If a restaurant serves a delicious meal with no iPhone to Instagram it, did it ever really happen? This existential quandary has become a real #firstworldproblem for diners at L.A.’s Bucato, a brand-spanking-new restaurant with the impressively ballsy mandate that diners “refrain from using” their cell phones in the dining room. No grainy uploads, no Twitter dispatches, no texting. Nothing.
The rule isn’t quite as Draconian as it seems (there are “designated cell phone areas” in case customers need to call their friends and complain about not being able to use their cell phones), but it’s still an interesting social experiment in an era when most of us consider nonstop Internet access a God-given right.
Bucato’s vision seems a little bit too utopian to work out as planned; in an interview with Eater LA, general manager Ed Keebler expressed his hope that diners would “share their meal with fellow diners” and not their Facebook friends, which is a lot more high-minded than the “smartphones are annoying” explanation we were expecting. But it’s still interesting to watch a restaurant try to filter out one of the most ubiquitous parts of modern life.
It’s unclear how Bucato plans to enforce its rule. We humbly suggest a giant version of the world’s most challenging party game: place phones in center of table; watch texts/push notifications pour in; whoever caves first pays for everyone’s meal. Everybody wins, and by “wins” we mean “walks away appalled at their childlike dependence on technology.”