How can anyone open any sort of establishment these days and not think about people with disabilities? It boggles the mind.
And one more question - did the building inspector not notice the lack of accessibility, or is it not their job to notice such things?
So Halligan's, dress your servers appropriately and remember that not everyone can lift themselves into a three foot high stool. You know, looking at your picture, Mr. Owner, and seeing you in the restaurant today, you might yourself be looking at disability in the near future. What then? Will you finally provide a welcoming establishment for all people?