Saturday, June 24, 2006

Italian Restaurant Décor

What is up with Italian restaurant décor? Whether it’s the corner pizza joint, one of the many chain Italian restaurants around, or a fine dining establishment, they all look the same. There are variations in Chinese restaurants, sure red booths and paper lanterns abound, but there still seems to be room for the individual taste of the management. Why isn’t it this way in Italian restaurants?

Is there a factory somewhere in China called World of Italian Restaurant Décor pumping out Italian kitsch? Is each new owner of an Italian restaurant required to take the pledge, “I solemnly swear to cover my tables with red checked table cloths, hang Chianti bottles from the ceiling rafters, and adorn the walls with signed black and white, 8 x 10 publicity glossies of Rat Pack members, no matter how exclusive the clientele or refined the menu?”

After eating Italian food, the refrains of “That’s Amore” can haunt me for days. Are there Sinatra, Martin, and Bennett collections called, Old Favorites for Italian Restaurants? One Italian restaurant I frequent has expanded on this theme: they play Italian language lessons in the bathroom. This is not the place where I want to learn how to say, “Excuse me sir, where is the post office, Scuzi Signore, Posti donde esta?” In case you can’t tell, I don’t listen very carefully to the lessons.

How much of our precious petroleum supply goes for making plastic grapes to drape over mini wine barrels? Do they ever dust the grapes, or is the dust some kind of stock from the factory faux finish?

Who knew Sophia Loren made so many movies with so many low cut peasant blouses—or are all of the stills from the same movie?

It seems strange to me to see a clothesline, indoors, hanging overhead while I eat my Chicken Parmesan. Or, is it just me? Do Italian restaurants look like this in Italy? Oh my God, what do American restaurants look like in Italy?

Oh, McDonald’s, never mind.

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