You Can Eat at This Restaurant ... if You Sign a Contract

contractIn restaurants-and-chefs-that-need-to-get-over-themselves news, RJ Cooper's new eatery, Rogue 24, is making headlines. The restaurant in Washington, DC exclusively serves either a 16- or 24-course tasting menu in the middle of an alley, and truth be told, the buzz about the place is hot. And it's not entirely difficult to get a reservation there, granted that you have the time to make one. It's not as simple as calling up and giving your name and party number, it's way more complicated than that. As in, you need to sign a two-page reservation contract before even thinking of setting foot in the place.

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The contract stipulates, among other things, that cellphones and cameras are banned during the three-hour-long dinner. This I can get behind, because there's nothing worse than someone jabbing to their sister at the table next to you on the phone about this amazing new restaurant she found and how, no, it's not weird at all to dine alone. I also have a pet peeve about people taking photos of their food -- it's like, come on. Who's going to want to look at that picture, ever? Upload to Facebook a picture of your dinner and we're not friends anymore. Shut up and eat your food already. So no phones and no cameras I can do.

Beyond their ban of modern technology, Rogue 24 really doesn't want any of you non-committals out there coming in to eat. By signing the contract, you're agreeing to their strict cancellation policy. If you cancel within 72 hours of the meal, you've gotta pay half the price of the bill ($87.5 a person); if you cancel after 3 p.m. on the date of your reso, you've gotta pay the full price ($175); and if you're 30 minutes late and miss a few courses? Still gotta pay for the whole thing.

According to Eater DC, there's also a section in the contract that asks you to fill out any allergies or dietary needs, so I guess the whole thing isn't that bad. But you do have to return your signed contract within three days of making the reservation, or it's voided.

Even though I agree with some of the contractual points, the last thing I want to think about before a night out on the town is freaking paperwork. Signing a contract just seems to take the fun out of the dining experience, even if its only purpose is to provide a better one. I'm not into it. 

Would you sign a two-page contract to make a restaurant reservation?


Photo via joebeone/Flickr

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