Ritter’s is an excellent restaurant that has great food but seems a bit confused about its identity. I sent the following letter to them after receiving one of their emails again offering that theirs is the place to bring the whole family.
I am pretty sure that I am not alone in wishing for more adult-ambience in my dining choices. It used to be that you simply went to a pricier restaurant and you could get what I’m looking for. However, it seems too many people have more money than propriety these days and don’t seem to understand that, once the food is eaten, their kids are simply bored stiff waiting for the old people to finish yakking and drinking. The only thing to do is to start making a fuss or playing.
I wish I could just advocate for more common sense / consideration, but these parents obviously lack those capacities. Maybe by expressing some concern to the restaurant owners we can sway them into encouraging a certain atmosphere or, at the very least, they can guide their staff to perhaps group different kinds of parties to different parts of the restaurant?
Maybe couples are generally seated over there, larger parties over there, and maybe families over there?
Anyway, here’s the email I sent:
Just a bit of feedback from a confused customer.
First, let me say that I love the food. Ritter’s offerings are always top notch. My favorite is the Filet Mignon which is always cooked perfectly.
And the martinis are excellent as well.
The décor and layout of Ritter’s is also very appealing, not too dark, not too flashy, exactly what I want for a pleasant night out.
Now my confusion, from my perspective Ritter’s is a fine dining establishment. A little upscale and perfect for a quiet, pleasant night out with my wife.
But it seems that the ads that are sent out are always trying to position Ritter’s as a family place where folks can bring the kids.
It seems to me that the “Paper Mill Grill” is a bit rowdier and caters more toward children (louder ambience, more rustic décor).
If I were looking to take the kids someplace I think maybe it would be Paper Mill Grill or maybe I would just recognize that, once fed, they get bored easily and I need to take them someplace with lots to keep them occupied while the adults finish their meals.
Once the decision is made to head out for an enjoyable evening sans kids, I find myself looking for places that cater to an adult-to-adult atmosphere.
But the message I get from Ritter’s is very mixed. One of the last times I ate there, the Maitre’De decided it was a good idea to alternate couples’ tables with family tables. The adults at the family tables were clearly embarrassed as they could tell how their little one’s activities were impinging on the couples while the couples were obviously not super thrilled that their quiet night out was now just another “finish eating and let’s go” experience.
I thought you might appreciate a perspective from one of your patron’s point of view.
Am I completely out to lunch on this?