The week in ideas, December 9, 2011

First restaurants ban kids, now they ban mob wives. Where will it end!? Also this week: patrons spill their wine while blind dining. We realize once again that thieves will take anything from a restaurant. And in Oakland, a restaurant lets anybody be the chef.

Idea #1: Ban Mob Wives. The VH1 show “Mob Wives” is planning a Chicago spinoff and is scouting locations. Local restaurateur Tony Durpetti, owner of Gene & Georgetti’s steakhouse, got a call asking if the show could film in his restaurant. Not only did Durpetti turn them down, he reached out to other Chicago Italian restaurants asking them to follow suit. Louis H. Rago, president of the Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago, praised Durpetti, and said he shared the operators disdain for Italian stereotypes. “We hope Tony has started a movement long needed in the Italian-American community,” said Rago. Fellow Chicago operators Phil Stefani, Alex Dana and Joey DiBuono have signed on to the ban.

Idea #2: Blind dining. The surprisingly popular European chain of fine dining restaurants Dans Le Noir (“In the Dark”), where diners eat in pitch black darkness is opening a unit in Times Square. Like its units in Paris, London, Moscow, Barcelona and elsewhere, the restaurant will be staffed by blind waiters. "When I started this business, everyone thought I was crazy, from my bankers to my mother," Edouard de Broglie, 49, CEO of the chain's owner, Ethik Investment, and founder of the restaurant chain, told Reuters. We still think you’re kind of crazy.

Idea #3: Lock up the TP. Three men were arrested in Albuquerque after stealing toilet paper from Burgers, Dogs and Wings restaurant. Is nothing sacred?

Idea #4: The guest chef. Appropriately titled Oakland restaurant Guest Chef has a unique concept: it opens its kitchen to a new chef every couple of weeks, allowing them to design their own menu. Oakland resident Eva Santillanes will be taking a turn, introducing patrons to her chile rellenos and fajitas. “Top Chef” contestant Preeti Mistry will also be taking a turn with his goumet Indian street food. Owner Scott Cameron came up with the idea while showering. "And I thought, this might be an idea—sort of a brick-and-mortar version of the food truck." Opening weekend last month featured local firefighters preparing a four-course meal.


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